Tendervishes bring ‘out-of-the-box’ style

Tindervishes performs a set on Friday at Sugarhouse Coffee. — Dane Goodwin Colby Patterson
Tindervishes performs a set on Friday at Sugar House Coffee. Photo by Dane Goodwin.

Tindervishes performs a set on Friday at Sugar House Coffee. Photo by Dane Goodwin.

A coffee shop adopting the role of concert venue is risky business. Most people visit cafés for the ambience, not to listen to music. At such performances, there is usually a loudmouth girl talking on her phone the entire time or people continually walking in front of the artist on their way to the register for another caffeine fix.

However, the few people at Sugar House Coffee’s Tendervishes show last Friday were predominantly focused on the performance. This setting made it easy to forget the show’s location, with one exception — the band’s music epitomized stereotypical coffee shop tunes, which are acoustic and out-of-the-box.

Tendervishes is a local band comprised of drummer Thunder Momma, violinist Mira Zatar and guitarist/vocalist Hawk Zatar. Zatar and Zatar first met in 2000, and they have been inseparable since 2003. The couple met Thunder Momma through a mutual friend, and they began playing as a trio six months ago.

The group’s music is free-flowing with soft vocals, and its atypical time signatures and propensity to change mood in the middle of a track challenges listeners to keep up. All in all, this style shows the trio’s refusal to conform to mainstream standards.

“It’s [our] relationships, both personal and artistic, that keep us in Utah,” Hawk Zatar said. “That and the mountains have a definite, and, we think, positive effect on our music.”

The song “Foreshadow” stood out at Friday night’s show. Guitar and violin wove together to create a melodious and textured composition. The song began with the sound of plucked strings and eventually swelled into a beautiful interplay of instruments. However, the lyrics seemed misplaced and distracted from the virtuosity of the musicians. In fact, the songs that spontaneously broke into lyrics halfway through were less successful than if they would have just stayed entirely instrumental.

“Our sound is a synthesis of our collected experiences and influences, [which are] difficult to dissect and identify,” Mira Zatar said.

By far the best thing about this group was Mira Zatar. Her sweeping violin solos were both dramatic and playful. Watching her play the violin was the highlight of the night, and her talent allowed the audience to ignore some of the more awkward lyrical sections.