Bloomington musician Travis Puntarelli to perform eclectic folk music at Bear’s Place


Travis Puntarelli plays the guitar. Puntarelli will perform original music at 8 p.m. Saturday at Bear’s Place. Courtesy Photo

Goblin showtunes. Morning-after songs. Maybe some Pagan chants.

Nothing is too weird for local musician Travis Puntarelli, who will showcase eclectic subject matter in his performance of original music 8 p.m. Saturday at Bear’s Place.

Puntarelli said if he had to peg what his genre is, it would be anachronistic folk music. He once created a musical about amoral goblins who are shunned by society for being ugly and forced to live underground. It might sound like there’s an underlying lesson there about rejection, but make no mistake, it’s not that deep.

“We’re not trying to cram morals down anybody’s throat,” Puntarelli said. “The songs are really just about goblins.”

Songs from his musical about goblin vengeance will be featured in his set list Saturday. Puntarelli said he is well aware of his concert falling on the day after Valentine’s Day, and will also include music in celebration of what he calls Anti-Valentine’s Day.

“We’re going to sing some songs about after love, after the fire has died,” Puntarelli said. “Lots of morning-after songs.”

Bloomington native Puntarelli, who plays guitar and piano, said he left home at the age of 18 to perform on the streets.

At 32 years old, Puntarelli said he tries to make a place for people to gather and talk about music at his shows.

“I’ve been trying to play as many places around town as possible to create a culture of music,” Puntarelli said. “My presentation is just music that hopefully inspires and awakens people to cool concepts.”

Pat Otto, who plays mandolin, guitar and banjo, will join Puntarelli onstage at the show. Otto said he admires how Puntarelli is always eager to share his own music and learn from the music of others.

“He’s inspiring for a songwriter,” Otto said. “He’s very enthusiastic about original art and expression.”

Otto has performed with Puntarelli in the past, and said his shows can be very spontaneous. His performances have been known to include improvisational sections, and the musicians must rely on eye contact and facial expressions to know where the performance will lead, Otto said.

“The general feeling is anticipating what’s going to happen next,” Otto said. “It’s a fun experience to be playing and have it be very interactive.”

Michaelangelo, Puntarelli’s west coast manager, said Puntarelli is more of a traveling troubadour than a modern musician. His concerts are very interactive and involve a great deal of folkloric storytelling, Michaelangelo said.

“He himself is kind of a portal holder to mythic legends,” Michaelangelo said. “It becomes a window into this hyper world.”

A $5 cover must be paid at the door to attend this performance.

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