Talented troupe dots the landscape with a special sound
December 9, 2009 · Updated 3:12 PM
They traveled from the land of the long white cloud and back again.
Well, that’s what one band’s journey feels like, considering its musical roots began on the other side of the world with a serendipitous meeting of musical minds.
Former island girl Colleen Johnson has travelled from New Zealand and back with Polka Dot Dot Dot, a troupe of banjo wielding, harp-strumming troubadours. The band will be returning from a month-long tour of the United States, in support of its new album, “Syzygy,” on Bicycle Records. Polka Dot Dot Dot returns to Whidbey Island for a cozy concert at historic Woodland Hall at 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14. After that, they set out again for those islands beyond the Tasman Sea.
The record’s title means the alignment of three celestial objects, fitting for three traveling musicians who came together in a cosmic twist of fate on the shores of New Zealand.
Jordan O’Jordan and Onyx of Olympia combined solo sets with Johnson at the Camp A Low Hum Music Festival in a last-minute, let’s grab this slot performance.
Like all good karmic it-was-meant-to-be performances, the Dots charmed the New Zealand crowds with their refreshing blend of folk, Tin Pan Alley and a cappella styles. The rest is history, or the start thereof, for the Olympia-based trio.
Johnson said that with “Syzygy,” the second full-length release, the band was able to deliver a recording that is more patient than its last one.
“These songs deal with the fleeting nature of movement, friendship and infatuation,” Johnson said.
While still making good use of the band’s characteristic three-part harmonies and instrumentation on guitar, banjo, ukulele, musical saw, harp and hand-clap percussion, the record expands the Polka Dot Dot Dot sound with more orchestration and vocal arrangement.
All three of the band members write songs, and then use some of that knack for alignment contributing as a whole on each arrangement.
Now in its third year of “bandship,” Polka Dot Dot Dot is about to return to New Zealand for the third time, a place that seems to have a celestial pull for the band.
“Returning to New Zealand is like returning to our creative homeland in a way, because we formed there as a band,” Johnson said.
It is not the music of the place so much that draws us there, but the beauty and adventure that the land embodies for us.”
With its Whidbey Island show, Polka Dot Dot Dot hopes to dissipate some cabin-fever blues and melt the winter icicles from some island ears.
It’s an all-ages show with donations being accepted at the door. Woodland Hall is 1.4 miles from Highway 525 down Maxwelton Road at 3677 Woodland Hall Lane.