Our Songs, Not Songs
Kristin Berardi & Sam Anning
Who said our songs are songs?
Our songs are not songs.
When you know that our songs are not songs,
Then we can begin to discuss song
Vocalist Kristin Berardi and bassist Sam Anning join forces on their duo album ‘Our Songs, Not Songs,’ out through Earshift Music, bringing together a stunning collection of mostly original songs that entwines their improvisational virtuosity with an expression more akin to folk music. The songs are unified by expressions of the complexity of the human condition, serving as a call for connection to self, others and mother nature.
After having performed together for many years, Berardi and Anning started performing as a duo in 2017 after discovering one another’s deep affinity for the love of song writing. They share a curiosity in exploring the diverse undergrowth of life’s myriad complexities, uniquely afforded by entangling poetry and music. Berardi describes the album as a “reflection on the variety of human relationships and interactions which occur: its complexity, fragility, capacity for resilience and growth, for pleasure, pain and everything in-between!” Contrasted with the sparse setting of voice and upright bass, the album features some special guest appearances by pianist Andrea Keller, and cameos of Berardi on piano and Anning on guitar.
Berardi is one of Australia’s most recognised jazz vocalists as well as actively working across contemporary and experimental music fields. She has performed with musicians including Kenny Werner, Ingrid Jensen, Florian Ross, Dan Tepfer, James Muller, James Sherlock, Katie Noonan, Mike Nock, Wendy Matthews, Kate Miller-Heidke, Barney McAll, Julien Wilson, Jamie Oehlers and many others in Australia and overseas. Berardi has performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Java Jazz Festival, and Sapporo Jazz Festivals as well as presenting her original material at the renowned Birdland Jazz Club in New York City earlier this year. She is currently based in Brisbane and teaches at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. This will be her twelfth album release and a first for this new duo.
Currently based in Melbourne, Anning is a major force in Australian jazz, regularly performing with jazz greats such as Joe Chindamo, Aaron Choulai, Paul Grabowsky, Jamie Oehlers, and the late Allan Browne. After completing a Masters of Music at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, Anning remained in New York City and quickly became an in-demand bassist in one of the world’s most competitive cities. Anning has toured extensively throughout the world with performances at the Montreal, Vancouver, Detroit, Jazz a Vienne, Copenhagen, Port au Prince, and Panama Jazz Festivals. He has performed with Joe Lovano, Kenny Werner, Ari Hoenig, George Garzone, Gilad Hekselman, Greg Osby, and Charlie Haden, among many others. Returning to Melbourne in 2015, Anning has made a significant contribution to the jazz scene.
Album: Our Songs, Not Songs
Release: September 5 2019
Label: Earshift Music distributed by MGM
Personnel: Kristin Berardi (voice & piano), Sam Anning (double bass & guitar), Andrea Keller (piano)
About the music
He Was a Loaded Gun (Berardi)
This explores the concept of a person who keeps people at a certain distance in order to keep their position of power over others.
Bamboo Shoots (Anning)
Inspired by a chapter from the book ‘Einstein’s Dreams’ by Alan Lightman in which the story unfolds in a place where time functions in a spiral, it slows down the closer one gets to the centre.
A reminder that when everything seems to fall apart, all will be ok. This features beautiful accompaniment and solo by pianist Andrea Keller.
Cactus Flower (Anning)
A stunning incandescent flower that grows where there is little to no water. A small offering which feels large.
Everyone has a spirit that we often call ‘humanity,’ and one needs to look for themselves in others, especially when it seems challenging. A composition recorded and released on Anning’s Across A Field As Vast As One.
Lament For Linus (Melhdau, arranged Berardi)
This piece by Brad Melhdau is a vocalese in which Berardi has penned lyrics to the piano solo from the recording of this piece on The Art of the Trio Vol.1 album. Lamenting the loss of self, the loss of a relationship, and using the piano solo part as opportunity to also offer up half thoughts, and fully formed conclusions.
She Is The Colour Red (Berardi)
This piece was written for Berardi’s daughter. “Ode to Oli” was for her son, and many people throughout the world have expressed their connection to the piece, and play and sing it in their ensembles, big bands, and their choirs. It’s a tribute to the strong, creative, and caring person she already is.
We Build Walls (Berardi)
This song explores the notion of building walls around ourselves, usually subconsciously.
More Than We Need (Berardi)
Exploring the notion of what is really important in life. Trying to gather perspective, and offer counsel instead of blind hope. Written specifically for this setting of bass and voice, this simple tune is a call to keeping things more simple in order to be more free.