Shakespeareal Perversity.

This is a piece written on a dare to share with some folks in the Boston area who are well acquainted with David Mamet. There was a good reason why it involved Othello, but that reason has been lost to the sands of time.

Sexual Perversity and Iago

All I know is, if it weren’t for actor Nick Newell, this little scene wouldn’t exist. For that, I think him.

Posted: January 23rd, 2010
Categories: parody, plays
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Suo Gan.

Another song, this arranged and performed by the lovely singer/songwriter Tamara Dearing, one of our regular actors. (And we’re very lucky to have her.)

This is an adaptation of an old Welsh lullaby, Suo Gan, which has become something of a Christmas song for no apparent reason. It may be most famous from Christian Bale lip-synching it in Empire of the Sun.

We used it as part of our reading of A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. It fit nicely at the end, where he’s tucked in bed and going to sleep. Because the lyrics had little to do with Christmas–and because no one seems to sing a true translation of the original Welsh anyway–I wrote a new, simple verse to fit the holiday a little more closely. It starts with the original first lines in Welsh. I gave it to Tamara, said “do what you will with it.”

Tamara, being Tamara, decided to learn the actual Welsh, create a soundscape of voices and then bring in the new verse as a harmony on top of everything. Every element you hear in this track is Tamara, from the voices to the instrumentation. Needless to say, this blew everyone away…

Tamara Dearing – Suo Gan

Suo Gan English lyric by David J. Loehr

Huna blentyn yn fy mynwes
hee-na blen-TIN ar-va MON-wez
Clyd a chynnes ydyw hon
kleed a han-NESS ah-DYOO han
Sleep, my angel, I will hold you,
I will keep you safe from harm

Like the angel told the shepherds,
Like the kings who saw the star,
Like the baby in His manger,
I will love you, forever more.

Creative Commons License

Suo Gan by Tamara Dearing is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.tamaradearing.com.

Posted: January 22nd, 2010
Categories: music, songwriting, the process
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A first post and a song.

It’s long overdue, but I’m finally blogging about creative work again. And since “share your music day” is as good a reason as any, thanks to Dave Charest and Sterling Lynch, here’s a song I wrote a while back, When I Needed You.

This is from my play, The Rough Guide to the Underworld, which we produced at home in 2006 and in D.C. in 2009. (The website is from the D.C. production, which was rewritten from top to bottom.) One of the characters wandering this version of the Underworld is a troubadour with amnesia. All of his “original” songs are covers. Except this one at the end of the play, when he finally remembers…

Since part of the point here is to share “the process,” here’s how it came to be. I’d had the first three lines and the first chorus–and of course, the melody–in my head for a few years, but the song never wanted to finish itself. I didn’t know where the melody had come from or why these lyrics stuck to it. When I realized I needed a song for the Underworld–and when I knew who and what it was about–the rest of the words and the bridge melody came in about ten minutes. If you’ve read or seen the play, you’ll know the story. If not, then maybe if you’re up on your classical stories, you may be able to guess who he really is.

I’ve included two versions, performed by my theatre partner Jim Stark, who originated the role. The one was recorded live in performance in 2006, the other is a demo (recorded via iPhone) in 2009. The demo has one flub, but the guitar part is so much more developed. (What’s astounding is, in the demo, he’s working from memory.) But I wanted to include the original performance for the moment at the end of the last verse that always hits me like an anvil in the chest…still does…

Jim Stark – When I Needed You (2009 demo)

Jim Stark – When I Needed You (2006 in performance)

When I Needed You — music and lyrics © 2006 by David J. Loehr

In darkest night, you were the light
At the end of the tunnel, burning bright,
There you were, when I needed you.
And with love begun, the risen sun
Paled in the glory of two made one,
There you were, when I needed you.

When I needed you, you were there for me,
Even when I did not always want you to be,
But there were times when I thought I’d do better alone,
Times when I’d rather have been on my own,
Times when I should have known
I needed you.

Now I realize, love never dies,
But once you were only behind my eyes,
There you were, when I needed you.

And that which falls away
At the end of the day
Is weight off my soul forever,
And that which remains,
It pains me to say, is you,
Only and ever

And at the last, present faded to past,
You were the one who was holding fast,
There you were, when I needed you.

When I needed you, you were there for me,
Even when I did not always know you to be,
But there were times when I thought I had nothing to learn,
Times when I wanted some bridges to burn,
Then I would have nowhere else to turn,
When I needed you.
I needed you.
I needed you.

Creative Commons License

When I Needed You by David J. Loehr is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.davidjloehr.com.

Posted: January 7th, 2010
Categories: music, songwriting, the process
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Comments: 6 Comments.