From fred
Date Thu, 8 Jan 2004 1:15 PM

intro to viva la diva

if you've gotten my mix then you know by now that this mix is in praise of divas, esp in the genres of opera, gospel, musical theater, and "modern" pop. i think there are different qualifications that come w/ divahood, but in music i think of a diva as someone who has either incredible technical skill or incredible passion (oftentimes they have both) combined with a magnetic "presence". originally i contemplated other genres but i found that divas of jazz and motown were generally too reserved and cool, and i didn't want to try to muddle things too much with people i like but are too different from the others, such as tammy wynette. also, i found myself drawn to non-white women, who i personally find have a compelling, innate exotic quality.

there are quite a few musical elements that recur on this mix, some intentionally. the first two tracks have a lot of them, including the use of background singers, mellismas (singing many notes on one syllable, something that's still used (oftentimes overused) by modern singers) and ornamentation (taking the same melody and improvising around it, as in the third section of the handel aria which repeats and embellishes the first section), and contrasting slow sections w/ fast sections. i think overall the thing that unites most of these tracks is that each woman is instantly reconizable not only from her voice but also the way she uses her voice. they all really color each and every word, although this is especially apparent in the slower songs. just listen to the way babs' voice breaks on the last word "parade" or the way audra disparages the word "beautiful" and stresses the "l" sound of the phrase "learn what they lack" or the strong "r" cecilia puts on the first syllable of her entrance, "riedi".

one of the things i liked about making this mix is that i let it marinate for a really really long time, almost two months. i had the musical theatre and opera idea early on, but as i got more interested in gospel i made an effort and did some research by listening to a few gospel cds, which i felt really fit well with the rest of the mix. i think divas are more beloved by gay men in general, so i'm quite interested in hearing everyone's reaction to this mix.

well, i guess that's it for now. andy says that we should get everyone together and make everyone do karaoke to one of the songs. hahahaha. hope you found this to be entertaining.