Friday, November 4, 2011

The Happiness Project : Charles Spearin

Wednesday night Micky and I had a date with Feist at BAM. The show was great, though I'll admit it was somewhat difficult to stay awake what with the lullaby-lic tones of her new album, the dark theater, the cozy seats, and the bottle of wine we shared at dinner directly beforehand. 

What really excited me, though, what got me grinning and scooched up on the edge of my seat, was the opening band who called themselves The Happiness Project. Led by Charles Spearin, the ensemble played snippets of recorded conversations that they interlaced with horns and piano and strings. The cadence and melody of the speaker's words dictated the flow of each song, the voice acting as one of the many instruments in the composition. 

One of the songs was inspired by a conversation he recorded with a young neighbor named Vittoria. Her stumbling "likes" and "ums" are beautifully mimicked in the deep throaty horns of the jazz ensemble. It reminded me of how much I love when kids have a rasp to their voice, like they've been smoking cigarettes and drinking whiskey all night. Have a listen: 

Another was an interview he did with his friend Vanessa, who at the age of 30 received a cochlear implant and describes what it was like for her to hear for the first time. Here is a truncated live version of the truly moving song that I found on Youtube: 

My FAVORITE favorite was a recording of Spearin's daughter Ondine. First of all, I looove her name. And second: I've never heard a whine against almond butter sound so completely lovely. You have to listen to that one on the artist's website here :

Along with other beauties from the album. 


 - Cathleen

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