Kicking off our celebration of National Poetry Month: Stars Songs Faces

Aha! I have a plan for National Poetry Month.

You might think we’d need do nothing but what we usually do — after all, we’re always celebrating poetry here. We have over 600 pieces you can find in our archives, performances that combine words (mostly poetry) with original music we compose and record ourselves. But here was my problem as April arrived: time to compose new pieces is inconsistently available.

So, I’m going to lean on that collection of pieces we’ve done and make this also a celebration of what the Parlando Project has done over this past 6 years. My plan is to regularly repost pieces from the first half of our history this April. For many of you who joined this Project already in progress these may well be pieces you haven’t heard, but an additional goal is to introduce new listeners to these audio performances.

Why do that? Readership of this blog, originally intended as brief “show notes” for the audio pieces, has grown tremendously over the past year, but the audience for the musical presentations has increased only by a small amount over the same time. I’m hoping to capture more ears for those performances and the poets whose work we interpret, sometimes in surprising ways.

To gather more ears I’m going to be making new low-budget YouTube videos for these classic pieces, mostly just “lyric videos” that display the poet’s words we are presenting. Most new people find us via search engines, and my wild guess is that putting things in front of YouTube searchers may bring more listeners and readers.

To begin this series? Why not use the first piece from this project’s official public launch in 2016: Carl Sandburg’s “Stars Songs Faces.”   Speaking of strange, The LYL Band performed this on January 11th 2016, the day after David Bowie died. Carl Sandburg didn’t have the opportunity to prepare a eulogy for Bowie, since that American poet died in 1967, but back in 1920 he wrote this short evocative poem that we used for the words in this performance. Spookily, Sandburg’s poem presented this way makes it seem like he did write a eulogy for Bowie. And to eerily evoke that short time when both Sandburg and Bowie were extant, the music makes use of one of The Sixties most distinctive sounds: the wobbly Mellotron that could sound like a string section whose batteries were running down.

Sandburg-Bowie

“What will I be believing, and who will connect me with love?” The young Swedish-American and the star with songs and faces.

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Here’s a link to that simple YouTube lyric video. And here’s a link to just the audio performance if you’d like to rest your eyes. And finally, some of you will see our traditional audio player gadget below, another way to just play the audio.

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