Hot Soup offers a woman's touch

All-female trio adapts to the crowd in Maryland Theatre performance

All-female trio adapts to the crowd in Maryland Theatre performance

July 30, 2006|by ALICIA NOTARIANNI

HAGERSTOWN - Adaptable is the word that springs to mind to describe the female folk trio Hot Soup during its performance Saturday afternoon at The Maryland Theatre.

Band member Sue Trainor planned on being flexible going into the performance.

"The performance will depend on who is here," Trainor said moments before the show. "This was billed as a family show for folks of all ages - music that young folks and taller folks will enjoy as well."

Hot Soup tours nationally, and has released three albums, the latest titled "The Way You Like It." While the group traditionally has recorded and performed adult folk music, each of the band members independently has produced children's music, and the group has taken a recent foray into family-oriented folk performance.

Saturday's performance was billed as such - a family performance. But at the start of the show, there were no children in the audience.


The concert opened with the catchy beat of a conga drum, then melded with acoustic guitar, unaffected harmonies and an intermittent junglelike "wa-haa" wail. The band encouraged the audience to join them in some simple hand motions, the kind usually reserved for children's entertainment.

"There are some awful big little kids out there," Trainor said, looking out across the scant, but spirited audience.

When the group announced that it would move on from its family show to its adult lineup due to the lack of children present, the audience applauded. Hot Soup broke into its second number lightheartedly, joking and singing the lyrics, "Put your hand on the knee of the person next to you."

Trainor shared stories about the band's performances at the Avalon Folk Festival, a clothing-optional event in West Virginia.

"When we got to the verse where we sing, 'Put your hand of the cheek of the person next to you,' we realized there are options," Trainor said.

Offerings to follow included folksy cautionary tales, world music-inspired tunes with exotic instrumentation and an Andrew Sisters-like ditty titled "T'aint No Sin to Dance Around in Your Bones." Just as the group was wrapping up, a drinking song that proclaimed, "There's nothing so fair as wearing air on my Irish derriere," Trainor noted some stragglers who had arrived with children.

Straight away, Hot Soup reverted back to childlike gesturing, leading old and young alike in children's songs about a sycamore tree and sailing out on the Chesapeake Bay. Perhaps due in part to their experience and maturity - the band members range in age from 46 to 54 - the group seemed equally comfortable and adept in adult and children's genres.

Karin Burke, 34, of Hagerstown, and Jarrod Campbell, 29, of Fairfax, Va., attended the concert.

"I'm enjoying the show," Burke said. "There's interesting stuff going on up there."

Marco and Monica Cardenas of Hagerstown, both 29, took their children, Daniela, 5, and Juan-Jose, 2, to the performance. Daniela seemed particularly impressed.

"They can sing!" Daniela said.

Band member Jennie Avila moved to Hagerstown about a year ago from Bucks County, Pa. Avila said she was pleased to be performing at The Maryland Theatre.

"It's wonderful to be welcomed to Hagerstown in this way," Avila said. "It feels good to enter into the community during this time of renaissance."

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