These days I tend to think that musical performance has as much in common with presentation as the advice found in literature from the field of speech and communications. That is, we can learn a lot about storytelling and conveying meaning through engagement and emotional connections from studying what makes the great musical performers so special (beyond just their ability to play their instruments exceptionally well). And there is a lot we can learn from new-media artists as well as they continue to work closely with musicians and other performers to help them tell their stories visually.
You will love this song (and its message)
Thanks to Digg I discovered today a wonderful artist and an amazing, simple song. This song is called Chinese Translation and is performed by M. Ward. The animated video below is a great example of how simple illustrations can fit harmoniously with the music and enhance the song and the singer’s message. Not all of you will like it, and for some it will take a few takes before you come around. Others will instantly fall in love with the simple song and simple animation. (Link to higher-rez version on Joel Trussell's blog).
Afraid to do the things we know we have to do
I don’t mean to analyze the song — and clearly it will have different meanings for different people — but I love the three simple questions posed in the song:
“What do you do with the pieces of a broken heart?”
“How can a man like me remain in the light?”
“If life is really as short as they say, then why is the night so long?”
We ask ourselves variations of these three fundamental questions almost daily, do we not? We often go to great lengths to find the answers, even though the answers may already be right there in front of us, if only we could see. Seeing is indeed the hardest part, and for that we may need a helpful reminder of what we already know but have forgotten from someone wiser than us.
If you have ever loved (and lost), then I don’t know how you can hear those lyrics — What do you do with the pieces of a broken heart? — and not be moved, at least a bit. They say that it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. If this is so, we all ask, then why does loss hurt so much and cut so deep? The animation of the pieces of a broken heart in combination with the smooth lyrics and haunting melody convey a powerful message indeed.
Below is another video of an M. Ward song called Requiem. This video too is a good example of the visual enhancing the story being told by the singer and storyteller.