Indy Music MP3 CD 

More than just rock music
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More than just rock music

If future historians ever need to research the music of early 21st century Indianapolis, much of their work will have been done for them by the new Indy Music MP3 CD, which was released last week.
-The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra-

The disc features performances from approximately 170 local artists and bands, spanning the range of music performed in the city from ethnic sounds to avant-garde to more standard pop fare. Although the disc features many of the top names in local rock, pop and hip-hop, quite a few of the performers may be unfamiliar to non-rock oriented audiences. That’s why we’re featuring several of the potentially more overlooked acts on the CD.

For more information about the disc, including pickup locations for the free CD, visit The CD is a joint project of the Cultural Development Commission,, 92.3 WTTS-FM and IMC.

Performer: Sabrina Sigal Falls
Genre: Celtic harpist


For an example of the breadth of Indianapolis music on the Indy MP3 compilation CD, one need look no farther than traditional Celtic harpist Sabrina Sigal Falls. Her entry into the compilation, “The Water Wide” (from her album Healing River) is a traditional English song with haunting undertones, the kind of song you feel like you’ve heard somewhere before, even if you don’t recognize it.

It was her experience at the bedside of her father, who died of cancer in 1985, that inspired Falls to take up the harp and begin a ministry of therapeutic music, playing harp at the bedsides of sick and dying patients at hospitals and hospices. “It turns out that it’s not just for the patient, but the family and friends appreciate that kind of music. Sometimes it’s religious in nature, but many times it’s not, depending on the person and the situation,” Falls said. “A harp is very resonant. When you pluck a string, the sound goes on for a long, long time. And that can have a very healing effect on the body, mind and spirit.”

Falls also keeps a busy schedule of weddings, celebrations and worship services, which serve as a relaxing contrast to her hospital work.

Learn more about Sabrina Sigal Falls at

—Paul F. P. Pogue

Performer: Rob Costlow
Genre: New Age solo piano


“Piano is not my day job, but it’s my hobby, my night job and what I love,” says performer Rob Costlow, whose haunting New Age-influenced jazzy music appears on the MP3 CD.

A Fishers native, Costlow began playing piano at the age of 5, but got serious about the instrument around age 13 after hearing New Age pioneer George Winston’s music for the first time. “It captured me and it made me realize this is my style of music,” he says.

“I used to always add on jazzy endings to songs in recitals, which would drive my teachers nuts.” Costlow began composing music shortly thereafter. His first album was released in 1998, with a follow-up in 2002. A friend tipped him off to the MP3 project, so he entered a track and hoped for the best.

He’s played the Artsgarden and the Broad Ripple Art Fair and is hoping to book more shows. “There’s not as many places to play my kind of music here as there was in California,” where he lived for a year. “But Indianapolis is getting there. And I think my style of music will fit in well here. I’ve already had a couple of people contact me after hearing the CD. It’s already been great exposure.”

For more information on Costlow, visit

—Steve Hammer

Performer: The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
Genre: orchestral chamber music


The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra’s executive director is happy to see his group’s music alongside rappers the Mudkids and hardcore band Perfect Nothing on the MP3 CD. “Like everyone else, I just don’t listen to one genre of music,” Chad Miller says. “While there’s certain things I listen to at certain times, I’ve got the whole gamut of music — even here at my desk. It just makes sense that people who like, say, local jazz groups or local alternative bands, still might have a few classical CDs in their collection.”

There are 35 core musicians in the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, although the group grows in number when involved in other projects, such as accompanying Luciano Pavarotti at the Fieldhouse a few years back or when playing operatic works. The ICO’s music director, Kirk Trevor, was appointed in 1988 and works with an artistic development community to choose the six to eight works performed each season, which runs from September through May. In 2003-’04, the ICO performed such works as La Tragédie de Carmen and its annual holiday presentation of Handel’s Messiah.

“I’m not so naive to think there will be 5,000 new raving fans once everyone gets this CD,” Miller says, “but I think it will bring to certain peoples’ minds an awareness of us. It will raise exposure for us. Hopefully, it will do the same thing for people who know us, pick up the CD and see another group that they like. I think it’s a great opportunity.”

The CD’s bigger impact, he says, will be on the minds of persons skeptical about Indy’s cultural offerings. “When they’re speaking about what’s available in Indianapolis, maybe they’ll be aware that it’s a little broader than what they realize.”

For more information on the ICO, visit

—Steve Hammer

Performer: The Hedgehogs
Genre: Estonian/Latvian traditional music


Formed four years ago, the eight-member group The Hedgehogs is comprised of people with strong connections to the Latvian and Estonian communities in Indianapolis. The group uses handmade instruments, which reflect the rich history of their homelands.

“The main thing we use in our concerts is Baltic psalteries,” says band member Ain Haas. “It’s called the kannell in Estonia and the Kokle in Latvia. It’s like a lap harp, a stringed instrument you hold on your lap or on a table. It goes back hundreds, if not thousands of years. These are the kinds of instruments peasants in the old country would play.” Other instruments which create the compelling and unique sound of Baltic folk music include medieval Novgorod lyres, zithers, woodwinds, button accordion, guitar and percussion.

The Hedgehogs play at the International Festival in Indianapolis each year and often play at events in Bloomington as well as festivals commemorating Latvian Independence Day, May 4.

“This is a very exciting project and we’re very excited about being included on it,” Haas says. “The idea of the project was to show the diversity of the music community in Indianapolis. It’s nice to know that traditional music, songs that go back many centuries, are included as part of this. It’s nice to know that not just the latest fads appear on it.”

For more information on the Hedgehogs, call 283-1923.

—Steve Hammer

Performer: Bittersweet and Briers
Genre: traditional music of America, Ireland and Scotland


Bittersweet and Briers was founded in 1992 in Lafayette, Ind., as a five-member group. Their mission, according to guitarist and lead singer Sherri Bonham, is to help resurrect the historic folk music of America. “We enjoy playing historic music,” she says. “We especially enjoy finding old songs and arranging them in melodic ways. In other words, we like to bring older songs back to life.” They do this by playing authentic period instruments such as the hammer dulcimer, tin whistle, guitar, mandolin and percussion played on spoons.

Veterans of events such as the Feast of the Hunter’s Moon and mainstays at local Civil War festivals, the group has also played the acclaimed Pioneer Barn at the Indiana State Fair. They draw their songs from Appalachian and other American sources as well as Irish and Scottish tunes. “We’re really not a Celtic band in the modern sense of the term,” Bonham says. “We don’t have that driven sound.” Bonham says, “Folk bands don’t get a lot of PR in this city and it’s nice to be a part of this project.”

She said she hopes more people become aware that there are performers such as her band here. “We love to perform and we do it for enjoyment,” she says, noting all the band members have day jobs.

For more information on the group, visit

—Steve Hammer

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