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Playing Around: Faun Fables 

click to enlarge KATHERINE COPPENHAVER
  • Katherine Coppenhaver

Somewhere in the hinterlands between The Fifth Dimension's "Age of Aquarius" and the cosmic porno jazz that announces another one of Captain Kirk's multi-hued conquests, you'll discover Faun Fables. The ethereal duo of sylvan singer Dawn McCarthy and her guitarist-lover Nils Frykdahl places their physical home near the San Francisco Bay, but their folk melodies are wrung from somewhere ancient, heavily treed and cloaked in grey mist.

McCarthy created Faun Fables after she had paid her dues writing and performing for New York City circuses, bands and vaudeville acts. During a trek through Europe, McCarthy kept a journal that later became the basis for many of Faun Fables' songs. The landscapes of Ireland and Scotland are woven into the pagan rhythm of "Hela," and England's foggy moors permeate the journey of "A Traveller Returning," songs from Faun Fables' newest album, Mother Twilight.

To say that McCarthy merely sings these songs is a misnomer. Her broad, rich voice rises and falls back on itself in a dulcet keen, fluctuating from august demands to seductive siren calls. Her voice is Faun Fables' strongest instrument; her moans, howls and cries aqueous and enchanting.

Faun Fables' performances, like their music, are semi-theatrical. The duo plays Thursday night. Admission is free. Call 268-9951.

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