Il Troubadore and Buckdancer’s Choice have never performed together, but there’s one trait that unites them: a desire to move beyond oft-limiting musical conventions.
Il Troubadore undermines expectations by taking inspiration from sources as disparate as Ravi Shankar and Slayer and mixing them in a classical structure. They call themselves “Indy’s 16th Century Rock Band.”
“I got tired of the standard format of guitar, bass and drums,” Robert Scott says. That’s why he started Il Troubadore with Jon Silpayamanant in 2004. Scott, a classically trained vocalist, plays mandolin, Celtic harp and classical guitar. Silpayamanant is a trained cellist. Together, the two use their schooling and experience playing in other bands to perform traditional music, and also to give a distinguished spin to popular rock, rap and metal tunes.
A prominent Middle Eastern influence in their sound attracted the city’s belly dancer community. It’s become typical for a belly dancer to perform alongside Il Troubadore, and Saturday’s show will be no different.
Il Troubadore tends to get the same reaction from first-time listeners.
“Typically people laugh when they first hear us,” Scott says. “But that’s fine. Our goal has always been to entertain.”
Buckdancer’s Choice is no stranger to novelty either. The trio features Kevin Strunk (mandolin, guitar), Dave Duvall (guitar, slide) and Bill Bailey, aka Uncle Willy, as timekeeper. Famous for using any object for percussion, Bailey is the band’s sine qua non.
“In his past he used to play a full trap set,” Strunk says. “He’s pretty well known around town for playing in bands like ours, using different little instruments like that.”
A band like Buckdancer’s Choice, as Strunk explains, is “all over the table, as far as genres.” A typical show can feature jug tunes, country blues and Appalachian music.
“We’re veterans,” Strunk says. “We just roll old. Our thing is a bending and blending of musical genres.”