The Exquisite Soulful Sounds of Daphne & Other Tales

song du jour:Ghosts, Paul Mercer

Just before Thanksgiving Skyler and my honey and I took off for the upstairs performance space over Javaology to hear Paul Mercer and the exquisite Daphne, a violin, perform with The Ghost Project. I've been meaning to blog about Paul for a while now for he is an incredibly gifted musician and composer, whose infinite passion for the violin explodes in an array of beautiful sounds that resonate with my very soul. Definitely check out his myspace page to hear for yourself. He plays all over the world but is based in Atlanta and can occasionally be found playing intimate venues with great acoustics. We also caught him performing with The Ghost Project back in October at Oakland Cemetery's annual Victorian Festival. Oakland is Atlanta's oldest 'park' for once upon a time such spaces use to function as places to stroll and even picnic on Sunday afternoons.

When you look at the pics on myspace, check out the violin that belonged to John Freeman and inspired Paul's track Ghosts. John Freeman was my great great great grandfather. Paul and I met thanks to him and his descendants. The violin is damaged because it was very likely thrown in the canal with John when he was stabbed and robbed in London c.1888. His wife wrote to her father, a squire in Derbyshire, but refusing to back down from his extreme disapproval of her marriage to John, her father told her he would take her in if she put the children in an orphanage. The oldest, age 16, remained in England, and Elanor (Ellen) came to America with her 7 seven younger children.

When I first met Paul back in 1998, he was able to tell me much about John Freeman by the wear and tear of the violin. John was more of a classical or concert violinist because the wear on the fret board is even and not only toward the scroll as would indicate more of a fiddle player. Interestingly, the fretboard had been replaced but with a fairly cheap wood, stained to look ebony. John might have been a pro, but 8 kids didn't come cheap. 

The violin is not playable in the usual sense, but Paul incorporated it nonetheless in the thumps, bumps, and other hair on end sounds at the beginning of the track. Whenever I listen to it, which is rather often, I feel it is as close as I can ever come to hearing my great great great grandfather play. I hear his extreme passion for playing, and I hear his anguish both in life and in death.

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