Monday, February 26, 2007

Song of the day: Katie Melua's "Call off the search"

One thing I and Katie Melua have in common is that we're both convinced Eva Cassidy is one of the greatest voices ever (I wrote on this blog about Eva Cassidy here and here). Katie took a step further (and she's one of the few who could have done that step properly): she wrote and interpreted a very beautiful song, a tribute to Eva Cassidy, "Faraway Voice", song which is included on her first album, "Call Off the Search". That would've already been enough to mention her on my blog, but read on, this was just the warming up!

Who is Katie Melua? Chances are you still don't know her, though I am biased in this judgement by my own former ignorance in the context: a year and a half ago I didn't have a clue about who she was, although (ex post realization) I had certainly heard some of her songs. My rendez-vous with her music was intermediated by one of my former housemates here in Denmark, Aleksandra, who has a great taste for, inter alia, music; she suggested that, since I like Norah Jones (who will obviously not escape from featuring in my 'song of the day' rubrique; btw, this comparison should already say something about Katie's profile and potential), I might want to listen to Katie Melua as well (thank you, Sasha, very inspired thought!). Katie Melua is a Georgian-born jazz/blues musician, now living in England, an artist who, despite being still very young, has already proven that she's got an amazing potential, especially as a singer and, to a less extent, but very promising, also as a songwriter (I think she's already more than prepared to try more on that direction). Her collaboration with songwriter (and producer) Mike Batt (writer of her most well-known songs) and other songwriters resulted in some truly great tunes, some of which I'll mention below. Much more details on Katie Melua's bios and discography are on the wikipedia entry dedicated to her.

But let's get back to the music. Lots of music. Good music. Linked to YouTube clips. Some of my favourite pieces sung by Katie Melua are "Closest thing to crazy" (with a great live performance in Belfast), Piece by Piece" (written by Katie herself; here, live on a French TV channel), "I cried for you" (written by herself; excellent idea for the videoclip!), "Nine million bicycles" (perhaps her most commercialized song; see also the original videoclip). I also like a lot some cover songs by her (usually I don't mention covers, but I believe these to be exceptional): "Crawling up a hill" (song included also on her debut album- awesome live performance here; the original version is the classic by John Mayall), "Moon River" (of course, this was Audrey Hepburn' s and will forever remain Audrey's, but I think Katie's signature has got something special) and one of my all-time favourites, "I put a spell on you" (covered by so many since its writer and first singer, Screamin' Jay Hawkins- whose style was certainly unique). The song I chose for today is the superlative "Call off the search", the title song from her 2003 debut album- lyrics here. Enjoy!

PS. BTW, I really wouldn't mind if all "Romanian window cleaners" looked indeed like Katie Melua (apparently her hairdresser tells her that she looks like a Romanian window cleaner...), even without having Katie's voice :-).

Update: If you look carefully at the youtube clip for the song of the day, you'll see at some point (check, for instance, the time ranges min 1:1o to 1:20 or min 2:50 to 3:00, in that videoclip) a close profile of the lead violin player. I would almost bet that this is Alex Balanescu (about whom I wrote a bit on this blog, already). Maybe somebody can confirm or infirm that.

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