When archaeologists lifted the remaining half of King Henry VIII's sunken war ship Mary Rose from the English seabed in 1982, they scored a boatload of treasures. One particular find was the only extant model of a 14th century double-reed instrument called the doucaine. While slightly similar to the schawm, the doucaine is not as common; there are only a handful of replica instruments and players in existence. Boisean Aage Nielsen is one of those rare doucaine dudes and is quickly becoming one of the instrument's leading living experts. On his Myspace page, Nielsen describes the doucaine as having "eight holes in front and one in back [to] allow full chromatic fingerings for a 10th, with a transitional open note before overblowing the 12th." Riiight.
If you're having a hard time visualizing exactly what that means, head down to Record Exchange on Tuesday, Jan. 26, for the release of Nielsen's new album Doucaine Among Friends, which features the artist's quirky blend of folk and classical music recorded live at St. John's Cathedral. Though Nielsen is an experienced bass clarinetist--he's played in Boise Philharmonic since 1988--his new album is all about his mastery of this odd instrument. Nielsen will be joined by his colleagues from Darkwood Consort, as well as members of the College of Idaho Chorus. They will play a few tracks off the CD for Record Exchange patrons, as well as more familiar songs like The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go" and The Beatles' "Penny Lane." Each song will be arranged using the doucaine, three violas and a contrabassoon.
Nielsen and his crew have traveled the world performing music, venturing as far as Denmark, Iceland and Holland. Don't miss your chance to revel in the doucaine's delightful oddness when this eclectic performer takes over Record Exchange. B.Y.O. mead and chain mail.
Tuesday, Jan. 26, 7 p.m., FREE, The Record Exchange, 1105 W. Idaho St., 208-841-2691, myspace.com/aagenielsen.