Patchouli offers melting pot of musicWORTHINGTON — Bruce Hecksel and Julie Patchouli recorded their first jam session together in 1993 in a Chicago church.
WORTHINGTON — Bruce Hecksel and Julie Patchouli recorded their first jam session together in 1993 in a Chicago church. With Bruce playing an acoustic guitar and Julie on a five-gallon pail, they discovered their desire to create music together out of anything and everything around them. That desire fueled their relationship as it grew out of a musical love into a romantic love that they share — which keeps them grounded in the music they create still to this day.
“We met playing music, and we really enjoy playing music together,” Patchouli said. “We’re in our 12th year playing together this year.
“We’re a duo; there are two of us,” Julie Patchouli explained in a phone interview as she and Bruce travelled through Chicago en route to a show.
Patchouli describes herself as the lead vocalist while also dabbling in rhythm guitar, bass and drums. Hecksel usually plays lead guitar and joins in for vocal harmonies; she also keeps rhythm with bass percussion.
“We switch off on the percussion, depending on the song,” Patchouli said.
Although Patchouli said their music is sometimes referred to as folk, she said people compare their sounds to “the harmonies of Simon and Garfunkel with the guitar excitement of the Gipsy Kings.”
“Our influence for a lot of the music is Celtic, Spanish and American folk. There’s a whole melting pot of music that comes together in that style,” Patchouli explained.
The folk title is appropriate for Patchouli as it was just voted Chicago’s Best Folk Act in 2010.
Patchouli also performs with a “Nuevo menco” or “Spanish guitar” theme, with some instrumental guitar work integrated into their songs.
The duo Patchouli will make its first appearance at the Regatta this June.
“We haven’t played (at the Regatta) before, but have known about the event for the last couple years and have always wanted play at it and be part of it,” Patchouli said.
Mutual friends who were artists showcasing their work at the festival finally made a connection with the Unvarnished Music Festival committee and confirmed a Patchouli appearance for this summer.
“We know some of the artists, and they’ve been saying we’d be perfect for it,” Patchouli said. “Finally we connected when I called the Regatta people in charge, and they said they’ve been wondering about us. ... A lot of the same people circling around that all came together.”
Patchouli and Hecksel look forward to their first show at the Regatta. Aside from sharing their love of music and a passion for playing together, Patchouli and Hecksel are eager to experience the Unvarnished Musical Festival stage with other artists.
“Being able to share music with everyone and the organizers and just the whole stage (is exciting),” said Patchouli. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun, and we have a good time doing it, and there’s nothing that brings us more joy than sharing our music with people.”
Patchouli’s summer tour consists of 60-plus shows. But Julie said “as “busy” as that seems, in addition to performing, traveling to each show and getting some balance of exercise and rest, “each show, each experience fuels us and inspires us to play the next one.
“We play music with a positive message and good vibration that lifts us up as well as the audience.”
Patchouli will perform from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday on the Unvarnished Music Festival Stage.