Monday, April 5, 2010


I just did something I hate - I deleted someone's comment. I deleted it because I didn't know whether it was spam or a legitimate comment. It was in a language I do not speak or understand. From here on out, here are the rules for comments:

1) please write them in English if possible
2) if not possible, then write them in German, French, Italian, or Spanish
3) if none of that is possible, please get someone to translate for you
4) if a comment is in a language other than those listed above, it will be deleted

Thank you, and I'm sorry for deleting that comment. It killed me to do it, but we have to make sure we're all playing by the same rules. Whoever wrote it, feel free to do so again in English.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

How cool is this?

So here I am, arranging Jonathan Coulton's "You Ruined Everything" for Tweetheart. I have to connect Bjork's "Cover Me", which Grayson Sanders is arranging, to the Coulton...somehow. I'm thinking about re-arranging the order of the program, because the "Gloria Patri" by Monteverdi fits in beautifully between Bjork and Coulton. It's also excerpted from the Magnificat of Monteverdi's Vespers of the Virgin Mary, which - for those of you not up on your Catholic liturgy - is all about Mary thanking God for her son, Jesus. Since "You Ruined Everything" celebrates the love of a parent for his child, it seems wholly appropriate to pair the two together. And Bjork's "Cover Me" seems to me to be an exhortation from one lover to another to prepare for the beauty and wonders (and dangers) of the unknown. Being a recent father myself, it's easy for me to experience that song and think back to the days just before my daughter was born. Not that Bjork was intending that to be the meaning, but - like all great works of art - it can mean something different to each observer.

To me, this is part of the joy of Sympho: to have a forum where these totally different works from different ages and cultures can bounce off each other, and where we can contextualize great art using far broader parameters than those to which we have become accustomed.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Emeline Michel

I've just finished working with Emeline Michel - an incredibly rewarding experience. She and I had a session at her apartment (we are neighbors, it turns out!) where she serenaded me with Haitian songs, both old and new. We decided which ones would be perfect for Tweetheart, and I recorded them on Garage Band (plug for Apple!). Even using the built-in mic, it sounds phenomenal. Such an unbelievable time. She sang about Haitian "boat people", neighbors who sing out invective against their neighbors (not to their faces, but to the wind, which they hope will carry the message to the rightful recipient...), and old voodoo priests explaining mysteries. Hard to summarize in a post, but I hope you get a sense of the magical time we shared. To get more of a sense, come to Tweetheart! There you'll hear the songs we chose, sung by the incomparable Emeline Michel - one of the great living Haitian artists.