I met Cello Joe at a tiny coffee shop called Bazaar Cafe on 5927 California Street. Every cellist in San Francisco knows something about Cello Bazaar and likely has performed something or other there; from cello and guitar folksy stuff to Kolday sonata to Bach to Carter to cello beatboxing, this wood panel warmly lit cafe has seen it all in terms of cello. Pretty much immediately Cello Joe had the small crowd in the palm of his hand laughing and jiving, smiling despite themselves and entirely pulled out of their laptop work. To me, it was refreshing to see a cellist with real rhythm and control of his instrument in addition to his absolutely original and fresh songs. I improvised a little bit with Cello Joe and some others at the Make-out Room bar once, and as at Cafe Bazaar it was impressive to me how totally un-rockstar Cello Joe was in person, and yet how powerfully he could make his cello rock. No pretending, no false images, just Cello Joe.
Cellojoe.com writes: "Cello Joe is an anomaly in the world of cellists. By combining cello with beatboxing, he has created a unique genre: Classical Hip-Hop. Looped and layered beatboxing beats (vocal percussion) and funky cello form a rich soundscape for intelligent lyrics; CelloJoe spreads joy, laughter and consciousness raising vibrations. CelloJoe rides his bicycle with his cello and has traveled from San Francisco, California to the bottom of Mexico; from Portland, OR to Vancouver, BC; from Logan to Provo, Utah; and in England, Holland, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, France, and Spain with the Pleasant Revolution." A film is being made now about the band Cello Joe traveled with and the dream which these guys pursued. It is really unbelievable. You can find out about it here:
I worked on a recital once that tried to explore the identity of cellists and cellos. I film interviewed people in the Market Street subway station in San Franciso asking them if they'd ever heard of the cello. I asked people there and online what they thought of when they heard the word cello. If people had any context for cello it usually went something like: melancholy, beautiful, serene, feminine, honey, orchestra... But the cello really has so many possibilities for sound and rhythm and textures... perhaps unrivaled by any other instrument, and right there for the exploring. Cello Joe has definitely carved out his own sound with his cello and has pursued his own musical dream. At the same time Cello Joe has a passion for people and bringing cellists and the public together. Check out his website. (PS my favorite song is veggie maniac!)