Mary Tutwiler

Baffled by Balfa CD pick

by Mary Tutwiler

The first time we heard of this Christine Balfa album, we didn't know it was a joke. Then we dug a little deeper. Here's an exerpt from Reese Fuller's article in our April 1, 2009 issue of The Independent.

About 33 minutes into listening Plays the Triangle, your brain freezes up, you forget who and where you are, and you question whether you've been subjected to the same song over and over again. Then your mind wonders into a happy place filled with cotton candy, rainbows, unicorns and Smurfs before your thoughts are derailed and take a detour straight into les flammes d'enfer. Seven hours after listening to Plays the Triangle, your hearing returns to normal, your vision clears up, that rash disappears, and you feel —  strangely enough —  both refreshed and violated.

Meanwhile, the CD, even after Balfa laughed at the reviews, continued to get national coverage. Evidently word didn’t get to the Grammy committee, because Christine Balfa Plays the Triangle, 45 minutes of solo triangle with a little bit of hollering, made the cut onto the first-round ballot of CDs up for consideration for Grammy nominations. Times of Acadiana music writer Herman Fuselier says even he drank the water before coming to his senses. But after spotting Balfa’s CD on the Grammy list, he had this to say in this week’s Times.

I’m hoping Grammy voters understand Balfa’s CD is only meant for a chuckle. Then again, comedy is high art, and this CD has generated international attention seldom seen for local music.

But I’m still scratching my head. The New York Times [seriously reviewing Balfa’s album] wrote “these rigorous, hypnotic tracks could build admiration for the selfless, essential toils of rhythm sections everywhere.” C'est what?
Thanks, Herman. I couldn't have said it better myself.