No Song is Safe From Us

No Song Is Safe From Us - The NYFOS Blog

I, of course, love Sondheim and this is one of his iconic songs. However, Sondheim (or for that matter any composer, but especially Sondheim) is only as good as the person singing the song and Barbara Cook was the best. I first heard her perform this song at the Café Carlyle and, while I’d seen Follies and heard the song before, I’d never really heard it until then. The song sprung to life right before me.

Everybody loves Mavis Staples. She’s an American treasure, best known for providing a soundtrack for the civil rights movement with her family, The Staples Singers, with gospel-tinged classics like “Respect Yourself” and “Freedom Highway.” But today, I want to share my love of her version of a classic song, usually associated with Luther Vandross: “A House is Not a Home.”

I first got a glimpse of the band Gato Preto at WOMEX last year. I was seeing 12 bands a night, from all over the world, and they really stood out—African, edgy, and beyond fierce. I had a friend with me who was translating the lyrics, which were unapologetically calling out government corruption. It was this cool, strong woman—Gata Misteriosa—fronting the band.