by Dan Haag, Tillamook County Pioneer
Popular Portland ensemble 3 Leg Torso will be bringing their high energy show to North County Recreation District Saturday, October 14 for a 7 pm show. Formed in 1996 they are a violin, cello and accordion trio with the mission of creating original modern chamber music for their unique instrumentation. Over the following years, the band has expanded both it’s musical mission and it’s size to become a quintet that now performs original compositions based on an eclectic synthesis of chamber music, tango, klezmer, Latin, and Roma (Gypsy) music.
The cinematic nature of their music has led to work with many film makers, including Oscar nominated documentary artist Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), two short films with Teller (of Penn & Teller), as well as Oregon Coast appearances at the Astoria Music Festival.
Between their busy performance and recording schedule, violinist Bela Balogh sat down to chat with the Tillamook County Pioneer.
Tillamook County Pioneer: How would you describe the band?
Bela Balogh: We started out with the mission of creating some original music with chamber music energy with influences from Eastern Europe and South America. A lot of people kind of laugh at our name but we have one foot in jazz, one foot in Eastern European music and one foot in modern chamber music. It all comes up into one trunk.
TCP: Where’s everybody from?
BB: Courtney Von Drehle grew up in England and moved here to attend Reed College. I’m from Portland, but my family moved here in the late 60’s from Hungary to teach at Laurelhurst University. My grandfather had a Gypsy orchestra in Hungary. T.J. Arko, our percussionist is from Portland, and so is Milo Fultz, our bass player.
TCP: What film and television projects are you involved in?
BB: We’ve worked with HBO and National Geographic. The National Geographic project was the “Doomsday Prepper” series. We’ve done three zombie films with Teller of Penn & Teller. It’s a great way to reach the rest of the world and introduce yourselves.
TCP: How did you land a gig in Nehalem?
BB: We’ve been to the Astoria Music Festival the last two years and the reception was great. We love playing everywhere, from the smallest concert halls to some of the biggest concert halls. David, the director at NCRD, reached out to us and told us all about the new performing arts center and how he’d love to have us come. We love playing those kind of venues. We love the intimacy.
TCP: What do you have coming up in the next year?
BB: We’re working on new albums and a circus show at the Alberta Rose theater, kind of a different take on the Dicken’s classic. It’s called “A Circus Carol” and we have a bunch of aerialists, dancers, singers, acrobats, and actors. We’ll be on the road up at the Liberty Theater in Everett, Washington. Also, more music for films.
TCP: Is music a full time job for you guys?
BB: For most of us it is. Just last year I got my broker’s license. What I do is take my violin to open houses and when it’s slow I check out the acoustics. When people walk in, I explain that this is my other job and I tell them that if they buy or sell a home with me, 3 Leg Torso will play your housewarming party. We’ve had several takers.
TCP: The band is often described as ‘high energy.’ Is that accurate?
BB: Definitely Stage performance has a lot of energy. I’m definitely very mobile on stage because I use a wireless mic so I’m never stuck in one place. That’s how I get my exercise. Courtney does some great storytelling during the show, which definitely gives off energy. It’s always a lot of fun. It’s a great combination and always entertaining.