Posts Tagged ‘Edgar Allen Poe’
Yasmine Tamara is one of the greatest voices I discovered that the Montreux Jazz Festival although she never took the stage. I met this pleasant and hospitable woman as I raced off the Miles Davis Hall, before the doors got closed and the show began. Claude Nobs, the Founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival gave explicit instructions to anyone in the front row that they must be present and seated before the concert begins, or bad luck – wait outside til the artist takes a break. CLAUDE’s HOUSE RULES!
When I was introduced to Tamara I think I was on my way to see Simply Red. Although I heard that she was an artist I met her as a woman – a mother, who had been at home tending to her children afflicted with chicken pox all week long. She was naturally beautiful and there was a casual elegance to her that evades much of the Swiss I met on this trip. When she reached out her hand to shake mine and delivered the three polite kisses of the French, you felt substance to her. There was a bonding of kindred sympathies and her warmth and kindness shown through her and reached me.
I put her CD in my briefcase and on return to Sydney played it in my office for the first time. I listened. My staff listened. Each of us choosing a favorite song for one reason or another. In my search to actually see her belt out a song, I came across this video. The editing is such that we do not get to see her complete any of the songs however I relished at getting to watch the beginning of what is my personal favorite song off the Auguries of Innocence album, Annabel Lee. Annabel Lee is a famous poem written by Edgar Allen Poe of lost love. Legend states that Ms Lee was the last woman Poe is reputed to have loved before his death. She could be a fictional character because Poe was delirious in the days just before his demise in 1849. I love that poetry leaves us with mysteries and a story of great love and separation. You will recognize the first stanza as the last few seconds of what Yasmine Tamara delivers video.
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
Tell me your first reactions on Annabel Lee.
Got a favorite poem or new artist? Share it with me and leave me a comment, please.
Poetry has been recently repurposed by one of Europe’s best kept secrets. She’s much nicer than Tina Arena although you would swear by the voices they are related. On my recent visit to Montreux Jazz Festival I had the inherent pleasure of meeting Yasmine Tamara, a songstress whose work today inspires me. Her new album, titled Auguries of Innocence: Book of Poetry is a rare gem. Yasmine Tamara’s executive producer who also happens to be her husband and keyboard maestro Peter G. Rebeiz, wrote a very entertaining and philosophical forward to the album that gives explanation of to the audio feast that unfolds with every song. For those curious enough to research the album, do read the insert booklet – it gives amazing depth the work.
In short, the famous Balik Farm in the Swiss Alps where the album was recorded was purchased from a fine German stage director named Hans Gerd Kubel. Hans sold the house to Peter Rebeiz with some of his famous library of poetry in situ under the proviso that Peter keep the books and the library as they were. Peter wanted one day to move the volumes of poetry and literature to a place of storage to which Hans Kubel refused. Kubel told Peter that a little poetry would not hurt him, and then quoted Goethe – one of Kubel’s favorite German poets.
“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that order that worldly cares do not obliterate the sense of the beautiful that God has implanted in the human soul.” (Goethe)
Kubel further mused that perhaps he could one day return to the farm, and do read a selection of the work with Peter accompanying him on the piano and the music recorded in the recording studio that Rebeiz had purposed to build on the property. Sadly, he died a few months later after the proclamation of intention and with him his dream of the melding of music and poetry at the beloved Balik Farm.
Several years later, Yasmine Tamara and her husband Peter were relaxing in the famous ‘library’ after a session in the now well established recording studio. She picked up one of Kubel’s precious books and began reading aloud. It was a poem entitled “Two Red Roses Across the Moon”, written by William Morris in 1858. To Yasmine Tamara, it sounded like a perfect song title for a blues number, and this was the beginning of the legendary album which I have been captivated by.
Cry of the Children is one very powerful track. Yasmine Tamara’s voice is powerful as she gives life to the the original work of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The music box intro gives a certain Tim Burton magic to what her voice delivers. You almost imagine Johnney Depp popping up somewhere, in depressed London browns and greys a bit dirty from the streets and the hardships of life in the Victorian era.
“Do you hear the children weeping, oh my brother
Ere the sorrow comes with year?
Leaning their young heads against their mothers
And Cannot stop – stop their tears.
They’re looking up with their pale and sunken faces
And their looks are sad to see
Leave us quiet in the dark of the coal shadows
Down the cheeks of infancy.”
The gospel choir on the chorus gives an even greater interpretation of this classic prose. You can taste a Georgia Sunday morning in the vocal mix and almost a trickle of sweat from the fifth pew of the Baptist church. It’s good. It’s really good.
This album is my first taste of Yasmine Tamara’s work and it has had five rotations (full album plays) in the five days. The life she breathes into the work of some of my favourite poets is delightful. The musical scores and instrumentals (violins, ripping guitars and the nuances of arrangement) get more interesting every time I listen again.
What are your thoughts on her work?
Please leave me a comment or message. I will answer/respond.