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Welcome to Songs for Listening, a curated site for daily playlists from musicians, agents, managers, writers, scholars, and programmers.

05-09-19 | Songs for Listening | David Ravel

05-09-19 | Songs for Listening | David Ravel

David Ravel, an independent producer based in Milwaukee, picked tune for Thursday, May 9 at Songs for Listening. David’s current projects have been presented at Turner Hall (Milwaukee), Museum of Contemporary Arts, Chicago, Kohler Arts Center (Sheboygan), Milwaukee Film, Wisconsin Union Theater’s Concert Series (Madison), and Cedar Cultural Center (Minneapolis). From 2003 thru 2016, David was the Artistic Director of Alverno Presents, the performing arts series of Alverno College.

Here’s David’s picks with his annotations:
'Theoadora: Aria - As With Rosy Steps of Morn' by Handel, performed by Lorraine Hunt Lieberson & Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
”Coming to the game midstream, it is not surprising that some of my choices have been anticipated.  Simone Dinnerstein chose BWV 82: Aria: Ich habe genug' by JS Bach performed by Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Emmanuel Music Orchestra, a composition and a performance that has been central to my life since my wife and I first saw Lieberson perform it in Peter Sellar’s staging many years ago. Lieberson’s otherworldly, uncanny beauty is also heard in her performance of 'As With Rosy Steps of Morn' from Handel’s 'Theodora' (a fitting counterpoint to “Ich habe genug”, “I have enough”).”

'I Want to See The Bright Lights Tonight' by Richard & Linda Thompson
”This past summer, the Milwaukee Art Museum presented William Kentridge’s 'More Sweetly Play The Dance', an eight channel video installation projected onto floor to ceiling panels stretching a distance of 130 feet. Its running time is 14 minutes, playing throughout the day on a continuous loop. Its soundtrack is composed by Johannes Serekeho and performed by the African Immanuel Essemblies Brass Band under the direction of Bishop R.E. Sefatsa. It is a dirge for voice, percussion, trumpets, tubas, french horns, trombones, snare, and bass drums.  It would be funereal if it were not for the single accordion making bright, darting arpeggios over the main melody. It is both dark and celebratory. I would include it on this list if it existed in a form other than a poor YouTube video. (If someone can correct me on this point, I would be grateful.)  In the course of doing some research, I became curious as to what would happen if you switched out the soundtrack. On an impulse, I began watching the poor YouTube video while listening to Richard & Linda Thompson’s album, 'I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight'. The fit between 'More Sweetly' and the album’s first song, 'When I Get To The Border' was startling.  The song’s political resonance feels, sadly, greater now than when it was released in 1974.”

'Americana' by Nickel&Rose
”I want to use this platform to share the music of some of the Milwaukee artists I’ve worked with over the years. The title song from 'Americana', the latest EP from Nickel&Rose (Carl Nichols & Johanna Rose), accomplishes the singular trick of using the tropes of a genre to subvert its longstanding assumptions. A beguiling melody delivers pointed commentary like a shiv.”

'Muhal' by Ben LaMar Gay
”I would have included Makaya McCraven on my list if David Graham hadn’t beaten me to it ('Holy Lands' from his most recent album, 'Universal Beings'). McCraven is receiving a lot of well-deserved attention, but he is one musician among an exciting group of Chicago artists, many of whom, like him, record on International Anthem. Angel Bat Dawid, Jeff Parker, Dos Santos, and Anteloper will reward your attention, but I am including Ben LaMar Gay’s 'Muhal' from 'Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun'.”

'No Safe Haven' by Klassik
”Like the soundtrack from 'More Sweetly Play The Dance', I would also include Klassik’s 'No Safe Haven' from his live album, 'American Klassiks', if it were available on Spotify, but as of now it is not [Editor’s note: We have included a Bandcamp link to the song below]. Klassik is a Milwaukee-based producer, singer and rapper. 'American Klassiks' is a recording of a one-night only concert he performed with the aforementioned Nickel&Rose and the in-every-sense-of-the-word-'fabulous' SistaStrings (Chauntee Ross and Monique Ladora Ross). It is a reinterpretation of American spirituals, hymns and anthems rooted in the honest and unabashed narrative of our common history. Klassik will also be releasing 'Quiet', an album of original music, this summer. It is magnificent, and I urge you to keep your eyes and ears open for this.

'Theodora: Aria - As With Rosy Steps of Morn' by Handel, performed by Lorraine Hunt Lieberson & Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
'I Want to See The Bright Lights Tonight' by Richard & Linda Thompson from 'I Want to See The Bright Lights Tonight' 
'Americana' by Nickel&Rose from 'Americana
'Muhal' by Ben Lamar Gay from 'Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun'
'No Safe Haven' by Klassik from 'American Klassicks'


05-10-19 | Songs for Listening | Juan Souki

05-10-19 | Songs for Listening | Juan Souki

05-08-19 | Songs for Listening | Jake Xerxes Fussell

05-08-19 | Songs for Listening | Jake Xerxes Fussell