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    Ted Hearne – Katrina Ballads

    Ted Hearne - Katrina Ballads

    In August 2005, the costliest natural disaster in United States history battered New Orleans, Louisiana. Hurricane Katrina: 175 mph winds, failed levees, a submerged city, at least 1,836 dead and scores more left homeless. On the fifth anniversary of the catastrophe, Ted Hearne’s Katrina Ballads, a 70-minute cycle of 10 songs and two instrumental interludes, blows into town to offer a musical retrospective of the damage. Prominently featured is an odd combination of vibrato-laden, operatic singers belting out non-lyrical, direct quotes from survivors, relief workers, politicians, celebrities and news accounts of the disaster, and the Bush administration’s bungled response.

    The music itself ranges from dissonant chamber jazz, spry percolating minimalism, soaring gospel and catchy pop. Some unusual sounds offered up include obtuse bass clarinet melodies highlighted by damaged fuzz guitar, quiet free improv, a brief slice of all-out chamber rock, and trumpet blats that segue into an unfortunately brief, unsettling drone. During a couple of the most memorable vocal moments, Ted himself, a tenor, performs a hectic and humorous repetition of the line, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job!” that President Bush uttered to FEMA head Michael Brown; and some melancholy gospel singers intone the unforgettable Kanye West line, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” A half decade on, Katrina Ballads puts the disaster in poignant perspective.

    Label: New Amsterdam Records Catalog Number: NWAM011 Format: CD Packaging: Digi-Pak Tracks: 12 Total Time: 62:46 Country: United States Released: 2010 More: Amazon, New Music Box, Official, Phawker, Twitter

    Text ©2010 Arcane Candy

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