Sunday, August 4, 2013

Greenpot Bluepot: Joni Mitchell in an Opium Den

This weekend I've been attending a conference for the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). I've listened to various writers, agents, and editors speak on what they're looking for and what might possibly get one out of the slush pile. When sending material they advise a quick and specific log-line (one or two sentence description) that immediately gets the author's idea across. To wit: For a picture book manuscript I've written, an apt description might be a Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs meets a Fischer-Price Gabriel Garcia Marquez on a playground. I've been told it needs work but you get the idea.

In describing Natalie LeBrecht, AKA Greenpt Bluepot, you might say she's a Nico meets meets Indian
opera imagined by Mel Blanc (see 5 below) by way of Ellis Island (she's lived in both Williamsburg and the Lower East Side). Vocally and stylistically I hear some Jarboe and even a touch of Joni Mitchell in an opium den: Indianesque with a solid Western pulse and a voice way closer to Brooklyn than Mumbai (all right, opium is more China than India but I liked the way it sounded). She seems to hover between the sacred music and the profane sounds of Bollywood. She also favors traditional analog sounds (a big plus, I think) and though one could accuse her of a musical tourism, her music seems created out of a genuine affection and respect for the traditions she's appropriating. She also stakes a good amount of musical real estate that is refreshingly her own, and for this she earns a few gold stars. At best you could say she's attempting to shift boundaries, mix East and West, and expand a musical language in the process. Or maybe she just digs yoga and patchouli. Whatever: She's worth your attention.

She does get a little pitchy at times but her heart is in the right place.

On a side note: Recently I was visiting my neighborhood big pharma peddler (Rite Aid in this case), and noticed this on the shelf:

I have the great fortune to live in a progressive enclave in Westside Los Angeles. In this era of wars against women, pharmacists twisting gospel into denial of birth control, and a candidate for governor who promises to make oral sex a crime, it warms my heart to see the open sale of marital aids at my corner drug store.

And events like the one captured in LeBrecht's Royal Parade. Ah, to live in an open and free(ish) society. Dwellers of the two islands of civiliztion in the U.S. (NY and LA just to be clear), you are truly blessed. Be grateful and indulge. It's you right and duty.

Royal Parade from Greenpot Bluepot on Vimeo.

This one, a Gregorian anarchy:

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