Jon batiste fashion a soulful new ‘Atlantic war song’
The “war song of the republic” was a typical American invention, first appearing on the cover of the Atlantic monthly in February 1862. Now, The magazine’s committee Jon Batiste, effervescent pianist, tonic and educator, and cooperate with Stephen colbert’s The newest Show The band leader – has fundamentally shaped The song again.
His version will be the subject of a new podcast, Radio Atlantic, which includes the New Orleans street rhythms, Gospel calls and piano melodies. Batiste to be recorded on a grand piano prepared – in avatar studios use wire, tape, or even his key chain, lonely performance into something similar to the social contract.
“This is a huge responsibility,” batiste said by telephone this morning, “is not only to make it in music is great, and it is to express something related to our times. This time we are living here and there are so many different things that we are dealing with that are holding us back in many ways, and I want to push us forward. ”
He hinted at the tangled history of the song, which is repeated. Julia ward Howe, a distinguished New England poet and critic, and a famous activist and abolitionist, wrote the war song we know in November 1861. “I woke up in the ashes of morning,” she later recalled. “, “as I lie in the waiting of the dawn, the long lines of the desired poem begin to twine in my mind.”
Howe visited the union army’s review the previous day along the Potomac. When she and her party rode back to Washington, dc, they began to sing the popular dirge “John brown’s body”. A camp meeting of the radical abolitionist John brown, in tune with the indelible familiar refrain: “glory, glory, hallelujah.”
But elsewhere in the song, the lyrics are simple enough to replace: union soldiers have begun to rewrite their own satire. Howe’s companions urged her to write new lyrics worthy of the nobility. She offers a biblical rhythm and a sense of urgency: “he unleashed the light of his terrible, swift sword.” It defines a moment, one of the most enduring artifacts of the civil war, and this is the most commonly remembered thing in Howe.
Batiste had made American folk songs a regular part of his repertoire, and he had memorized this history as he reinterpreted it. He also brings with it a guiding belief that the national anthem made in national divisions can become new to the power and diversity of our own societies.
Can you remember how old you were when you first heard the “republic war song”?
This is one of the most remarkable things about the song: it’s the first time I’ve heard it and I don’t remember it. I remember the first version that impressed me. This is a version of Oscar peterson, making a jazz version. I remember listening to that version again and again when I really got into jazz, when I was about 11 or 12, maybe a little old. This is the first version – coincidentally the remake. I want to be as far away from the original as possible and as far away from the oscars as possible when I’m reinventing or reimagining the battle song.
The song, which has been reinvented several times, clearly has a rich social history. How many ideas do you have in accepting the transformation?
You have to understand that in order to get this song, and to comment on it. I’ve thought about how much the country has grown. We’ve got a lot of different cultures that are called americans – so many different RACES, and many different music effects. When you hear this arrangement, you will hear the different sounds of the various ethnic music and the different cultures that traditionally belong to the United States, and are not traditionally American. That’s because I think it’s important to represent the United States and not just one thing, it’s a lot of things.
I’m also interested in the idea of the parade. What you do to bambra-rhythmical, it’s more like we have something to do with the streets of New Orleans or the funeral procession. It makes me think it’s a conscious decision – but what?
Absolutely. Because it connects it to the original, it also shows the different sides of the original. The lyrics in the original are not the blues lyrics, but they have a kind of hymn-like sound quality, and have a deep connection with the blues. The New Orleans marches and the bambra rhythm, which are connected to the line marching bands of a band in 1862. But it comes from a completely different source [laughs]. If you think about it in the context of the United States, it will work. This is the most important message: we are all together. This is our best representative. All these things can coexist, but they are completely different from each other.
This is exactly what I think, because this method is based on the history and the music element to find a way to connect to the original. But do the opposite. So I base it on the march, but it’s completely different from the way it was done. I played with an acoustic instrument — I didn’t use the drum machine, I didn’t use the electronics — but it was played on a piano, and it was never going to be a march.
I’m playing with it, like a lot of people, but I’m the only one. I took the different sound elements from the acoustic instrument and put them in the room, put the wire rope on the piano string or picked up the keys. Prepare different things for the piano. All of this makes it feel like it’s a huge departure. Even the melody is not directly played, but more like an improvisation. I approached it as if it were a blues song, and Bruce was associated with the history of the hymn and the black soul. They are deeply connected. This song is basically just a ballad. So it’s all connected; These effects are interrelated. The end result is quite different. To me, this is the beauty of America’s powerful cultural structure. It can connect, but it’s completely different.
As you know, this is a crazy split and tension, turbulence and conflict – so is there any special significance to this information?
Yes, that’s right. I think we have to understand that we are part of the human race, either on the left or right, or between the two. And the things we strive for won’t get us where we need to be – as a nation, a nation, a world. I often think of how music affects tensions and splits. It can be a symbolic lip balm, because you can take away what we are striving for and show how they can coexist harmoniously. So yes, I definitely want to take this idea home — especially the song that is so heavy and historical. To do this, and to show that in a completely different context, meaning can remain the same. In fact, a new light can be opened in this sense. That’s what I believe.