Music as we don't know it..

What if "The Eagles" or "Fleetwood Mac" were not a small group but a crowd of 50.. and if "Desperado" and "Rhiannon" were recorded in a school auditorium and not in a recording studio...? if you can take this and never mind all the imperfections and lack of sound quality resulting from the above arrangement, but care only for the raw energy a group performance can deliver, this is for you..

The first time I heard a song from "Innocence & Despair" by "The Langley Schools Music Project" was about an year ago, while I was experimenting with the then newly discovered "Pandora". The song was too different to ignore... a group of school children performing "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond. There was something about the song that was so captivating. It also brought to mind memories of school days, when we used to sing songs together during the Music hour.. the fun and pleasure of singing at the top of your voice. The outcome always used to be great, with all the odd sounds nullifying each other (perhaps) resulting in a perfect rendering. I always liked the feeling of listening to a chorus with so many overtones, quite distinct from one another and this one song suddenly brought all that back to the present. You can hear 'Sweet Caroline' here.

"Innocence & Despair" is the result of some experimental work done by a music teacher, Hans Fenger, who taught music in the Langley school in British Columbia. Occasionally he would record his students in the school gymnasium...elaborate affairs involving more than 60 kids per session...performing their favorite 60s and 70s hits as if they never heard the originals..!! These recordings were never done for commercial purpose and you can feel the elementary school kids singing their heart out, in each of the songs. You can here some of the tracks here:

There is something eerie about these renderings that can make you uneasy at times.. probably because music at its purest form, devoid of any studio gimmicks can be quite touching. Inspite of the poor sound quality, you will notice the sweetness of "Sweet Caroline" and the melancholy of "Desperado".

If you beleive that there is music beyond six track recording and electronic loops, if you want to experience the overpowering energy of a chorus, this is one record worth trying..!! Evenif the songs are out of key at places, and the beats go out of synch occassionaly, who cares.. its music and its bliss..!!

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