The Art Council of the Country of Denmark wonderfully granted funding to one of my all-time favorite guitarists, Copenhangen's Jakob Birch and I to meet for a few days and write and record a single track together in Spain, while I was living in Valencia during 2018.
I met Jakob some years ago while visiting the amazing violin player, Taylor Rankin, while he briefly lived in Denmark. Jakob is a guitar angel, melodically, rhythmically, conceptually. He is a major gift to musical precision and expression, and has been a light in my life! I love his clean sound, his thoughtful breath of phrase... and also his performative intensity! We'd last had the chance to collaborate in 2013 when I received a grant from Denmark (we've received two-- because the Scandinavian government, in my opinion, is amazing and understands the value of artists, international collaboration and education).
Just a month before Jakob and I were scheduled to collaborate, I experienced a type of life-changing emergency and was, honestly, rendered quite useless. Even being in the studio (my favorite place) felt nearly impossible. Despite the chronic condition, Jakob, whose ability to withstand intensity translates off the stage, as well, helped me expunge some of (what I think) are the most honest lyrics I've written... and together we crafted this song in a few days.
We were lucky to have the amazingly dispositioned, phenomenal producer Dave Bianchi roll in from Barcelona to meet us in Valencia, Spain and record at a studio. I freaking love Dave more than I can emote; please discover his production work at Whatabout Music, his label. He's recorded so many records, from artists around the world-- somehow inspiring everyone to feel so free in his studio, kind of miraculous.
I hope you take the chance to read the lyrics of this piece. They are an earnest expression about the personal losses and collective divides we may experience in our lifetimes, about the power of hope, the hope that a song, a creative notion, or an act of loving kindness might provide some type of revolution, even if just a self-revolution. This song is an homage to the power of sound and song, how it supports life process, transformation, and (even without "saving the world") invites us to practice a non-passive type of acceptance, a profound mountain to surmount.
*special thanks to the Danish Art Council for their support
After we left our life behind
after the home we built was broken
after political divide
I wanted a Song
to find the light
After the dark night came and cloaked us
when I was too shocked to focus
I wanted a Song
A kind of tone
to free the last 5-10 thousand years
after the marketing of fear
to reclaim we're strong
I wanted a song to save the world
I wanted the song to make you cry
I wanted your tears to clear the air
I wanted the song to purify.
After the wars, after the trials,
after we dodged the influences,
after regimes and exposed lies
played us like pawns
After we made our own safe space
after we built a mote, protection
but found inside us
violence lived on
I wanted a song
I wanted a song
to save the world
I wanted a song to change your mind
I know we've had problems of mankind
I know it seems a naive cure
I wanted the song that saves the world
I wanted the world to feel the sound
I know we've had distance from the start
I wanted the song to reach your heart.
After the moment you arrived
into the matrix of the design
you wailed out and cried
turned yourself on
with the power of
released June 26, 2019
Jakob Birch Sørensen-- guitars, drums, percussion, bass, keys
Leslie Helpert-- voice/lyrics
Dave Bianchi-- production