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Tracorum Casts a Musical Spell
by Joshua H. Silavent
Jul 21, 2011 | 3618 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SPARKS — Tracorum is a fitting name for a band that likes to get people up and dancing.

Fletcher Nielsen first caught wind of the word when watching the 1971 musical “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” starring Angela Lansbury.

In the movie, “tracorum” is spoken as part of a spell cast upon inanimate objects in order to make them move. But the spell doesn’t work until music is introduced.

That’s where Nielsen comes in.

The 35-year-old jazz school graduate and frontman of the San Francisco-based rock ’n’ soul four-piece Nielsen describes his band’s music as cosmic-gospel-thunder-funk, a galactic blend of genres that at once defies all labels and also creates its own.

“My whole childhood was listening to big rock and roll bands, jazz, soul, Motown …” Neilsen said by phone on Tuesday, rattling off Bob Dylan and Otis Redding as major influences, among many others.

Though he tries to stay true to the musical traditions he was raised on, Nielsen seems to have no compunction about branching off into undiscovered territory.

“Music for me has always been about celebration,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean the lyrical content of his songs is happy-go-lucky.

Nielsen said he writes about the human experience, the joys and the heartbreak, the negatives and the positives, relating personal stories through characters, splicing political and spiritual overtones, and forming a sense of time and place that fans can sympathize with on record and in concert.

“I’m trying to connect with the audience,” Nielsen said.

This connection can be felt most strongly on Tracorum’s most recent release, “The Lesson,” a piano-driven album that recalls New Orleans-style influences.

The album has received significant play on college radio stations across the country.

This success has brought on the band’s first European tour, scheduled for this fall, and plans to begin recording a follow-up late this year.

“I have too many songs to deal with,” Nielsen said, acknowledging it as a good dilemma.

The many musical spells of Tracorum can be heard today when the band plays the Thursday Nights on the Square summer concert series in Victorian Square outside Cantina Los Tres Hombres and Great Basin Brewing Co. in Sparks.

The concert runs from 7 to 10 p.m. and also includes the band Soul Serene.

Nielsen said he is excited about playing in Victorian Square and hopes the opportunity will bring new fans.

“As long as people get the music, that’s all that matters,” he said.

For more on the band, visit
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