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Mark your calendar: Oryx and Crake
Atlanta's Oryx and Crake has several Savannah connections

I was in Florida last weekend, visiting family, and several times I was asked about the music scene in Savannah: What kind of stuff comes through there? What are the local bands like?

The answers were easy, because in all the mid-sized Southern cities I've called home, Savannah has the most fertile musical ground I've ever been honored to till. There's something and someone different every single week, I told my relatives; the local players are, for the most part, fantastic, and the regional artists that pass through offer a stunningly high percentage of quality, no matter one's musical preferences.

In my inbox just this morning was the announcement of a Nov. 6 show at the Wormhole, featuring not only the wonderful Savannah singer/songwriters Dare Dukes and General O, but a band from Atlanta called Oryx and Crake.

These guys combine acoustica and electronica in wonderful ways, with delicately brooding songs that convey immense emotionalism with a combination of guitars, mandolins, keys and samples, autoharp and a delectable violin and cello. Plus bass and drums (yeah, it's a pretty big band).

The Oryx and Crake CD appeared just a month or so ago. Said the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "The album is easily among the best local releases of the year ... Few bands come out of the box with such a singular, well-developed identity. It's a marvel."

Wait, there's more: Bandleaders Ryan and Rebekah Goode-Peoples are Savannah ex-pats (she taught at Country Day) - their band, in these parts, was called kiterunner.

Several other band members are SCAD graduates.


Mo 'Mags'

@ One more chapter in the continuing saga of Steel Magnolias. Robert Harling's play, after a record-breaking run last month by the City of Savannah, is being produced by the Tybee Arts Association Nov. 5-14. We've told you about this, and we'll focus on the Tybee production in an upcoming issue.

Here's the new twist: The Hinesville Area Arts Council's Liberty Theatre is doing Steel Magnolias Nov. 12 and 13 in Midway's Dorcester Civic Center. Those flowers of pulchritude sure are blooming this year - since the cast consists of six women, I'm counting 18 steel mags between Savannah, Tybee and Hinesville. Wonder when the Garden City production will turn up?

And now, this

@ On Dec. 3 and 6, I Cantori does its annual Christmas concerts at St. Peter's Episcopal Church on Skidaway Island. This is Savannah's professional chamber choir - good stuff indeed - directed, as always, by Robert Harris. Call (912) 925-7866.

@ Brian Gore's International Guitar Night show returns to the Lucas Theatre Jan. 27. This time around, the Amazing Mr. Gore will be joined by European six-stringers Clive Carroll, Alexandre Gismonti and Pino Forastiere.