Eastside Sinfonietta, the / Don't Be Afraid
Album: Don't Be Afraid   Collection:General
Artist:Eastside Sinfonietta, the   Added:Sep 2003
Label:True Classical Cds  

A-File Activity
Add Date: 2003-09-29 Pull Date: 2003-12-01
Week Ending: Nov 2
Airplays: 1

Recent Airplay
1. Jun 07, 2014: Music Casserole
Remembering Maria A.
3. Jun 13, 2005: Civil Society
Moritat (Mac the Knife)
2. Mar 11, 2008: The Wonder Knife of Macanda
Moritat (Mac the Knife)
4. Oct 26, 2003: the rust belt
Bilbao Song

Album Review
Reviewed 2003-09-22
As it says on the front (which you probably can’t see, as this review covers it), this is an album of art songs by Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, and Hanns Eisler – that trio of mid-century Germans-turned-Americans (or un-Americans) – sung and performed by a group of LA-based musicians. This is appropriate since the trio spent some time in Hollywood after their escapes from Nazi Germany. The arrangements and performances are very good tho’ perhaps not the definitive versions of these songs. The title and the general topic of the meaning of freedom from tyranny are sadly appropriate even today. Your favorite quasi-goths and other hipsters have previously covered many of the songs and you should recognize many of these classic songs, dammit. Brecht’s lyrics are unlike those of pop songs in that story (or message) and wit are more important than a rhyme scheme or the verse-chorus structure. Very highly recommended.

1. A short, slow, pleasing waltz plea to “don’t be afraid”
2. An ode to the dirty joys of a wild Bilbao bar, later turned into a bourgeois amusement park, sung over a lilting, tropical, melody
3. On the social/political awakening of a booze peddler
4. Beau tango francais a l’accordion, a song later appropriated by Astor Piazzolla, then Grace Jones, as “I’ve Seen That Face Before (Libertango)”
5. As dire sounding as the title “The Drowned Girl” would lead you to assume
6. More upbeat tango, wordy and catchy as heck
7. A funky, artsy discourse on the economics of commodity goods (including “a man”); again very catchy tune and attention-grabbing lyrics
8. An elegiac, emotional piece with beautiful organ fills
9. Sad but amusing song about a cad of the tropics
10. Upbeat and sassy song by an independent and grumpy woman
11. Second most famous Kurt Weill song; a fast-moving, high-stepping, dance-hall kicker, here with a satiny organ and a wailing clarinet/trumpet; picks up speed as it goes
12. Somber bass clarinet and voice duet on a song about the contradictions of life in Hollywood – “paradise and hellfire”
13. Jumpy clarinet and accordion accompany another song about Hollywood, this time heavily weighted toward the negatives
14. Clever and sad song of … uh, King Solomon
15. Gotta love the way the singer, Weba Garrettson, trrrrrrills her rrrrrrs in this German language (i.e., original) version of Weill’s most famous song; clarinet and accordion and drums are sort of ramshackle; track ends abruptly with 2:35 to go, followed by a 1/2 minute of silence, followed by a backwards-running version that’s not worth your time

Track Listing
1. Don't Be Afraid   8. Remembering Maria A.
2. Bilbao Song   9. Surabaya Johnny
3. The Liquor Dealer's Dream   10. Ballad of the Lily of Hell
4. Youkali Tango   11. Mandelay Song
5. The Drowned Girl   12. Hollywood
6. Sailors' Tango   13. The Swamp
7. Supply & Demand   14. Solomon Song
  15. Moritat (Mac the Knife)