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Bob Telson: I’m Calling You

When I first heard this song and saw this movie, I was maybe 10 years old, and lived in the middle of nowhere:  a rural part of the third world country Brazil, where culture was really hard to come by. I managed to lay my hands on a pirate copy of this movie and the video looped for days on our newly acquired VHS machine. What a song, what a desert, what a beautiful story. Had I ever heard a voice like that ? NO.  It is one of those things I will never forget.

“I’m Calling you” (From the movie Badgad Cafe)

Song of the Day: February 2

SusanBottiThis week our SoTD curator is composer Susan Botti who will host and curate the second installment of NYFOS Next 2016 on Febuary 11th alongside fellow Manhattan School of Music faculty member, Richard Danielpour. Botti is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Rome Prize. Orchestral commissions include works for the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. In addition to performing her own vocal works, she specializes in the vocal performance of contemporary music by a diverse range of composers. Thank you, Susan!

Calling You by Bob Telson (Baghdad Cafe) (1987)

This song has an essential-ness about it. Nothing extraneous. It sounds of the desert, and the wind. It haunted me after I saw it in Baghdad Cafe (as sung by Jevetta Steele)… and then surprisingly, I heard Lorraine Hunt Lieberson sing it as an encore in a (beautiful) recital, and the song became even more resonant to me. A great song transports the singer and the listener. Lorraine was and is a great inspiration to me. I treasure the memory of her singing this song that night, and am so grateful it was captured.

Here is the original version from Baghdad Cafe sung by Jevetta Steele:

Here’s some more Bob Telson…
One of my favorite singing experiences was being a part of the Gospel Choir at Berklee College of Music. I was in awe of the soloists and the way they embodied the music. Musical structures connect with message and words, and become a point of departure for improvisation and virtuosic vocal expression. It was a thrill to just ride the musical waves in the supporting ensemble. The Gospel at Colonus (which I saw at BAM’s Next Wave Festival) added the dimension of Greek theater to the mix – soul-stirring…

from The Gospel at Colonus – Bob Telson/Lee Breuer (1985):
How Shall I see you Through My Tears?
(sung by Jevetta Steele)

Stop, Do Not Go On (The Blind Boys of Alabama)

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