Monday, October 24

Cuttings 28 - 'The Voice' documentary

This programme was on TV a while ago. Very useful, touching on all different genres and singers..


-JAZZ singers - voice as an instrument in the band - discipline, understanding, technique.
-Every artist has a unique way of making a song come alive.
-Ella Fitzgerald - ease of sound, variations on a theme, always enjoying.
-Sarah Vaugh - tone, range, 'the sound created itself and in the performance there was this incredible richness'.
-Billie Holiday - 'very little voice, it has no power, she is the power. When you hear Billie you hear crying.'
-Bono on Billie Holiday: 'she sings for her life; to stay alive'
-Tony Bennett on Billie Holiday: 'What is really the sucess as a singer - when you listen to her you conjure up the honesty of her singing; she allowed herself to be herself, and she sang so that you understood her and understood her people and what they went through and what they are going through - you are listening to someone who has lived and now her wisdom comes through naturally.'
-K.D. Lang on Billie Holiday: 'It isn't a great voice - but its truth - its about unadulterated truth; cutting yourself open and letting it out.'

-OPERA singers - must learn how to fill an opera house with sound as well as project emotion through their voices. Refer to them as 'athletes'; rigorous training.
-The mystery: 2 larynxes looking exactly the same, one can make a beautiful sound and the other can't. Why?
-Maria Callas - 'an inate sadness in her voice that never fails to touch'. Sorry, but this is the same time talking about technique and then saying that what gives the opera singer the edge is something 'inate' and natural?
-Pavarotti on Calls: 'She reached the maximum, with an interpretation not just of a singer but of an actress - meticulous.' So.... Opera singers as actors.. is the emotion they project 'acted' then?
-'It depended on her [Callas] emotionas - she used her heart break to break your heart' - soooo... there IS genuine and personal emotion involved somehow..
-Music as an outlet; cathartic. 'Intense need to get things out; to be expressive'.

-CHANSON singers. Edith Piaf - gutteral voice - not conventionally pretty sound - an honesty came across. 'whatever it is thats paining her its really paining her, its not something that she read in a book!'
-'A street singer - taking it away from the art scene and bringing it into the throaty humane voice'
-'There's a vulnerability - you don't need to know her personal life to understand or hear it - its just there' (..interesting)
-K.D. Lang on Piaf 'A combination of the aura and the physical and the personality and the delivery - managed to convey supremely the rawness of her own emotion.'

SOUL singers - Aretha Franklin. 'Something takes over, its hard to define it'
-'Her voice sounds like an angel' 'spiritual - gospel'
-Chaka Khan on Aretha Franklin: 'gives you goosebumps - the real in her, the honesty, the naked, raw, beauty.'
-Bjork on Aretha Franklin: 'incredible passionate perons and incredible pwerful vocal chords' 'its mroe than just singing. the songs are a tool to get where you aim to get.' [Aretha's 'Respect' promoted both feminism and anti-racism]

-An opera singer explined: Too often in young singers these days the entire message is 'I can sing'. They need to show who they are 'If you don't let me in, I'm not moved'.
-'The thing thats so special about this instrument is that its a human being. Its IN us, its part of us. My voice is who I am, its completely distinctive from everyone else's voice, thats why its the most unique instrument in the world!'

And a final idea that was introduced that I really really like:

-The voice is divided into three components:

Head - the musicality, the invention
Throat - the instrument that conveys it
Heart - the emotion that thrives it