The last two years have been full of change. So many things to adapt to and decisions to make about how to proceed, how The 78 Project can contribute something new. Since the excitement of our movie tour, we have taken time to be quiet and patient. But while we’ve been regrouping, our travels have continued. We’ve had fascinating opportunities to cut records and connect with performers, generations of students and faculty and new audiences at fun and inspiring events.
One such trip was to The University of Pennsylvania to record with the Penn Arab Music Ensemble Trio: Hanna Khoury, Hafez Kotain, and Kinan Abou-afach. We were all there to speak to and record for the wonderfully engaged students of the Recording Music: Theory & Methods course.
The trio chose “Lamma Bada Yatathanna”, an ancient muwashshah, for their first side. The haunting melody rendered on Hanna’s violin felt like an invitation to follow the song through it’s long history. And as the Presto’s needle neared the center of the acetate, an urgency overtook the performance as well. After, Hanna said that when they perform “Lamma Bada Yatathanna”, they usually up the tempo near the end. But the fact that 3 minutes were fast approaching might also have had something to do with it.
“El Helwa Di” is a song by the renowned Egyptian composer Sayed Darwish. His music embodies both the traditional and the groundbreaking of his time, which makes this the perfect choice for The Penn Arab Music Ensemble Trio’s flipside, a recording that fuses past and present together in a moment.
Recorded November 16, 2016 at The University of Pennsylvania Department of Music.
Special thanks to Eugene Lew for inviting us. It’s been our honor to meet so many current and future documentarians, musicologists and recording engineers.
On a warm morning in Memphis, during our Southern Road Trip, we met Star & Micey in St. Mary’s Cathedral. They started the day with this sweet and haunting version of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, and as the days warm up and we start this summer, we’re excited to share it with you.
We think about this performance often, the beauty of the sound and the setting, the way loneliness can be soothed by singing. So it was a joy to include it in the bonus materials included with The 78 Project Movie. And to share even more of this immense journey with you.
Star & Micey – “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”
Shot on the road in Memphis, TN September 4, 2012
Thank you again to the city of Memphis and all of our dear friends there.
We’ve been quiet this winter, planning for the road ahead, and pausing momentarily to take in all the beauty of the last two years. They have been eventful and exciting, and full of singular moments like this one.
This video and acetate by Craig Finn were shot and recorded at our joyful homecoming screening at IFC Center in New York City last June. He closed out the night with his distinctive interpretation of “The Ballad of Jesse James.”
Craig told us all how he had been drawn to a particular phrase in the song – He’d a hand and a heart and a brain – and when he sang it that night, that phrase summed up the spirit of the song perfectly: the danger of the life of an outlaw and the love of a lost hero.
Craig Finn – “The Ballad of Jesse James”
Shot at IFC Center in New York City, June 4, 2015
Thank you again to IFC Center for being our generous hosts.
Family is always on our minds this time of year, as it was for Sean Walsh of the National Reserve when we cut a record together at this year’s AES convention. Sean and Roy Williams joined us this Fall to record our last 78 of 2015, choosing the hymn “Farther Along” to honor a beloved family member of Sean’s.
We hope yore having a warm and happy Holiday Season with your family close at hand and at heart.
We were the grateful guests of Rough Trade in Brooklyn this past Record Store Day, assembling in the afternoon with Sondre Lerche and his guitar in the store’s balcony to cut a record as part of their day-long celebration. In the din of a day of loud fun at Rough Trade, the folks who had gathered to watch Sondre record, stood perfectly still. He sang delicately, letting the space close in around him, the walls creep closer to listen. As we watched, we were taken in, the song became an urgent lullaby.
Sondre Lerche – “O Bli Hos Meg”
Shot at Rough Trade NYC, Brooklyn, NY, April 2015
Thank you again to our great friends at Rough Trade NYC. We’ll never stop singing your praises.
A new season breaks through and we are filled with the promise it brings. Exciting new music and screenings and big, big news are all ahead. The 78 Project this Spring is green with new growth. And we wanted to start by sharing with you a performance from our California trip, the sweet and wistful flipside to the beautiful acetate we cut with John Reilly and Tom Brosseau for The 78 Project Movie.
John Reilly & Tom Brosseau – “Single Girl, Married Girl”
Shot in Pasadena, CA, January, 2013
Recorded in Pasadena, CA, January, 2013
We love a gentle winter lullaby and a sweet, cheery carol, but sometimes your holidays just need a little holler. That’s why we wanted to share this recording from our nationwide theatrical release tour to screen The 78 Project Movie.
This September as we journeyed once again across the country, we made a stop in Little Rock, AR, where The Oxford American presented a screening of The 78 Project Movie in the beautiful CALS Ron Robinson Theater. Onstage after the screening, local musician Adam Faucett joined us to craft a very distinctive live 78. Adam wowed us all with his mighty voice, performing “Moonshiner” a capella. It’s a performance that remains as commanding on record as it was in the room.
Thank you again to Adam Faucett, our great friends at the Oxford American and everyone who came out to see the film screen in Little Rock.
We enjoy traveling immensely, whether it’s for filming or for screenings of the film. But there’s no place like home, and there’s no time to be there that is quite as warm as the winter. These last two weeks at home as the holidays have drawn closer, we’ve been thinking about all of that for which we’re deeply grateful. The opportunity to connect with you through music and film, in person and online, is the thing we find ourselves most thankful for this year.
Being at home also reminds us of the very first time The 78 Project Movie screened in our hometown of New York, and we wanted to share that happy memory with you this holiday weekend, by streaming the one-of-a kind acetate The Big Bright cut that night.
When we were fortunate to be invited to premiere our movie at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater this past August, we wanted to make it an unforgettable evening. But even with all our excitement and preparation, we couldn’t have dreamed how beautiful the night would turn out to be. That is thanks to the overwhelming support of our family, contributors, friends and fantastic New York filmgoers, and also because of the stunning recording by The Big Bright.
Without the need for amplification, the music was alive and sweet. The gentle harmonies of Fiona McBain and Liz Tormes and the sweet drone of Glenn Patscha’s pump organ lured us all closer, to the edges of seats, our senses piqued by the deep feeling of the performance. We were all hushed in our hope to drink in every part, every second, of those three minutes.
Thank you again to The Big Bright, our friends at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and everyone who came out to see the film screen in New York City for the very first time.