World traveling for two jazz-folk musicians includes a stop in Portage.
Sara and Kenny play at Portage Center for Arts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday before they travel elsewhere in Wisconsin, to the West Coast, Canada and then home to Berlin.
They begin a summer tour in June that includes stops in Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Germany.
Sara d’Ippolito Reichert grew up in Italy; her husband, Kenny Reichert, is a Wisconsin native. They met in Milwaukee, where they started playing music together in 2015, got married and moved to London and now Berlin.
Their backgrounds seem as diverse as their music. They play nylon string guitar, electric guitar, ukulele and sing — uncertain of how to properly label their music.
“The closest term we’ve found so far is jazz-folk,” Kenny Reichert said of the genre that might describe their music.
“But we get different responses from just about everyone we ask.”
Kenny Reichert answered other questions for the Daily Register via email regarding the duo’s Saturday performance, which is their first visit to Portage and the final concert of PCA’s series this season.
How would you describe the sound of your music?
“We consider our music a blend of jazz, classical, world, Italian, and folk, blended into original music,” he said. “Sara studied classical guitar in Rome and I studied jazz guitar in Boston. We both have a love of a wide variety of musical styles and we try to channel all of that into what we do. Furthermore, we come from different parts of the planet and are influenced by different cultures. We try to consider all of this when we create music together.”
Some artists single out the cultural or historical value of their music, while others single out value of a whole other kind. What would you single out?
“We consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to travel and perform our music in front of so many people in various parts of the world. We’ve found that regardless of language or culture, music connects us all. We find that especially in today’s world. Music brings people together; there are no boundaries. We keep that dear to the core of what we do and hope to share that experience everywhere we go.”
Your website says your music is like “a dialogue between our intimate selves and the universe,” which is intriguing. Please elaborate.
“Writing music, for us, is an exploration of the relationship with ourselves and our surroundings. The power of music is greater than all of us, and we’re fortunate to be able to tap into this.”
Many artists believe the best music can’t be found on the radio, and that you have to dig for it. Do you agree?
“Yes and no. There’s some really great music to be found on the radio. But I would also say most of what we listen to and value isn’t. We’re weirdos. We love Bach, John Coltrane, Joni Mitchell and Radiohead. We find good and bad music in just about every genre. If the music is sincere, we connect to it. I think that’s the key factor.
“To us, what sets our music apart is the same reason why we’re a duo. We both come from traditions of different instrumental music, different cultures, different countries. But we’re married and probably spend too much time together! We found a way to relate musically and write songs together. In other words, we’ve found a way to make it all work. All of this melts together and creates something that we feel is intimate, intricate and unique.”
I understand you and Sara have released two albums. Do you have plans for a third?
“Yes! We are currently in the process of recording. We don’t want to give too much away at this point, but it’s going to be a completely new direction for us. We’re looking forward to getting it done.”
What selections should the Portage audience expect in Saturday’s show?
“We’ll be performing a wide variety of the music off of our first two records. We’ll also be playing some unreleased material and might throw in a surprise or two as well.”
Do you and Sara interact with the audience? In what ways?
“We think audience interaction is essential to what we do. When we perform, it’s about creating a space together with everyone involved. We often allow the audience to ask questions and open the door to a dialogue between us and them. It keeps every show fresh and unique. Furthermore, we might make you sing!”
Do you plan to live in Berlin (Germany) indefinitely?
“We love Berlin and it’s a beautiful city. That being said, at the moment we are really determined to follow wherever the music takes us. Berlin was not in the books, and then it happened and on a very short notice. What we are trying to establish is to be both here in the States and there in Europe.”
“Both London and Berlin have incredible music scenes. There’s a plethora of talented musicians in just about every genre. It’s really inspiring to be surrounded by so many talented people. It keeps the flow of inspiration strong.”
“We try to make it back to London as much as we can.”
For more information about Sara and Kenny, and to listen to samples of their music, visit saraandkenny.com.