Monday, December 20, 2010

Cycling flutist names her band ‘Bike Lane’ 

Meet the first woodwind quartet made from political undertones: Bike Lane, a chamber group named after the ongoing debate between bikers and their mobile nemeses.

Leah Paul — formerly of the flute-rock band, The Bridesmaids (that’s right, flute rock) — started the side project with her own compositions, and gave a killer kick-off show at Barbès in Park Slope earlier this fall.

She’s a virtuoso of a flautist, and she’s an even more avid biker — she’s a scholar in the bike issues covered in this paper.

“Biking is one of the things I love most about Brooklyn — I ride the new Prospect Park West bike lane every day,” Paul said. “In fact, I was stopped by reporters once because I was wearing a short dress while biking, during that whole Hasidic debate over scantily clad women.”

Beyond its zeitgeist-seizing band name, Bike Lane does not make overt support for cycle paths a part of its compositions (it would be hard to do a symphony piece on the city’s abrupt removal of the Bedford Avenue bike lane, for example). Instead, the four-piece group — including a violin, clarinet, bassoon, and Paul on the flute — serenades its audience with deep classical arias that show off Paul’s expertise in harmony and phrasing.

Whatever the band’s rhyme or reason, the fans dig it.

“[The Barbes show] was a rare treat,” said Andy Haynes. “Most of the time, you’ve got some crappy singer/songwriter at these small venues. The chamber music was refreshing.”

This Bike Lane is so good that even Borough President Markowitz won’t be able to oppose it.


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