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Esperanza Spalding Unveils ‘Songwrights Apothecary Lab’ Visual Album

The corresponding music videos were filmed in the same locations where spalding recorded.

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Esperanza Spalding - Photo: LaMont Hamilton
Esperanza Spalding - Photo: LaMont Hamilton

esperanza spalding’s latest project Songwrights Apothecary Lab has been widely celebrated and is now viewable in its entirety as a visual album.

This collection of 12 songs, or “Formwelas,” were formed in a traveling creative space where spalding was joined by researchers, practitioners – including music therapists and neuroscientists – and musicians to make music designed to have a specific effect on the listener. The intended effects range from de-stressing and de-escalation, to finding the right words to say among loved ones and a reminder to respect and give time to our elders. They were formed in spalding’s lab in different musical configurations and locations, first Wasco County, OR, then Portland, OR and then New York City, over the course of two weeks in June as part of a residency that was open to the public.

The corresponding music videos were filmed in those same locations and several of the videos capture the laboratories in session as spalding and her collaborators were creating and recording.

In addition to the new album, preview presentations of Iphigenia, a new opera created in collaboration with Wayne Shorter, spalding, and set design by Frank Gehry, are set for this weekend—November 5 and 6 at Mass Moca. The World Premiere of Iphigenia will then take place on November 12 and 13 at ArtsEmerson in Boston.

spalding has also introduced a number of in-person events for Songwrights Apothecary Lab. Back in June, Spalding opened an in-person installation of the Songwrights Apothecary Lab in New York as part of the River to River festival being held in the city. She worked alongside researchers and musical collaborators for 10 days and participated in “shareback” sessions with the public where they had a chance to experience the lab and listen to music still in the process of being created. It was a one-of-a-kind opportunity for fans to witness spalding still in the process of creation.

View the entire visual album for Songwrights Apothecary Lab on esperanza spalding’s website.

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