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MUSIC: AND YOKO’S BACK TOO!

2 minute read
Christopher John Farley

UNLIKE, SAY, THE BEATLES, YOKO ONO DOESN’T have much of a market for her old outtakes–so John Lennon’s widow just has to keep producing new material and fresh performances. Last week in New York City, backed by Ima, her son Sean Ono Lennon’s alternative-rock trio, she appeared at the Knitting Factory, a trendy performance space that often showcases culty bands. The set, featuring songs from her latest CD, Rising, was deliberately abrasive, her wailing voice (which evoked Eastern devotional music) propelled by Ima’s churning, mid-tempo guitar rock (Lennon’s guitar work was blunt and unobtrusive). Ono’s best moments came on Will I–a mournfully pretty spoken-word piece–and on Rising’s anthemic title song. For the latter, she was joined by the Japanese-American hip-hop duo Cibo Matto, who added some energy and emotional focus (the pair also appear on an enhanced CD of Rising featuring remixes of Ono’s songs as well as graphics that can be accessed via a CD-ROM drive). As the music swelled, Ono sang, “Listen to your heart/ Respect your intuition,” and her words had force. The grating music certainly sounded intuitive, and it’s obviously not designed to garner the moneymaking attention that, say, Anthology 2 will get–proof that Ono is indeed listening to her heart, although it’s a sound many others might choose not to endure. –By Christopher John Farley

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