“There are a lot of weird parts to composing in solitude. Sometimes I’ll be on the subway reading the lines over and over again, and something clicks. Then I’ll go into a room where I’m teaching a kid ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and one lyric suddenly makes more sense. That kind of space and solitude I’m writing about is sort of a fantasy.”Read More
Reality is rarely compartmentalized into the rigid structure of a three-minute pop song. Recalling the full beauty of a painting or a landscape can’t be related without losing the finer details. Longer compositions, it seems, make for music that’s most representative of mother nature.
Kakitani’s chosen medium is big band, and how better to convey nature’s complexities than with a 20-person band? Unlike many prodigious jazzers, Kakitani wasn’t heading down this path from age 18 and on. True, she became infatuated with hard bebop around this age, but nevertheless toiled around different genres before landing at Berklee School of Music at age 26.
The only thing richer than Chou’s current discography is the way in which it is growing. Her current work-in-progress, Comfort Girl, will focus on the unsettling history of Chinese “comfort women” during World War II. In Chou’s own words: “The show will be a musical exploration—in song and story—of the lives of Chinese ‘comfort women’ who were abducted into sexual slavery by the Japanese army during WWII. The work will be a tribute to these young women’s incandescent courage and indomitable spirit, not only while in captivity during the War, but also—in a cruel irony—when they returned home to their families, who didn’t always welcome them back with open arms.” A bold task. But, given Chou’s uncanny ability to meld artistic styles, who could be better suited? The piece will premiere next year at the China Institute in America, in downtown New York. Teresa Teng would not only be proud, she’d likely get a little jealous.Read More