"Tangoes and French tunes and Hungarian tunes..."oh my!

World travelers and musical innovators 3 Leg Torso visit Clatskanie's Birkenfeld Theatre


February 15, 2024

3 LT

Members of the group 3 Leg Torso. The innovative musical quintet will play the Birkenfeld Theatre in Clatskanie this weekend.

It doesn't take long to get a sense for the kind of performers Bela R. Balogh and Courtney Von Drehle are. It took about five seconds into our phone call for me to realize that these guys like to have fun. And though they may approach their craft with the seriousness and rigor of trained classical musicians, as the leaders of the musical group 3 Leg Torso, they also bring a hefty dose of humor and joie-de-vivre.

They're also careful to manage expectations.

"One thing you can't tell over the phone is how uncommonly handsome we are," said Balogh.

This weekend, lower Columbia residents will have the opportunity to experience the humor, and the music, they have been mastering for decades. Clatskanie Arts Commission will host the group at their performance series at the Birkenfield Theatre.

"We're excited to come to Clatskanie," said Balogh. "We're serious about our music, but equally serious about having fun."

Formed in 1996, the trio began as a violin, cello, and accordion ensemble with a mission–to create original chamber music for their unique instrumentation. Over the years, the ensemble expanded both their mission and their size to become a quintet. Now they perform original compositions based on a synthesis of tango, klezmer, Latin and gypsy music, a combination I referred to, somewhat spontaneously, as "global folk."

"I've never heard that before!" said Von Drehle. "Global folk!"

Their musical roots go way back. Balogh's grandfather was a professional Roma musician; his father is a conductor and former violinist.

Von Drehle grew up in England and "saw a lot of stuff." He recalls his first encounter with a then largely unknown Pat Metheny at the Camden Jazz Festival in London. The impact of that performance was an inspiration, though he wasn't as immersed in music at home as Balogh.

"Dad was a very good singer, but a hobbyist," said Von Drehle.

As principal composers, Balogh, who plays violin and trumpet, and Von Drehle, who plays accordion, are responsible for the core of 3 Leg Torso's sound. The ensemble is rounded out by T.J. Arco's mallets, as well as "gentleman of the acoustic bass" Mike Murphy. Bill Athens brings his skills on the bass. Though they began as street musicians, the group has expanded their terrain, performing with symphony orchestras, as well as having been profiled on NPR's "All Things Considered." They have worked with filmmakers and had their pieces used in various movies and television series.

"We wrote some music for a Thai documentary close to 30 years ago," said Balogh. "Remember that Courtney?"

"Oh!," replied Von Drehle.

The Clatskanie Arts Commission presents 3 Leg Torso. Sunday, Feb. 18, at 3 p.m. Birkenfeld Theatre, 75 S. Nehalem in Clatskanie. Tickets: Adults $25; Seniors (60+) and Students $23; Children $20. Tickets are available online at clatskaniearts.org or by calling Elsa at 503-728-3403. If available, tickets will be sold at the door on the day of the concert.


Reader Comments(0)


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2024