Monday, February 16, 2009

Music Update

We catch up with a music update with a personal favorite of the downtempo angelic voices. Imogen Heap is the lead vocalist and one half of the chillout group Frou Frou, and has had a very successful solo career. This vocorded track "Hide and Seek," was featured on and episode of the TV show The O.C. a few years back. (She also performed a nifty version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" for The O.C). Heap's vocal range is outstanding, and she can wonderfully juxtapose anger, hurt, and beauty in one melodic phrase. When I first heard this song, I thought she was more digital than real (a sad reality in some of our current pop singers); this live version shows she's the real deal.

And, because we all need some salsa sometimes, here's the late Celia Cruz. Other than cigars, salsa music is probably Cuba's most successful export. The grand dame of Cuban salsa is Celia Cruz. Singing since the 1950's, up to this decade (she's on and album in a duet with Dionne Warwick in 2003), Celia has been recognized worldwide. Fans of the movie "The Mambo Kings" can remember her performance well. Bill Clinton honored her in 1994 with the National Medal of the Arts. Oye, camarero! Un mas mojito, por favor.


Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

I heard Imogene Heap on World Cafe a few months back - doing some solo stuff - and while I do enjoy her range, her music sounds like exactly what it is; stuff she put together by herself in her room using a computer and midi equipment.

Like John Fogerty's solo album back in the 1980's, she would have benefited from the inputs from other people to flesh out her ideas, because in the end, it all kind of sounds the same (I would level the same complaint at some group-based musicians, such as Neal Morse of Spock's Beard).

Doc said...

If you want to hear her in a more collaborative setting, check out Frou Frou.

Soloists with computers aren't always bad; Mark Everett (The Eels), and Trent Reznor certainly have put out some good work in this vein.

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