I originally mentioned this here about a month or two ago – David Byrne and Fatboy Slim have collaborated on a new project called Here Lies Love. “Songs from Here Lies Love presents Imelda Marcos meditating on events in her life, from her childhood spent in poverty and her rise to power to her ultimate departure from the palace. In particular, the production looks at the relationship between Imelda and a servant from her childhood, Estrella Cumpas, who appeared at key moments in Imelda’s life.”
Rather than choosing singers to play specific roles, each track has a different lead vocalist – including Florence Welch, St. Vincent, Tori Amos, Martha Wainwright, Steve Earle, Cyndi Lauper, Kate Pierson, Natalie Merchant, Santigold and “many more.” The complete work was performed live at Carnegie Hall in NYC and at the Adelaide Bank Festival of the Arts just 10 days ago.
Scheduled for release on April 6th, the album leaked to the internet and I’ve been listening to it this afternoon. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this but was hoping that it wouldn’t be another Evita and on first listen, I quite like it (though I confess I haven’t been paying close attention to the lyrics). Musically, the melodies remind me of past Byrne songs, some Latina percussion and other world music accents and it sounds like Fatboy Slim brought some dance beats and production expertise to this. It’s definitely musically strong but of course Imelda remains a controversial figure to this day and I suppose many peoples’ reactions to this project will stem from their feelings about her.
You can view one of the album’s videos over at Boing Boing – “Please Don’t” features vocals by Santigold and the video consists entirely of archival news footage, mostly Imelda meeting with and charming world leaders from Nixon to Mao. (I showed the video to my helper and asked her if she would give it a thumbs up or down and she said she’s “in the middle.”)
The album will be available in several configurations, both atoms and bits. I’m happy enough with what I’m hearing to want the super mega deluxe version that includes 2 CDs, a DVD of the six videos and a 120 page hardcover book. View the order page on David Byrne’s web site here. (You can also stream 30 second excerpts of all the songs there.)