Monday, February 19, 2007

How to ruin an-air fundraising
(and save your evening)

Last night was the first of two weeks' worth of on-air fundraising for WORT-FM, when all good radio hosts talk a lot more than usual and wait for the phones to ring.

The normal and appropriate thing to do is to go with shorter pieces [for me, that means "less than 10 minutes," in case you're wondering] that are exciting and upbeat.

But that sort of bothers me. I'm quite well aware of being so generally unexciting, thanks - the Q stands for "Quiet," after all. But it's more the idea that the normal goal something that stops one in one's tracks. So I decided that I'd try to integrate this into my fundraising appeal... to play something that would bring things to a standstill by the force of its Ch'i/prana/integrity/whatever.

And I had just the thing: Susanna and the Magical Orchestra's 2006 all-covers release Melody Mountain on Rune Grammofon. Go buy the disk. No, really. Susanna Wallumrod [yes, she is related to that guy who drums on ECM discs] and Morten Qvenild from Jaga Jazzist, very minimal instrumentation, and a production job from Helge Sten that displays the Prince, Leonard Cohen, Joy Division, Kiss, and AC/DC covers like diamonds on inky black velvet.

I played her cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," and it even fetched people from other parts of the building/phone answerers into the studio to ask, "What is this? It's exquisite...." And, in honor of a later pledger, I ran her take on "Love Will Tear Us Apart Again."

Upbeat and exciting? Well, maybe not. But music that is about what I think I try to do on an ordinary evening? Oh my, yes.