The default mode for an arts writer previewing a concert like this is to say something like, “Whoa, look at the crazy things those cellos and that violin are up to!”—as though all stringed instruments have been locked up in the Mozarteum since 1850. Of course they haven’t, and Emily Wells and the Portland Cello Project aren’t the first musicians to bow towards new frontiers. They just do it exceptionally well. The Portland Cello Project specialize in exciting rearrangments of songs by artists from Kanye West to John Denver, and Wells is a gifted singer-songwriter-violinist who creates her arrangments with loops and samples as she performs solo. This might just be the spring’s best lineup you’ve never heard of.
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