The last time I heard Theresa Andersson in New Orleans, she was singing for 10,000 people in Wollenberg Park. She rocked and the echoes rolled all the way to Algiers and back again while tankers and tugs plied the muddy Mississippi. The noonday sun was blistering, and Theresa wore a Day-Glo pink bikini with matching sunglasses. I know that much because Ms. Modigliani described the scene for me shortly before we succumbed to the heat.
That scene stands in vivid contrast to these home videos, but not the singer’s animation. Theresa is a one-woman band here, working with samples, live loops, and a room full of instruments. Maybe Ms. M will undertake an audio description for me so I can follow the dance that unfolds in Birds Fly Away and Na Na Na, two cuts from Theresa’s latest recording, Hummingbird Go!.
Theresa described a bit of her process in a Global Hit interview with Marco Werman:
I sampled a New Orleans drummer called Smokey Johnson. And it’s a piece of vinyl that I found, cause they’ve got some awesome vinyl shops in New Orleans, and you can dig around and find all sorts of cool stuff. And it’s from a song called “I Can’t Help It.” So I called him up, and like hey, can I use this. And then I built the whole song around it.
The bounce and the groove are so great to sing over. Like that’s how the whole melody came about. Just bouncing off of those drums.
Encore: You could say Theresa Andersson is Sweden’s gift to New Orleans, but the reciprocity rolls the other way, too. Listen to her noodling around backstage at Jazz Fest in 2008. Then take in the spectacle at Melodifestivalen 2008, the Swedish competition for the Eurovision song contest. Therese Andersson is the same singer, right? Someone tell me if I’m wrong.
Café Mouffe opens on Fridays. Please drop by for a listen and a chat. Sometimes the embedded videos don’t work here due to bandwidth constraints, but you’ll always find links to video sources in the notes. Try them. If you’re curious about the Mouffe, here’s the original idea behind it’s creation.