Eugene music

Channeling Oregon Sounds and Sights

Experiencing the natural acoustic and visual worlds of Don Latarski

Photos and Videos by DON LATARSKI

Don Latarski is fascinated by how easily people can distract themselves from today’s human-created cacophony by adding layers of sound — from a TV, radio, or ear buds. The Eugene-based composer/guitarist suspects most people have become quite uncomfortable with silence. Even he, like most musicians, has listened to hours of recorded music as background. “Is this why the TV is on in many homes 24-7?” he wonders. 

Don Latarski

A more rewarding respite for Latarski comes not from adding more human sounds, but instead from the soundtrack of life that nature once provided. And he’s found a fruitful way to bring those sounds to the ears even of people disconnected from nature — by combining them with original music. Latarski’s new album,Wind Water Wing: Nature Voices of Oregon, blends the sounds of Oregon’s birds, frogs, flowing streams, and other environmental sources with the musical drone of his unique wind and water guitars. The result, he suggests, will remind listeners of a hike through the wetlands, up a forested mountain trail, or along a lake or flowing stream — a soundscape experience that he believes will be “good for the brain and soul.”

Latarski’s embrace of nature transcends its sounds. Recently, he has also found in photography another way to explore its wonder and mystery.


State of the art, art of the state

2018 in Review, Part 2: From Ashland to Astoria to Bend and beyond, twenty terrific tales about art and culture around Oregon

In 2018 ArtsWatch writers spent a lot of time out and about the state, putting the “Oregon” into “Oregon ArtsWatch.” Theater in Ashland and Salem. Green spaces and Maori clay artists in Astoria. A carousel in Albany. Aztec dancing in Newberg. Music in Eugene, Springfield, Bend, the Rogue Valley, McMinnville, Lincoln City, Florence, Willamette Valley wine country. Museum and cultural center art exhibits in Coos Bay and Newberg and Newport and Salem. Art banners in Nye Beach. A 363-mile art trail along the coast.

In 2018 we added to our team of writers in Eugene and elsewhere weekly columnists David Bates in Yamhill County and Lori Tobias on the Oregon Coast, plus regional editor Karen Pate. We expect to have even more from around Oregon in 2019.

Twenty terrific tales from around the state in 2018:


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The Original Tesla

“Tesla”: The wireless joint is jumpin’.

Jan. 11: “Clean energy. Wireless charging. A world connected by invisible communication technology. For many,” Brett Campbell writes,” they’re today’s reality, tomorrow’s hope — but they were first realistically envisioned more than a century ago by a a Serbian-American immigrant whose name most of us only know because a new car is named after him. … ‘He’s an unsung hero,” Brad Garner, who choreographed and directs Tesla: Light, Sound, Color, a multidisciplinary show about the technological genius Nikola Tesla that played in Eugene, Bend, and Portland, tells Campbell. ‘We wouldn’t have cell phones and power in our homes without his work. He was an immigrant with an American dream who changed the world.”