Jubiliant Sykes‘ most recent record release is a recording of Aaron Copland’s “Old American Songs,” juxtaposed with a series of spirituals.
It’s About The Sound
From his Grammy Award-nominated performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” to a YouTube recording of him singing of a Beatles song, Sykes is a prolific artist with complex appeal.
“We actually got to record in Abbey Road Studio. Yes, it was the place where the Beatles did some of their greatest work and there’s quite a bit of memorabilia, but the really important thing is the sound. We recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra. It sounded so great, it was inspiring.”
Copland, An Indiana Performance Note
Since the 1950s, Aaron Copland’s “Old American Songs” have been popular concert fare. In the summer of 2010 the Kokomo Children’s Choir featured one of the songs at their summer concert in the park.
“They are popular,” Sykes assents. “Even though there are many other arrangements of folk songs, Copland’s settings are what make these special. Even though he’s working with very simple tunes, he’s got that Copland sound. It isn’t something that’s easy to describe, but it is one of those things that you recognize when you hear.”
“I think that Copland’s songs are also successful because he made good choices. ‘I Bought Me a Cat’ is a cute patter song. ‘Boatman’ has that virile American swagger. ‘All the Pretty Little Horses’ is a lovely lullaby. Each of the others has its strong points. And of course, there’s ‘Simple Gifts.'”
Jubilant Sykes Sings Copland and Spirituals is WFIU’s featured album of the week for January 10-15, 2011.