Monday, September 22, 2014

"16 Songs" Video Album from Allison Crowe = Music + Movie Magic

"Soulful. Alive. Joyous. Grievous. Real, true, music is what I want to make."
 
That’s how Allison Crowe framed things near the start of this century before launching Rubenesque Records Ltd., one of the world’s truly independent music labels.
 
Through legendary live performances, broadcasts, and a dynamic oeuvre of recordings, globally-acclaimed and loved, Crowe’s distinguished herself among today’s finest songwriters, recording and concert acts, and as a supreme interpreter of popular song.
 
Combining versatility and virtuosity, the amazing Canadian musician transmits emotion into a visceral joy – sharing heart and soul with audiences.
 
Timeless artistic expression has its own tradition in Canada, a land plentifully represented by: wordsmiths & tunesmiths, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young; by jazz pianist/composer Oscar Peterson; classical composer Marjan Mozetich; in theatre and opera – beautiful voices of Teresa Stratas, Richard Verreau, Léopold Simoneau; and other sublime standard-bearers.
 
Allison Crowe’s singularity carries her across the globe and into such company as the Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Britain’s Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, and dates with Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Thrilling, fun, and moving, the Nanaimo, BC-born musician traverses Europe and North America from home-base in Corner Brook, Newfoundland earning hoorays even from Hollywood where appreciative movie Director Zack Snyder invited her to cameo in the latest Superman blockbuster.
 
Coming soon Allison Crowe releases “16 Songs” a video album reimagining century-spanning film, three decades of songwriting, and a dozen albums of modern music. Renowned for gorgeous, often ground-breaking, interpretations of Mitchell, Cohen, The Beatles, Pearl Jam +, Crowe’s set-list here is radiantly international, mixing original tunes (Disease, Circular Reasoning, Double-Edged Swords +) with covers of: Annie Lennox & Eurythmics, Radiohead, Tori Amos, Elton John & Bernie Taupin, Matthew Good, Hunters and Collectors.
 

"16 Songs" Video Album from Allison Crowe Coming Soon
 
We’ve recently witnessed novel approaches to twinning of music and video releases in the American mainstream. In December 2013, pop superstar Beyoncé paired a video with each of her album’s 14 new song tracks adding three bonus music videos all as part of the “Beyoncé” album physical release. Partial clips of the vids were posted online upon the album’s surprise launch.
 
This Summer “Weird Al” Yankovic built upon the model of his 2011 “Alpocalypse” album. For his July 2014 release, “Mandatory Fun”, pop music’s über-parodist-satirist-accordionist amped awareness by production-partnering with an array of web portals to release eight videos online the same week his album’s 12 music tracks became available.
 
Allison Crowe’s music videos for most of this millennium comprise, either, documentary, live-in-performance, films (eg. the hugely popular “Tidings” series from director Alex Postowoi’s cinéma vérité crew), or, audio recordings with ‘still’ images. The exceptions – a pair of music videos in narrative style - were both made in 2003: “Midnight” (also directed by Steadiman’s Postowoi), and “Scared” (from the transmission2media duo of Angela Kendall and Brian Dutkewich – known for their later work with musical twins Tegan and Sara).
 
Starting with 2011’s luminous “Arthur” – a song exploring love, memory and aging – Crowe’s videos also marry her song recordings with vintage footage from home-movies, silent films and classics of Georges Méliès, Dimitri Kirsanoff, Nadia Sibirskaia, Salvador Dali, Dominique Monfréy, Josef von Sternberg, D.W. Griffith plus other pioneers and visionaries of cinema (impressionists, surrealists, Dadaists, avant gardists, pop-artists+).
 
“The strange thing about cinema, and this would go for television film, is that no one really knows why music is needed. I would say after a lifetime in it I could not tell you why. But it is not complete without it… As a matter-of-fact, I may be bold enough to say that with very few exceptions, a piece of film, or a film cannot come to life without the help of music of some kind,” reflected composer Bernard Herrmann, a frequent collaborator with film director Alfred Hitchcock.
 
The “Master of Suspense”, Hitch himself, observed: “Art is emotion.”
 
16 Songs” is an artful collection of Allison Crowe musical works with visuals from great creators and innovators - film-makers, animators, painters, photographers: Fernand Léger, Jean Vigo, Buster Keaton, Dave Fleischer & Max Fleischer, Edwin S. Porter, Man Ray, Hans Richter, Marcel Duchamp, Alexander Calder, Winsor McCay, Augusto Genina, René Clair & Georg W. Pabst. Iconic images and figures - Louise Brooks, Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman, Michel Simon, Dita Parlo, Jean Dasté, and Kiki de Montparnasse - populate the video album playlist.
 
“Oh, this is wonderful, it really is,” says Slovenia’s Milka of an advance screening, “I love it.” The art-aficionado from Izola comments: “It is marvellous amalgamation of Allison's voice and movie's poetry. Both benefit from each other and give a viewer another dimension for song's interpretation. While the movie, not known to me, suddenly takes me to place where one never ages. Love it.”
 

Curtains rise on Allison Crowe’s “16 Songs” video album daily from the New Moon of September 23 to the Full Moon of October 8, 2014. Visit your favourite online video portal to know how it feels.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Happy (early) 80th Birthday, Leonard Cohen!!

The Real Rick Rutt” ‏@RickRutt  tweets: Sunday, Sept 21, will be Leonard Cohen's 80th birthday + This song has entranced me for decades. Here is #LeonardCohen80's fellow Canadian Allison Crowe's 2004 "Jeanne d'Arc"


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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Why + L'Atalante - Special Screening

Now Showing: Special Screening of “Why + L’Atalante” – one in the series of Allison Crowe’s “16 Songs" video album slated for wide release this month.

In advance of the reel unveiling in sequence, the curtain rises on Allison’s IMDb player – with showings in SD, 480 and HD quality (adjustable settings on the left side of screen):

Famous in its original, glorious, pop incarnation by singer-songwriter Annie Lennox, "Why" is a song recast here by Allison Crowe's elemental voice and guitar.

video

"Art is emotion" observed Alfred Hitchcock, and the Canadian musician's singular way of communicating emotion makes her one of the great interpreters in popular music today as well as one of our finest modern songwriters and concert performers.

Strings on this version are gorgeously arranged and orchestrated by Hollywood film-scorer Kayla Schmah - herself an artist inspired by the themes and ideas of Hitch's frequent collaborator, the brilliant, pioneering, composer Bernard Herrmann.

“This song is stunning. I can't stop listening to it,” says Dartmouth-based dancer, Julie Dumont, “it makes me want to cry and dance all at the same time”.

The music's visually paired with an excerpt from Jean Vigo's marvellous cinema masterpiece - "L'Atalante" (1934).

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Sing Out! In Our Global Village

The Leonard Cohen Files’ now lists 567 different cover versions of Leonard Cohen’s much-loved “Hallelujah” – recordings made in dozens of countries and numerous languages: http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/coverlist.php 
Hallelujah” is a popular song we’ve been able to widely and directly witness become a standard – as this process has occurred during, and, in part, thanks to, this age of the internet reaching near-ubiquity.
The global expanse of songs such as The Beatles’ “Yesterday”, (with some 3000 interpretations on record), and Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”, (nearing 1000 covers at latest count - http://jonimitchell.com/music/covers-most.cfm ), and most other tunes which have become standards in the canons of pop and rock – and many more in folk, jazz and other genres – has, largely, been a phenomenon experienced offline (and these songs grew into universal favourites not in our real-time view).
The introduction of “Hallelujah” to a mass audience – via such channels as 2001’s Hollywood hit animated film “Shrek” – has been augmented and amplified by the world wide web.
Music and video sites online enable songs to be shared around, enjoyed and learned – grassroots traditions of jam sessions, campfire sing-alongs, church choirs and other communal ways that music is transported, today can be propelled by the advance in technology (and digital devices, in hand, enable more people to make recordings).
Not only can people world-wide experience music more readily, and in greater richness and variety, than in pre-internet times, folks are now able to express what it all means to them and reflect back to the same giant community “so that all souls can see it”.
For myself, serving as manager to Allison Crowe, a musician creating in these exciting times, one of the profound pleasures now possible is regularly hearing how people are moved by music.
Reflections on Hallelujah” @ http://blog.farmgirlwrites.com/2014/06/reflections-on-hallelujah.html - posted by Washington, DC-based blogger, “Farmgirl Writes”, is the sort of thing that inspires appreciation and understanding of a song and our fellow beings.
And, (especially for those with more dexterity and musical talent or dedication to this course than I), there’s such sites as “Chordify” – which show how we can play the music we love - http://chordify.net/chords/allison-crowe-hallelujah-live-in-the-studio-adrian22
Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words” – a new book that’s exactly what its title promises – Joni’s voice heard through a trio of decades-spanning interviews with her friend, artist and journalist, Malka Marom - is released this week (officially, September 9, 2014).
Allan Showalter, aka DrHGuy, offers a typically entertaining and enlightening post in review @ http://1heckofaguy.com/2014/09/03/book-review-joni-mitchell-talks-about-growing-up-art-songwriting-love-and-leonard-cohen
I’ve mentioned this previously in a post to my own (Adrian’s personal facebook) page and – not unrelated to L. Cohen, the nature of popular songs, their interpretation and sharing – this book includes choice commentary.
"River... Joni Mitchell's whole album Blue is timeless," Allison remarked when she covered the uniquely ever-green song on her own album “Tidings” in 2004.
And “River”, like “Hallelujah”, has witnessed an accelerated cultural expanse and embrace in these digital media times. Currently, Bob Muller, the Grand Poobah of Covers at JoniMitchell.com, tracks 402 different versions of Mitchell’s song @ http://jonimitchell.com/music/covers-most.cfm
The song established itself steadily over the decades – with some 200 covers being made from the time of its release on “Blue” in 1971 to 2007. In these last seven years, the total number of “River” covers has doubled.
In this new book, the brilliant singer, songwriter, composer, painter+ tells her confidante and interviewer: “There was a funny article in the L.A. Times. The guy was ranting, ‘Why are all these people covering Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’? It’s overexposed.’ That’s what he said, and I thought, ‘This person has no concept of what a standard is. A standard is a good song enjoyed by many.’ A lot of singers wanted to sing it, and it kept the song alive.”
Malka asks: “How do you feel when people sing your songs, any song, or play it completely different, like with ‘normal’ chords, and different arrangements?”
Joni says: “I think it’s great, I feel honoured. I like the idea of songs being sung. I like the idea that people who can’t even sing are singing them...” 

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Sunday, September 07, 2014

It's a bird, it's a plane... it's Allison Crowe

Krypton Chronicle’s Rennie Cowan today posts to DailyMotion her interview with Allison Crowe from the red-carpet World Premiere of “Man of Steel” – which happened at New York City’s Lincoln Center in Summer 2013:
 
 
 
 
The chaotic fun of that adventure is well-captured in Rennie’s clip.
 
The genuine kindness and support of Hollywood film director Zack Snyder, producer Deborah Snyder, their super-professional team, and the many good folks we met at every stage, still lifts us up! Up! And away! 

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

16 Songs - Video Album

We now know the song listing for Allison Crowe’s upcoming 16 Songs music video series:

Disease
Why
Circular Reasoning
Creep
There Is
Doughnut Song
Running
Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
Spiral
Sweet Dreams
Effortless
Josephine
Double-Edged Swords
Running for Home
Alive and Breathing
Throw Your Arms Around Me



This new music video series launches September 9, 2014 (a shift from the September 2 date originally announced).

A magical mystery tour of music with visuals from great artists and innovators of the 20th and 21st centuries - film-makers, animators, painters, photographers and more… - it’s a multi-media expression of the artist’s mission to make "Soulful. Alive. Joyous. Grievous. Real, true, music." ( http://allisoncrowe.com/bio.html )

 This 16 song video album pairs Allison’s originals with some singular interpretations - underscoring an observation of Allan Showalter, aka DrHGuy, delightful chronicler “On Life, Love, Lust, & Leonard Cohen” – “Once you’ve heard one Allison Crowe song, You’ve heard one Allison Crowe song." ( http://1heckofaguy.com/2009/01/27/wedding-song-allison-crowes-small-masterwork )

It’s a season of cryptic crosswords and other, puzzling, fun. Here, now, are 16 visual clues – screenshots from each of the videos in the series. Some you may recognize, some you may not have seen before…

Imagine which goes with which song in the set-list – this September details will be revealed, and matches will be made.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

GMTF Company Makes a Splash for ALS Challenge

“The Gros Morne Theatre Festival was nominated for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge - and here's our video!” taps Allison Crowe from the festival’s home-base in western Newfoundland. “We nominate Rising Tide Theatre and Donna Butt, Sarah McDonald, Kevin Perdue, Brian Ball, Natalie Tsang and Vickie Marston!!!” GMTF 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh9UGoy7gPQ “Go to - http://www.ALS.CA/ICEBUCKETCHALLENGE - to donate!”


Earlier in the day, Denise Dolliver, GMTF Production/Company Manager enjoyed a solo dousing - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jkyjsG7GIQ – and this Atlantic participaction flowed yesterday with a challenge from Gaylene Buckle, Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador’s GM.

ALS (aka Lou Gehrig's Disease) is a progressive neuromuscular disease in which nerve cells die and leave voluntary muscles paralyzed. This Summer’s Ice Bucket Challenge has focused worldwide goodwill on awareness-and-fund-raising for this cause. ALS Canada has the scoop @ http://www.als.ca/ in, both, our nation’s official languages - English and French.

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