Tuning In with Marie Landragin

Posted on January 15, 2015 by

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Like many musicians, Marie Landragin’s first instrument was piano (she started playing at age 7 while living near Melbourne, Australia). But when, as a teenager, she moved to Culpeper, Virginia, with her family, she began taking classical guitar lessons at school.

“I remember when my parents gave me my first classical nylon-stringed Yamaha,” she says. “I was so excited, I thought I’d burst. I still have that guitar.”

Landragin (front center) and Corsair play the Hell Over Hammaburg festival in Germany. Corsair played to a more than 1,000  unusually attentive fans at this show, and for Landragin, it was her most memorable gig yet. Photo by Ramon Claasson

Landragin (front center) and Corsair play the Hell Over Hammaburg festival in Germany. Corsair played to a more than 1,000 unusually attentive fans at this show, and for Landragin, it was her most memorable gig yet.
Photo by Ramon Claasson

Around the same time she started playing classical guitar—an instrument and genre that requires a lot of skill— Landragin acquired Black Sabbath’s self-titled album. It was a cassette copy, duplicated for her by her friend Rocky, she recalls. The intricate, expressive sounds of early metal bands like Black Sabbath and heavy metal bands like Metallica “fit nicely” with and perhaps fueled her interest in classical guitar.

Landragin DJ-ing at Champion Brewery (top, photo by Brad Day); and screenprinting (bottom)

Landragin DJ-ing at Champion Brewery (top); and screenprinting (bottom)

Currently, Landragin is a badass rock lady with some serious guitar chops, playing lead guitar in two of Charlottesville’s best bands, the hard rock/metal band Corsair and the psych pop band Borrowed Beams of Light.

“My life fits itself around music…my life is not mine without music,” she says. “Without music I’d be but a mere shadow of my true self…it’s an obsession/way of life that is totally honest and true to who I am and it is the blood of my day to day musings.”

Take one look at Landragin on stage during a show, or spinning records during a DJ set, and you’ll see what she means. She looks (and sounds) like she belongs there.

Between gigs and recording sessions, Landragin is doing behind-the-scenes band stuff—talking with booking agents, working out details with the label, etc.—or working as a freelance graphic artist/illustrator/painter, creating logos, posters, flyers and screen-printed T-shirts for local bands. She also spends a lot of time researching music for her weekly Witches Brew segment, airing from 2 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays on WTJU (check out past shows here). The show focuses on early rock, early metal and early psych music from the 1960s and early 70s, pretty obscure music that most of us haven’t heard.

Landragin’s passion for sharing the music she loves, and for discovering more music to love is palpable: “There’s this great feeling when someone calls in and says, ‘Man, what is this? I’ve been listening to WTJU for years and this show is blowing my mind. I love this song,’ and it’s a deep cut from some German prog band from 1972 or something just as ridiculous!”

This week, she’s picked out some tunes to share with us. She says of her playlist selection, “It’s some of the jams that niggled their way into my mind as a youth and became my earliest influences heralding the roots of my obsession with guitar, particularly solos.”

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Posted in: music, Tuning in