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Photo credit: Jason X Lee

About Us

Clockwork Mercury is the duo project of Eric Mingus and Catherine Sikora. Inspired by a shared love of poetry, improvisation and boxing, the project takes its name from a poem by Bernard O'Donoghue (Silverfish, from the collection Here Nor There).

The duo performs a mix of song, free improvisation and spoken word; for these two artists, anything is fair game to use as inspiration for their work, and influences come from sources as diverse as beat poetry, punk, the blues, traditional Irish tunes, and of course the world of jazz, which in itself encompasses such a huge range of approaches.

 

 They have performed at venues throughout New York City and far beyond, in the US and in Europe, and have shared stages with some notable musicians including Tracy Bonham, the Chrome Cranks and David Amram. Current projects include contributing a cover song to a compilation album of the Chrome Cranks and working on a new recording to be released later in 2014.

 

Eric Mingus-he sings, but how to describe it-Punk? Yes, he was a fixture on the scene at CBGB’s as well as the original Knitting Factory and Tonic, and carries that sensibility with him everywhere he goes. However, he is also classically trained, and renowned as a blues and rock singer, and grew up in the center of the jazz world, so perhaps it is more appropriate to describe him as the possessor of one of the most massive, compelling and powerful voices of the day, outside of restrictive stylistic labels. A fearless improviser, with such a strong sense of melody and structure, the lines between composition and improvisation become blurred in his performances. Eric plays bass with great power and freedom, and contributes his compositions and poetry to the project.

 

Saxophonist Catherine Sikora is a native of West Cork, Ireland. She is an accomplished composer and improviser. Her work has included touring in Europe and the US, and performances on several critically noted recordings. She plays the saxophone with a great tone and mastery of extended technique, and contributes melodic sensitivity which completes Clockwork Mercury’s sonic profile. Catherine will be in residence at the Centre Culturel Irlandais for October and November, working on a composition project inspired by stories of her female ancestors.

 

A few press quotes:

 

And when I thought it couldn’t get any better, a mere two songs in, the second vocalist emerged: Eric Mingus, a great, bellowing, bearded bear of a man who wailed the old-time gospel blues with such power and passion that my knees buckled. I write with no exaggeration, this was perhaps the greatest live vocal performance I have ever witnessed. I have struggled for days to find the words to do it justice, and I do not believe I have found them, but here we go. He moved seamlessly between traditional, old-time talking blues that would’ve done Howlin’ Wolf proud, a falsetto that would skyrocket past Smoky Robinson, anguished, pitch-perfect screaming a la the great Jay Hawkins, and, believe it or not, Tuvan throat singing, and he infused it all with such presence and gravitas that he became quite simply undeniable. Had he been selling something, I would have bought it. Had he been asking for something, I would have given it. Had he been preaching something, I would have converted. I left profoundly stirred, my ribcage still shuddering.- David Fitzgerald, review from live performance at  Bonnaroo

 

 

Sikora is a free-blowing player’s player with a spectacular harmonic imagination and an evolved understanding of the tonal palette of the saxophone.

-Chris Elliot, Seacoast online

© Clockwork Mercury 2017