Sea Of Tranquility's Duncan Glenday attends the launch of Lou Black's new CD:
The weather was perfect on a pre-fall September evening as my daughter and I wandered through the North West section of Washington, DC. We were on our way to the launch party of Lou Black's CD A City Of No Winters, whose title track describes the once beautiful city of Durban, in southern Africa, which has been the victim of apartheid and crime and a long, slow socio-economic downward spiral. We'd been listening to the CD in the car and I reflected that Durban still has many charms and its economy has its high spots.
But walking through these quiet established streets it was impossible to avoid the comparisons, and Black's melody and Enid Holden's prose played through the mind as we approached.
American Lou Black (alias Lou Schwarz alias Luis Eduardo Schwarz, born in Peru) is a published author in systems, social psychology, and demography, Lou considers himself to be a researcher turned musician, and when he is not composing music, Lou is a statistical and systems consultant to business and government.
He has spent much of his life in the creative arts, from painting to cartooning to film making to interior design to synthesizer based music. He then turned his energies to the singer / songwriter approach to music and collaborated with poets Enid Holden from South Africa and Laura Dean Meek, as well as with Bill & Dana Bailey, JR Hartley, PJ Tracey, and Katy Thomasberg, all legendary musicians from Minneapolis' underground and avant-garde music scene. A City Of No Winters is his debut outing.
Black's album reflects his wide interests in various musical styles and his roots in melodic Western music. Throughout his childhood and adulthood, he traveled through South America, Europe and Asia, developing a broad world view and being influenced by the subtleties of each country's local music. Personal, political and philosophical issues are hidden in the subtext of Black's folk rock lyrics, yet on that perfect fall evening in Washington, the music slipped comfortably into the background and provided a soothing backdrop to the richly multicultural event that was generously hosted by Enid and Paul Holden.
Each song on the album has a special story and most are derived from the personal experiences of the lyricists. We spent a long time talking with Lou about each song, the artists from whom he drew his influences, which artists he compares himself with, and how the album came together.
Part-way through the evening Lou performed some of the tracks from the album. His delivery was perfect and the strains of the songs lingered in our minds as we drove home, leaving the leafy streets of Washington behind us. The other thing in our minds was the visions of the way Durban used to be back when Enid Holden lived there.
Because, you see, I was born in Durban.
Click here to read our review of City Of No Winters
Photos by David Plakke and Duncan Glenday