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A strong start: Gingersnap to open Ivies

April 27, 2018

Ann Basu
JAMS BEYOND JAZZ: (Clockwise from back left): Milo Richards ’21, Isabel Udell ’19, Ellis Laifer ’19, Jon Luke Tittman ’19 and Zakir Bulmer ’19 comprise the band Gingersnap, which will open for D.R.A.M. tomorrow afternoon.

Although the student band Gingersnap is relatively new to the Bowdoin music scene, it is already leaving its mark on campus. Last week, the group won first place for its performance at Battle of the Bands—only its second performance together—and earned the spot as the opening act for D.R.A.M. in tomorrow afternoon’s Ivies concert.

Band members Isabel Udell ’19 (vocals), Zakir Bulmer ’19 (guitar and vocals), Jon Luke Tittman ’19 (bass), Ellis Laifer ’19 (piano and vocals) and Milo Richards ’21 (drums) will perform a mix of covers and original music.

The band’s setlist for tomorrow includes four original songs by Bulmer, one of which features lyrics by Udell.

“[Bulmer] has a beautiful voice and could be singing this stuff, but then he trusts me to sing it and gives me such a leash with it,” said Udell. “I’m going to stretch the melody, I’m going to play with the phrasing, but he just lets us go with it. He’s a great teacher. He’s really flexible with us kind of shaping his music into what works for the whole group.”

One original song, “Places She Goes,” was a joint effort between Udell and Bulmer—Bulmer wrote the music, Udell the lyrics. Along with “Places,” the band’s Saturday setlist will include “She Sleeps in the Library” and “Sally Jean,” also two originals.

Bulmer’s songs have a common romantic theme.

“They are all love songs. Zakir doesn’t like it when I call him a bleeding heart, but he is,” Udell said.

Gingersnap’s members are eager to take on the challenge of performing at Ivies and have been practicing almost daily since Battle of the Bands in preparation.

“It went from fine-tuning three songs to having to create a set that is like an hour’s worth of songs,” said Udell.

Nevertheless, Udell is optimistic about tomorrow’s performance.

“I think we can bring great energy and a smooth transition into D.R.A.M.,” she said.

Although a majority of the five members have experience in jazz, they don’t categorize themselves as a jazz band, citing hip-hop, reggae and Latin music as influences on their sound.

“We have all played in different groups and with people in other bands too but when you put different music groups together, you bring together different combinations of music tastes—you make a sound that’s cool and that’s worth listening to,” said Tittman.

Members said they also draw  inspiration from other campus bands, including World Peach, The Commission and 20/20, last year’s Ivies opener.

“The music scene at Bowdoin, compared to our first year, is much more engaged, and a lot of people are more excited about going to see shows,” said Tittman. “I think 20/20 raised the bar of what student bands could do on large stage performances, so I think we want to continue their momentum.”

As for the group’s unusual name, members were unable to reach a consensus on its source.

“We really don’t know,” said Richards.

“Isabel has red hair,” Laifer suggested.

“That’s really not why,” said Udell.

“I like the name—you can quote me on that,” said Laifer. “Anything with ginger is great.”

Gingersnap will perform tomorrow at 4 p.m. in Farley Field House.

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