recently, i asked shara worden of
my brightest diamond
the way she feels music and art
this is how she responded.
I was just in New Orleans on tour and that city feels like art itself. I want to simultaneously hold the city in my arms, smile from ear to ear and burst into tears. I kept thinking of Bjork’s Olympic dress, and how if she could come to New Orleans like a mother hen and cover the whole city with her skirt, maybe the city would smile and feel a little better. It groans with sadness now. The buildings droop, the faces are drawn, the trees are sagging under the weight. I just hope they don’t turn it into Disneyland. That would be a great tragedy. The other tragedy would be if it is lost like Detroit. I took a lot of poloroids and felt so alive because there is so much story there. The possibility of art to do something, to bring life and hope seemed enormous. The possibility for beauty to conquer commercialism is great.
The show at the House of Blues was incredible. Songs like “Workhorse” with lyrics like “somewhere, sunshine burns a dark but common horse when he fell by the wayside, no one seemed to notice him” took on a new meaning in New Orleans. I was practically screaming the line “Bring me the workhorse.”
Art has the ability to bring community, to capture the valiant nature of the human spirit, to gather our hopes and while I don’t believe in using art for an agenda, there is great power in the force of art to change an environment. We look to art to bring a certain redemption, a revelation that is beyond what we ourselves are capable of.
Some of my favorite artists include Bernd Preiml [above], Deth p. Sun, Sarah sze, Ginger geyer, and Ron Mueck. There is something very personal and yet grand about each of them. There is so much cynicism in both music and art right now, and that I find rather uninteresting. These artists have found a way to bypass that trend and explore universal ideas and are making completely unique, creative work. I am delighted and inspired by them!
My top 10 favorite songs are…
01. Henry Purcell :: Dido’s Lament
02. Jeff Buckley :: Grace
03. Nina Simone :: Wild is the Wind
04. Prince :: Sometimes it Snows in April
05. Tom Waits :: Dirt in the Ground
06. Baby Dee :: My Love Has Made A Fool of Me
07. Diane Cluck :: Wild Deer at Dawn
08. Regina Spektor :: Chemo Limo
09. Heatwave :: Always and Forever
10. A-ha :: Manhattan Skyline
I think these artists, most of whom were or are great singers, used their voices freely and in a deeply emotional way. I thought a lot about Nina Simone being in New Orleans and felt like singing a new version of “Mississippi Goddamn” but rewriting it for Louisiana! The corruption is enough to make a lady spit and curse.
[currently, my brightest diamond is supporting sufjan stevens on his fall us tour. shara worden is a brooklyn neighbor and good friend to sufjan appearing on recordings, touring over the years. her album *to bring the workhorse* appeared in august 2006 and already noted as one of the most beautiful releases of this year.]