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The Hanslick Girls

"Three is company, safe and cheery" -Stephen Sondheim

Tag / grammy award winner

The Human Sound: Yo-Yo Ma & Silkroad Ensemble’s “Sing Me Home”

Gwen tended not to make New Year’s resolutions. “Why should the start of a calendar year be the one time we make self-improvements?” she always wondered, aloud, towards Dania and Eleanor.

 

Still, self-improvement has to happen sometime, and Gwen typically made her resolutions, if any, around her birthday. This year, along with specific goals for health and wellness, she also resolved to generally diversify the music she listened to while working. Jazz had been a staple since high school, but now –– she declared –– was the time to begin branching out. More classical music! She knew the composers but rarely sampled their work.

 

This was why, when Dania glanced over her shoulder one day, she saw not the typical music library pulled up the “JAZZ FOR STUDYING” playlist, but instead a YouTube video of an older, Chinese man playing the cello.

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Upright And In Focus: Esperanza Spalding’s “Esperanza”

January was not a time to listen to holiday music. Eleanor knew this, and she impulsively glanced around the room to make sure no one could hear through her headphones.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas…

The song had been stuck in her head all day at work –– one of those rough repetitions where she knew she just had to listen to the real song once to push the melody out of her system. It was a specific rendition of the carol, the one performed by John Legend on his just-released holiday album, and featuring the guest vocals (and, one presumed, bassline) of Esperanza Spalding.

Make the yuletide gay…from now on, our troubles will be miles…away…

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Shadow Folk: Alabama Shakes’ “Sound & Color”

Meet the Hanslick Girls: Gwen, Eleanor and Dania. Created by writer Zach Barr, they are a trio of friends who are always out experiencing the best of entertainment. Be it plays, films, concerts, exhibits, or games, they’ve learned that the arts are best when experienced together. They may not have the same opinions, but their conversations tend to make for an entertaining read. Recently, the Girls discussed “Sound & Color,” the 2015 genre-mixing album from blues rock band Alabama Shakes. Let’s listen in on their conversation…

 

Dania laid on her bed, headphones on, eyes closed. She was in a funk, and was attempting to de-funk herself the most effective way: music. American folk seemed the right pathway to follow, with the chill of Fall descending on the city – Gwen had already decked out the kitchen with decorative gourds. So Dania laid still, focusing her attention on the music of Alabama Shakes.

It had initially been a jarring experience. Following their début Boys & Girls, Dania had expected the more pure folk sound of that first album, which gave her the earworm “Hold On” in 2012. But the opening vibraphone sounds of Sound & Color‘s title track, immediately set an entirely new tone. What is this album? wondered Dania. It was calming, certainly. But it hadn’t been what she was expecting.

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