Friday, November 03, 2006

The problem with imagining Sting in tights

The first time I read about Sting taking on Elizabethan music, as in John Dowland songs arranged for the lute, I immediately thought it would tank (sorry Stingie). And then when I heard a 30-second clip of him singing

I sit, I sigh,
I weep, I faint,
I die, in deadly pain
and endless misery

I giggled and giggled. Yeah I know, shame on me. It somehow reminded me of Panchito and Dolphy singing “Hopiang di mabili, inaamag kasi” to the tune of La donna est mobile. Or maybe I was giggling because I was imagining Sting as a traveling bard in tights and ruffly poet’s shirt (opened to the abdomen, of course).

Since then Songs from the Labyrinth topped the UK’s classical charts, and more surprisingly, reached the #24 spot in the pop charts! So here I am listening to the Englishman’s distinctive tenor crooning in time with lutenist Edin Karamazov’s string-plucking, and oy, I must say it is rather pleasant. Particularly those songs where Sting harmonizes with himself. They sound very strange at first, all those rounded O’s and sonorous notes that almost sound like wails. But once you’re used to the style, the music can be quite relaxing (very good for sleeping in fact). Interspersed between the music tracks are readings from Dowland’s letters. How can anyone not find Sting’s lovely British speaking voice appealing?

Snooping around blogs I chanced upon an audio file of Sting’s guesting at Studio 60 where he sang Fields of Gold accompanied by the lute (which he played himself; he also plays on a few tracks in Labyrinth). Like the songs in his new album, the lutenized Fields of Gold is quite soothing once you get over the shock. I will upload it and post a linkie here soon.

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