Category Archives: Music

How to rewrite a spiritual…

I grew up in a house where everyone spontaneously broke in to song, in response to whatever was going on around us… not musical theater songs, but  songs like Three Dog Night’s “Jeremiah was a Bullfrog” (when we were happy) or Willie Nelson’s “Hello Walls” (when I was arguing with my parents), all done in a rock opera way. If I was pouting or whining, my parents would often pepper in songs like “Nobody Knows the Trouble” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” to counteract (and play into) my mood, which usually led me to A. singing along, or B. storming off more pissed. My parents told me that I would sing similar sounding songs in my sleep even. I had no idea those were “spirituals”  but I suppose that explains how the spiritual seeds were planted.

I already blogged about this song last month…  and now I’ve decided to jump in and take it on after all. I obviously can’t do a pre-civil war spiritual justice, so I’m going to have to rewrite the lyrics and find my own voice within it. I’ve re-written plenty of lyrics, but this cover is going to be very different for me, harder to write, I think. Daniel is going to sing the lower parts of the song, and the rest will be me – no instruments. Pretty simple.

Here’s the original point of inspiration, so we can compare later.

 “I’m Troubled in Mind”. 

ps. this was apparently recorded by a Spiritual Workshop group in Paris, but I can’t  find anything else out about the group or when it was recorded – bummer.

I’m really trying to follow my gut here. I’m generally very guarded in terms of the music I make, refraining from explaining lyrics or inspiration. A year ago I would have been terrified to take on such a song, to share so many random points of interest, or to even create a project like DAYDRIFTER, exposing my musical venerabilities, but here I am, to my own surprise. Yay!

Oh and just a word relating back to my rock opera upbringing… you’d be surprised to find out that I actually dislike musical theater (I could probably use a stronger word than dislike), but, I highly recommend turning your home into a stage and singing throughout your day, about your day.


Musique Concrète Monday

Happy Monday!

Since I’ve been on the subject of Thomas Edison, I figured I should link him up to my latest listen…. so here we go.

Thanks to all of the fancy new tape machines and microphones being developed in the post-Edison world, the people of the early 2oth century, seem to have been clamoring to record anything and everything ad nauseam… from symphonies to speech to the sounds of nature and industry. With only a few decades of material to pull from, two Frenchmen named Pierre decided to take some of these relatively “new” audio recordings, dice them up and use the primitive samples that resulted, to create an entirely new type of music (or musical movement rather). Here’s an example…

Pierre Schaeffer & Pierre Henry

“Symphonie Pour Un Homme Seul, Waltz” (1950) 

Ok, so its not pop music, but since the music I’m working on right now is really rooted in the looping of human speech and sounds, I owe a great deal to Schaeffer & Henry for pioneering the art of composing with samples. They treated each segment of recorded sound as an instrument, seamlessly arranging them in a systematically musical yet disjunct sounding way. According to Schaeffer (per some French website that’s better at restating the obvious than I am), he intended to “challenge the primary opposition between sound and noise to discover the musical potential of sound usually regarded as noise.” Bravo Pierre.

Anyway, if you have a chance, clear your mind, take a listen, and let yourself time travel to a world without protools.  

PS.  I originally wrote this with the added perspective of my music history interests… but decided that I ramble too much, so its shorter now.

I’m Troubled in Mind…

I want to cover this song…  “I’m Troubled in Mind”. 

It was apparently recorded by a Spiritual Workshop group in Paris, but I can’t seem to find anything else out about the group or when it was recorded.

on a side note… check out the 1909 recording of the FISK JUBILEE SINGERS below.

Maasai melodies

Another point of musical inspiration. Some amazing women from a Maasai village in Kenya, singing to tourists (I’m guessing).

Tourists, ugh.

My New War Dance

I’m working on a new song right now inspired by a Native American (Sioux) war dance. LISTEN and let it inspire you as well. 

Hello world!

This is a new site for a new musical endeavor. Please be patient as I write and record my inner most thoughts for you.

xo sarah

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