Myra Davies

Cities & Girls

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Canadian spoken word artist Myra Davies is back with her new album CITIES & GIRLS, a fresh collection of witty stories. As with their MIASMA trilogy, Davies' stories have been set to music by Gudrun Gut, whose own solo album I Put A Records On came out last year, as well as Beate Bartel and the team of Danielle de Picciotto / Alexander Hacke - who provide the musical accompaniment on two tracks. Berlin Electronica is the warp in which Davies weaves reportage on global life in the early 21st century.
Cities and Girls are prevalent themes. "The city is our social heart and creative core" Davies says. That sounds odd coming from an artist who lives in The Rocky Mountains. "I see cities with fresh eyes," she says. "Look around. This is a great time for cities." And Girls? "I was a girl once myself. It's fun but not easy. Wherever I am, I tend to notice how girls are handling the challenge. My friend Sherry is a dead girl. She began haunting me in San Diego when I was first exposed to the new anti-abortion campaign." There are several dead people walking in this album. "It's good karma to give some air time to the past and gone."
The stories in the GIRLS & CITIES cd range widely in time and space. For the composers, the challenge was to find musical ideas that support specific story settings and also ground the track in the album as a whole.
As a taster to the new Myra Davies album, CITIES & GIRLS, we have a 4 track online only EP, THE GIRL SUITE, coming out in August 2008.
CITIES & GIRLS
The album opens with BURROUGH'S BUNKER, a tale of what can happen on a night out in New York City when you don't know your host is legendary New York poet John Giorno and you're hanging in William G Burrough's inner circle.
MY FRIEND SHERRY looks back to the early 60s. Pigtails, pop songs and no legal abortion; Gut and Davies use a 50s pop song format to tell a true story of how it was then and could be again. This is a powerful response to the campaign to limit women's right to legal abortions.
RAIN is an impressionist audio picture. It could be any city. In fact, it's Berlin.
STUFF is a comic riff on our attraction to Stuff and how to use landfills to resist it, with music by Danielle de Picciotto and Alexander Hacke (Einstürzende Neutbauten).
Beate Bartel (Mania D., Liasons Dangereuses) created the music for HANOI - a good place to hang and smell the coffee. Bartel's music features the evocative sound of a single string Vietnamese instrument, the Dan Bau.
QATAR is a slow groove track about Doha's lively City Centre Mall and the fabulous flowing fashions of the Qatari women who hang there.
DRILL puts a spin on the idea that a girl had best get herself a drill at the start or she'll be mewing for favours for life.
WORM. This cinematic trip starts with an earthworm; cut to horse's mouth, erotic suggestion, battleship, gay guy, Italian sailors, Jean Genet, Jeanne Moreau. Circle back to worm. Life's a cycle and the parts all work together.
The penultimate track, CALGARY, is a cover tribute to 2 pop artists who were hot in 1900. The poem is by Canadian/Mohawk performance poet, E Pauline Johnson (1861-1913). The melody is by American, Carrie Jacobs-Bond (1862 - 1946) who wrote hit songs. Today, Calgary (CA) is an oil capital and Europe's cities aren't what they were either. It's fun to hear how Pauline Johnson compared Calgary with European cities in 1900. (Source MIDI file used with permission of The Parlor Song Association http://parlorsongs.com/)
GOODBYE BELFAST speaks to our relationship to family history and the foreign land of grandparents. When that land is the 'Little Piece of Heaven' called Northern Ireland, going back to the roots was no fun-filled vacation. Gut's music includes strains of Irish immigrant pop songs from the early 20th century and old Irish melodies including The Last Rose of Summer, recorded by Kathleen Parlow in 1912. (Samples rights free from the Canadian Govt site, "Virtual Gramophone".)

Myra Davies: Cities & Girls

Burroughs' Bunker Myra Davies 4'20''
My Friend Sherry (Album Version) Myra Davies 4'14''
Rain Myra Davies 4'14''
Stuff Myra Davies 6'48''
Hanoi Myra Davies 4'06''
Qatar Myra Davies 5'11''
Drill (Album Version) Myra Davies 3'46''
Worm Myra Davies 5'31''
Calgary Myra Davies 2'54''
Goodbye Belfast Myra Davies 6'24''

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