Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sometimes the Only True Cure Is a Song

Ambling Along the Aqueduct readers will have noticed that Professor Hairston's recent posts, concerning the life of her delightful Redwood and Wildfire, often mention the new album by her partner, Pan Morigan. I thought it worth mentioning that the album in question is Teh Awesome.
A cellist shames the mind of war
With songs that mend what rage devours
A dreamer sails ten thousand seas . . .
As Pan notes, it's hard to find words for the genre she has synthesized out of her multifarious influences. The album comprises nine original songs, sung by Pan in collaboration with such virtuoso musicians as guitarist Ben Butler and bassist Richard Hammond [ETA: Pan also plays Appalachian dulcimer, hunter's harp, octave mandolin, flute, violin, viola, percussion, accordion, and guitars on various tracks]. The lyrics are unremittingly evocative, erotic, corporeal, philosophical, spiritual, and political.
I don't want to sing about love
Lend a forked and crooked tongue
To that old chant about how we're all one . . .
In the time it takes me
To sing this "love" thing
Another kid soldier learns
How easy it is to die
After I'd popped the album into our old Toyota's cd player on a rainy Philadelphia morning, my awestruck partner said, "Who is this? At first I thought it was Audra McDonald." Which is not a bad comparison for describing the quality of the vocals; but McDonald's albums of show tunes tend not to combine Celtic, jazz, Latin, and various Middle Eastern musical styles in quite that way. I don't think any one selection from the album could be characterized as "representative," but here's a sample:

There's a bunch of ways to buy a copy of the album: I used cdbaby. I urge readers to stop settling for lesser music and give Wild Blue a listen.
And the wind will hold you
And the moon will rock you
And the night will know you

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