Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Great Performances: Sting

I watched Great Performances on PBS the other night, which showcased Sting and his work on the new album, The Journey And The Labyrinth.

I don't know if this will play on PBS again, but it's available on a DVD. If you can watch it, please do since it's beautiful. Sting embraces and explores the Elizabethan songs written by John Dowland - he calls him the first "English Singer/Songwriter." It's fascinating to see the interaction and passion the musicians and singers have for the history and music.

My breath was snatched when I saw the backdrop. It was filmed at Lake House, Sting's 16-century manor house in Wiltshire, and in the ancient gardens of Il Palagio, his home in Italy.

The man has a labyrinith in his backyard!! I never cared too much for labyrinths (can't even spell the bloody word properly!) because I've seen films like "Dracula" and "Harry Potter," which have enforced the eerieness of mazes. These are frightening because you must go forward though you don't know what lies ahead. You feel like a mouse scrambling around a maze, hoping to find a cheese in the middle or at least freedom.

However, Sting is a brilliant man in that he created claustrophobic-friendly labyrinth. It's cut low and is wide and open. He strolls around and around it. If you get tired of the circular walk, you can walk across it and go home. One of Sting's musician friends commented how calming it was to walk behind Sting across this type of labyrinth. He was so inspired by it, he bestowed the lute with the carved labyrinth to him, which led to this new album.

Anyway, it's an absolutely beautiful show - complete with romantic settings in Europe from the castles to the woods, the talented musicians and one incredibly talented Sting.

By the way, I've seen Sting in concert back in the 90's - I think it was "Soul Cages" and "Dream of Blue Turtles" tours. What I used to love about watching him perform live was his passion for music. He'd gather up his band and they'd start jamming on stage. Didn't matter hundreds of people were there - they were having fun. That kind of passion for what you do is absolutely sexy.

I'm also captivated by good lyrics. When I was younger, I had to reach for the dictionary for a line from "Synchronicity" - "Mephistopheles is not your name." I looked up "synchronicity" while I was it. And, I wouldn't have read "Lolita" were it not for Sting saying, "Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov" in "Don't Stand So Close to Me." That line would drive me crazy and even when I was reading it, it kept churning in my head.

Sting's low crooning on these Elizabethan songs gave me chills - his voice oscillates perfectly, swaying from a whisper to a bellow. He commented a few times about being a rock-n-roll singer, but this type of music suited him so well, you forget this was not his forte.

Perfect background music for an evening with good friends, sitting in front of a roaring fire, candles lit and swirling a glass of bordeaux.

If anyone has a 16th century castle, please do invite me.


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Anonymous said...


Kem Cho? It's been a while since I checked out your posts. I am posting this because I saw the word "synchronicity." It is a fascinating topic. The events that illustrate synchronicity are kinda freakish and X-Files like. Have you had such events in your life?

Anonymous said...

Hey Prop, nice to see you back.. I gotta think about it and get back to you.

There are some events that happen in real life that if it were a book, it'd be slashed as "not believable" or "cheezy". So, definitely think life could take a route beyond what we perceive.

What has "synchronicity" done for you?

(Sorry for the wiki link..I know it's not a credible source :-)

Anonymous said...

I too recently saw the Sting broadcast on PBS. It was inspirational and I will also someday purchase a 16th century manor home when the finances allow. However I am a bit taken aback by ashini's comments. What could be wrong with a report of a spiritual musical effort such as Sting's? I suppose Ashini has something lodged in her spiritual bum. My advice is to relax and all will pass.

Anonymous said...

Bif -
Sorry those comments were part of another irrelevant discussion.

In the meantime, are there any time shares of 16th century castles available? :-)