Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Two Singers: Nnenna Freelon and Elliott Yamin

Two singers I catch around town as often as I can just happened to be in the neighborhood (or close enough) in the last couple of weeks: Jazz artist Nnenna Freelon and American Idol alum (season five) Elliott Yamin. They don't have terribly much in common, except I like them both for their unique voices. You don't mistake them for anyone else.

(And you know that's why I like Clay Aiken, too, but while he is working on his surprise for my birthday next month--which I am guessing is going to be his plan to collaborate with David Foster on adapting my screenplay into a Broadway musical--I have to spend this time pursuing my other interesting interests. Pardon my daydream...)

Both Nnenna and Elliott played to less than packed houses at the Strathmore and the Birchmere, respectively. This is unfortunate, but it didn't affect their performances.

Nnenna goes into her own world in her dreamy interpretations, bringing the audience along into the experience. "Skylark" gave me chills, performed with simple bass accompaniment.

One difference between a Nnenna/Strathmore experience and an Elliott/Birchmere one is my level of inhibition in clack-gathering. It's just taboo in a concert hall like Strathmore, and an artist of Nnenna's elegance, well, it would just seem like a violation to try to video her performance. At the Birch, with a guy like Elliott joshing with his E-Train riders in the audience, the pictures and videos are almost expected.

So to give you Nnenna's "Skylark," I borrow from someone else's lack of inhibition. This is from a year ago:

And "God Bless the Child," which made me feel as though I never heard or understood it before:

Now, Elliott, on the other hand, I had no problems mustering courage to video, so these are mine. My only problem was the tall fellow directly in my line of sight. (Situation normal.)

Here he is previewing some new songs, and delivering a heartfelt version of an earlier hit.

Love, hosaa
hearing (really great) voices

No comments: