Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Essences: Aretha, Sheila Jordan, and Miles

A Facebook thread started by singer Laurie Antonioli with comments by singer Stephanie Bruce inspired me to write some verbal "thumbnails" of some of my favorite artists. We were discussing marketing of artists and I commented that the key is communicating the unique essence of each. So I thought I'd make a stab. 

Here are three of them. What do you think?

Aretha Franklin:
Melding the black church with the bedroom, buoyant girlish flexibility with downhome female power.

Aretha Franklin from lisabmusic blog

Sheila Jordan:
Appalachia meets bebop. Whatever your journey or mine, you can always enter the sunshine of my smile.
Sheila Jordan from lisabmusic blog

Miles Davis:
Ever-evolving cool. 

Miles Davis from lisabmusic blog

Thursday, October 3, 2013

New Video for My Version of Cole Porter's Great Song: "Night and Day/The Cat Goddess"

Egyptian cat goddessIlate July 2013, artist Jenifer Bacon created an enticing video for my song "Night and Day/The Cat Goddess." 
The song first appeared on my 2006 CD "What's New, Pussycat?" and was re-released in a remastered version on my 2009 CD, "The Poetry of Groove." A revisioning of Cole Porter's great composition, my arrangement intersperses original spoken-word sections with my singing of Porter's mesmerizing lyrics and melody. 

It was recorded with marvelous engineer and co-producer Jim Gardiner at Pajama Studios in Oakland, California. On the track with me are Frank Martin, keyboards, Troy Lampkins, bass, Paul van Wageningen, drums, and John Santos, percussion. 

With its echoes of an Islamic call to prayer, according to Porter, and its intensely yearning quality, "Night and Day" conveys a longing not only for the beloved but also for the divine. The hunger and burning referred to in the lyrics show the intense intertwining of the physical and the spiritual, and they suggested to me the figure of the cat and the cat goddess, as well as the goddess in her many forms. I yoke these elements together in my spoken segment of the tune, with imagery spanning the goddess's (and the cat's) agility and mystery, revelations of darkness and light, the magic of witches and their burning, nursery rhymes, and the continuation of these memories by we who recall, know, and keep singing

All this is intimated in Jenifer Bacon's stirring video, with its imagery of the romantic hero and heroine; the moon, the sky, and our planet; fleeting images of the cat goddess and her suppression; and modern-day dancing goddesses.
Cole Porter and a quote from "Night and Day"

We know that nursery rhymes can be the repository of some of the oldest forms of culture that have otherwise died out in their original forms. Below you can see how the cat goddess Bastet and her sacred musical instrument the sistrum live on in the figure of the cat and the fiddle (which I connect in my spoken lyrics). The images of the cow and the moon are additional echoes of the goddess.

Egyptian cat goddess with her musical instrument the sistrum resembling a fiddlecat and a fiddle, derived from Bastet image with her sistrum

You can purchase the song from iTunes here:  Enjoy!

copyright © 2013 Lisa Bernstein