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The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Art collective ‘Raudelunas’ to close exhibition with concert

The 70s art collective “Raudelunas” will be returning to The University of Alabama on Saturday, Feb. 2, to close out the Raudelunas Exposition in the Ferguson Center Gallery with a free concert.

The Raudelunas’ Pataphysical Redux Concert will bring original members back to the very place of their 1975 recording.

“Raudelunas ‘Pataphysical Revue,” one of their original recordings, was recorded at the Ferguson Theater in 1975 and listed in The Wire magazine’s “100 Records That Set The World On Fire While No One Was Listening.”

“I’m not exactly sure what can be expected myself,” Craig Nutt, a UA alumnus and original band member, said. “There are some new and different versions of things but some will be familiar.”

Nutt said their music had a lot of experimental values as well as a focus on improvisation, which they plan to bring to the stage Saturday.

“We really explored some discreet musical ideas,” Nutt said. “That’s how this show will be, newer versions of ideas we explored then.”

Nutt said they put the music out there, and then it’s up to the University to create a dialogue around it.

“We always did these things and put them out there, and some people loved it, and some people hated it,” Nutt said. “You put the ball in motion and see where it goes.”

The concert will be part of The University of Alabama “Sonic Frontiers” concert series, which founder and artistic director of Sonic Frontiers Andrew Dewar said aims to “introduce a wide range of world-class innovative and experimental music to West Alabamians through performances and discussions.”

“We hope it will broaden people’s ideas of music-making and may also inspire the next generation of sonic explorers,” Dewar said. “In addition, we hope to introduce the touring musicians from all over the world who perform on the series to the rich culture happening right here in Tuscaloosa.”

Dewar, an assistant professor in New College and the UA School of Music, said, in his opinion, Raudelunas made some of the most adventurous art and music in both Alabama and the world.

“As we expand the concert series, we hope to continue presenting a healthy mixture of both local and visiting artists and, when possible, putting them in dialogue with one another,” Dewar said.

Original member LaDonna Smith said the band ranges in style from “free-form chaotic” to “avant-garde arrangements of well-known tunes.”

“You know, we can play anything we want,” Smith said. “We’re not sure just how we do it.”

Smith said each member of the band is still interested in what they were doing before but individually has translated that experience into their own art form.

“We are interested in many things, but each individual has specialized in their own way and achieved some level of notoriety in their respective fields, mostly creative fields,” Smith said.

Nutt, who is also a sculptor, said he has taken insight from his Raudelunas experience with him into his other work.

“I always tried to capture that improv in my work,” Nutt said. “My design process is really driven by experiences in Raudelunas.”

Nutt said there has always been a lot of interplay between the musicians in the improvisation, exploration and creation of their art. He said it has never really stopped, simply morphed.

“Dinosaurs never died out, you know. They just sort of morphed into birds.”

The show on Saturday will also feature video footage of the original band that was lost until now, as well as a preview for a documentary being made about Raudelunas.

“Everyone should try to come and squeeze in,” Nutt said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Ferguson Center Theatre on The University of Alabama campus. The performance will follow a closing reception of the Raudelunas Exposition at the Ferguson Art Gallery from 5 to 7 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

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