The Confluence Story

David Michael with harp
David Michael with harp

Confluence emerged from a gathering of musical friends, old and new, who connected through the vision and generosity of Kim Borgatta. She had known harpist, David Michael since 1982 when she went to him for music lessons and had carefully followed and supported his performance/recording artist career through the decades.

A concert that Kim attended in the autumn of 2017 sparked an idea to offer the core trio of Confluence (David Michael, Nancy Rumbel and Benjy Wertheimer) an opportunity to record a music project. She had loved their music for many years and longed to hear what they might sound like together. Though they had never all performed together, they admired each other’s work and each was excited by the idea. And threads had begun to connect the trio almost a year earlier…

Richard Russell with sarode

Having just heard Nancy perform in Portland, Oregon, Benjy urged a friend of his, sarode player Richard Russell to attend one of her shows in Bellingham, Washington. Richard and Nancy met and were amazed to find out they had attended the same high school in Texas at the same time! That caught Nancy’s coyote nature and she called Richard to get together for fun to play music.

When David learned that his old music buddy, Richard was playing with Nancy, (a musician he had long admired since her years playing with the Paul Winter Consort) he wanted to come and jam with them as well. At that gathering, they decided to create a concert in Port Townsend. This was the concert that Kim attended after which she contacted David.

Nancy in studio
Nancy Rumbel recording for Confluence

David, Nancy & Benjy were delighted at the prospect of recording together, but how well would their musical styles merge? (David and Benjy had collaborated regularly for over 35 years, David and Nancy had just hit it off well, but Benjy and Nancy had never played a note together!) In January, 2018, their busy schedules finally allowed time to find out. There was much excitement the first time they all tuned up in Benjy’s Portland recording studio. Serendipity! Their very first improvisation became the basis for the piece Saraswasti’s Grace. Their individual playing styles, artistic sensitivities and sense of adventure spawned a stream of ideas. After two full days of working together, Confluence was well underway and over the next several months the pieces emerged.

Michael Mandrell in the studio with Benjy

These early improvisations laid the foundation for many of the compositions on this recording after which friends Richard Russell, Michael Mandrell, Mark Eubanks, Steve Gorn, and Sean Frenette made their beautiful contributions. David, Nancy and Benjy then crafted and honed the mixes that grew to become Confluence – a project blending love of music, friends, and devotion.

“It has been a blessing to make this recording and we feel great gratitude to Kim for her idea, generosity, patience and openness of heart and mind. And special thanks to Heather Wertheimer, Dari Lewis & Ron Rabin for loving support throughout.” – David, Nancy & Benjy

Read about The Pieces