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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: September ::
Shakespeare's Greatest Hits CD Release Show
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0638  Wednesday, 26 September 2007

From: 		Geoff Pond <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 25 Sep 2007 00:22:32 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 	Shakespeare's Greatest Hits CD Release Show

Subterranean Shakespeare
Presents
SHAKESPEARE'S GREATEST HITS
HIS WORDS - OUR MUSIC
CD Release Concert

Two years in the making Subterranean Shakespeare's SHAKESPEARE'S 
GREATEST HITS CD has been released.  We took the great words of 
Shakespeare's songs and his contemporaries who influenced his plays and 
arranged them with modern music styles Folk, Rock, Electronica, Blues, 
Experimental etc.   To honor the occasion Sub Shakes will be presenting 
a concert with many of the artists who contributed to the CD.  They will 
be performing songs from the CD plus a few new Shakespeare songs.

Scheduled to perform: J. Raoul Brody,  Robert Ernst & The Serfs, Mark 
Growden, Stuart Hall, Ed Holmes, Hal Hughes, Barney Jones, Mark 
Malmberg, Michael Peppe, Matthew Perifano, THE RUDE MECHANICALS - Lori 
Higa, Lauren Hotchkiss, Chetana Karel, Kevin Moore, Geoffrey Pond, 
Michael Rossman, Salane & Friends, GPSkratz, Rob Strange, Syzygy, Jason 
Webster, Cindy Weyuker, Zen Continuum

When: 	Monday Oct 1 - 8pm.
Where: 	The Unitarian Fellowship Hall
                	1924 Cedar @ Bonita, Berkeley
How much: 	$10
Reservations: 510 - 276-3871
or on line www.brownpapertickets.com
For more information and to order SHAKESPEARE'S GREATEST HITS
www.myspace.com/subshakes

Play Shakespeare Full Review
Shakespeare's Greatest Hits: The Invention of a Tribute

Story by Denise Battista on August 22, 2007

Two years in the making, Subterranean Shakespeare Records is finally 
ready to release their CD, "Shakespeare's Greatest Hits." But this isn't 
your run-of-the-mill compilation of Shakespeare's songs.  Not a lute to 
be heard, if you can believe that. "Shakespeare's Greatest Hits" 
includes a bevy of artists from an array of backgrounds, adding a little 
of this and a little of that, some spice, some sweet, and sometimes a 
little bit of sour, stirring up one heck of a mouthful of music.

No matter what your taste, unless of course it's Elizabethan lute music, 
you're bound to find it here.  You're even likely to acquire new tastes 
along the way. This compilation tests some boundaries, but it's the 
experimental and more daring pieces that have the greatest impact. 
Notable is "Gods of Raw" (the libretto recalling the downward spiral of 
King Richard II), a hot mix of electronica and dance music by Zen 
Continuum with Rob Strange on guitar. The song begins somewhat 
Radioheadesque, with vague echoes of "OK Computer's" "Electioneering," 
before journeying into an underground dance club beat. "Loath and 
Depart/Please One Please All" features the bass beatbox vocal of Syzygy, 
proving to me yet again-as I reminisce on San Francisco's Intersection 
For the Arts' 2006 production of Hamlet: Blood in the Brain-that 
Shakespeare and rap can go hand in hand.

A good deal of this CD will appeal to both the Shakespeare connoisseur 
and the music lover who might not recognize a single line. Songs such as 
"Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind," with Matthew Perifano on guitar and 
vocals, and "Where the Bee Sucks" (think Ariel from The Tempest and then 
add a happy banjo and a pastoral feel), with Hal Hughes on vocal and 
banjo, provide a bit of simplicity in the midst of an eclectic mix. 
There is also a fair amount of folk music here, and although it seems to 
be the weakest link, it's songs like the 'let's sing 'round the 
campfire' version of Ophelia's madness, "Tomorrow is St. Valentine's 
Day," with Cindy Weyuker singing and playing the saw (yep, that's 
right-the saw), or The Rude Mechanicals' Midsummer lullaby "You Spotted 
Snakes" that leave you with one heck of an earworm.

The Rude Mechanicals' dramatic deathrock meets Jim Morrison arrangement, 
"O Death, Rock Me Asleep," featuring the sometimes impressive, sometimes 
depressive vocal range of Geoffrey Pond, may leave you feeling as 
unsettled as Anne Boleyn the night before her date with the executioner, 
but then, perhaps deathrock is your particular taste. Also unsettling, 
but in a good way, is the most bizarre conjuring of GP Skratz, 
performing "Double Double Toil and Trouble," a "montage of 19th Century 
German translations" of the Weird Sisters' cauldron cackling. Skratz' 
deep, growling, sinister voice has a Scottish edge as he conjures in 
German. And to make things even more interesting, Skratz is accompanied 
by a Philippine gong, a sitar, seed rattles, and a tanpura.

Some of the vocals are outdone by the music; such is the case with the 
ethereal song "Full Fathom Five" and the folk rock madness of "Tom a 
Bedlam." But I have love for poor Tom, especially after seeing The Rude 
Mechanicals perform this piece at this year's San Francisco Theatre 
Festival in July '07. After watching Michael Rossman dance 'round the 
stage on dirty toes like Mad Maudlin, I will forever see Rossman and Tom 
as one in the same.

And there's so much more than just this. There are sonnets that speak of 
lust; you'll hear Lear singin' the blues, and you'll find a gem in the 
ghostly compilation of some of the world's greatest Shakespearean actors 
(Orson Welles, John Gielgud, John Barrymore, and oddly missing Sir 
Laurence Olivier), delivering their lines to the lovely piano 
accompaniment of Chetana Karel. Lust and Love, Carefree and Longing, 
Madness, Death, Freedom, Repression, Sadness and Dreams. If Bloom can 
say that Shakespeare invented the human, then Subterranean Shakespeare 
can be said to have invented the tribute to the humanness of 
Shakespeare's songs, and in this humanness, you're sure to find a bit of 
yourself.

"Shakespeare's Greatest Hits," produced by Subterranean Shakespeare 
Records, can be purchased at major music stores, or by going to 
www.cdbaby.com.  Full lyrics and music samples can be experienced at 
www.myspace.com/subshakes.

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Hardy M. Cook, 
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