By Jake Goodman, Ben Williams, Julia Rosenfeld, and Yasmine Hassan
Shane Des Enfants, a first-year at Brown, played an acoustic set at B-Side’s Coffee Haus show Sunday, April 10th. Trained classically, Des Enfants plays French Horn in Brown’s symphony and is planning on concentrating in Music Composition. Yet, Des Enfants also composes songs in a “indie-pop” style, reminiscent of their favorite artist Alanis Morissette. Jagged Little Pill, Morissette’s breakout album, was “their life for a while”.
Performing at Fermata’s shows and Active Mind’s Song Against Stigma concert, B-Side’s Coffee Haus was Des Enfants’ third performance at Brown, although they performed at talent shows in their home state of Montana. They are looking to performing more in Providence but have largely been focusing on classical music currently. Commenting on how French Horn impacts their songwriting, Des Enfants comments “you can tell I’ve been classically trained” since their songs are not the stereotypical “I-IV-V” progression. French Horn is “associated with different parts of myself” for Des Enfants but allows for them to be versatile as a musician. Describing their songwriting process, they described feeling “that Montana has given me the opportunity to be inspired by nature”, often writing music next to a river near their house. Check out their music on Soundcloud.
Jacob Telford always had a musical instinct. From an early age, he studied piano and guitar, ultimately finding his way to the classic rock bands embraced by teenagers and 'cool dads' alike. These core influences form the foundation of Telford's sound, along with a penchant for experimentation and a taste for the playfulness of alternative indie rock. But Telford doesn't place himself in any boxes. From a stint in a teen emo band to the odd appearance at the Underground Jazz Sessions, Telford makes an effort to push the boundaries of genre and master different sounds and forms.
A native of Portsmouth, RI, Telford recently moved to Providence, where he's developed a connection to the local music scene. His most recent project--Daudalaggio's Traveling Spacetime Band--recently played a show at Watermyn Co-Op, and last year he opened RISD's Lawn Party concert. Currently taking time off from a finance degree at URI, Telford plans to return soon to continue his studies, including his tutelage under Dave Zinno, an instructor in jazz in the URI Department of Music. Check out his music on Bandcamp.
Mimi Li is a first year singer-songwriter from Shanghai, China with a rich background in music. Mimi was classically trained in piano at the age of four and later picked up the guitar and singing. She has been in various choirs and has had many opportunities to perform as a soloist over the years.
To her, songwriting is important because it enables her to create her own art that is emotional and expressive. Oftentimes she writes from the perspective of someone else, as she finds it easier to fully relay sentiments that way. She draws much of her inspiration from artists like Amy Winehouse, but is also influenced by Chinese ballads which she feels can be more emotive than many English songs.
At Brown, Mimi has enriched her music education with jazz classes, voice lessons, and tonal music theory classes, which she feels like will help broaden her knowledge of music in general. As she was classically trained, she enjoys the different perspective that jazz provides her with. During her time at Brown, Mimi hopes to have more chances to perform and write, all while advancing musically. She feels as though she has a very specific style that she would love to explore and transform by mastering more instruments and music theory. In terms of the future, Mimi would ideally love to work in the music industry although regardless of what career she chooses she is sure that music will always be an integral part of her life. Check out her music on Soundcloud.
With a fluid lineup and a genre-transcending repertoire of both covers and original tunes, Famous Amos & the Cookies is a hard-to-nail-down group of musicians. Their core lineup consists of Amos Zhang (vocals, guitar, and the band’s namesake, of course), Steve Wadden (bass, vocals), Mimi Li (guitar, keyboard, vocals), and Aaron Vale (keyboard).
The band claims Providence as its place of origin, but its individual members come from a variety of geographic—and musical—backgrounds. With roots spanning from China to Canada to the United States, the band originally met while participating in the intensive Brown Jazz Program. From their beginnings as a school-organized jazz combo, they’ve undergone quite the transformation. Though they’re a self-described pop-rock outfit, it isn’t unusual to find elements of classic rock, blues, funk, electronic, and bossa nova sprinkled in with their usual alternative rock-flavored fare.
Check them out on their SoundCloud, and keep your eyes peeled for their occasional on-campus live show.