BWW Exclusive: CarbonWorks Premieres Music Video for 'Song For An Angel'
"Song for an Angel" is a beautiful and haunting performance by CarbonWorks, a band of singular musicians from around the world. The singer, Naif Hérin, grew up in the tiny village of Aosta in the Italian Alps, just a few miles from the French border. CarbonWorks' leader, Neal Barnard, heard Naif on a European radio station, fell in love with her voice, and invited her to the U.S. to record. Naif stole the show at CarbonWorks' album release party, hosted by Alec Baldwin and Maggie Q at New York's Metrograph theater. Also featured on the song is Allegra Tortolano Havens, a violinist who is equally at home with Beethoven and Led Zeppelin.
This never-before-released video was shot in an abandoned warehouse in Washington, DC. The director filled it with fog and Edison lamps, creating a dramatic backdrop and let the moodiness of the song carry through. Check out the BWW exclusive below!
This song was inspired by a chance encounter in the forest. Walking along one late afternoon, Barnard happened to come within a few feet of a deer, who froze in place and tried to make herself invisible, looking very vulnerable and bringing to mind how transitory life can be. The song was first written in English, and Naif translated it, adding the emotion of the Italian language. During the recording, Naif sang softly and very close to the microphone, ending with the words "solo che, gli angeli, volano via"-"Sometimes, angels just fly away."
Musically, the melody starts with Naif, who then hands it to Allegra to continue it on violin. Then, Allegra eventually hands it back to Naif to complete it. So instead of the voice being predominant and the violin providing accents, they are equals with their own voices.
Barnard, who appears only briefly in the video, is a guitarist, but also a well-known physician and author, described by Alec Baldwin at "Eddie Van Halen with a medical degree."
CarbonWorks is the adventurous musical ensemble led by DC-based composer and guitarist, Neal Barnard. The group's self-titled CD is available on iTunes and all other digital music sites. The album showcases 11 tracks of Barnard's original music that is a fusion of rock, blues, jazz, contemporary and Vietnamese music.
Equally diverse are the CarbonWorks members, comprised of a classical string quartet, a jazz band, rock musicians, traditional Vietnamese musicians, and Barnard himself on guitar and piano. Among the artists featured on the album are award-winning Italian vocalist, Naif Hérin, and New Orleans blues guitarist and actor, Chris Thomas King, best known for his supporting acting roles in the Coen Brothers' film O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Ray.
As a child in Fargo, North Dakota, Barnard studied piano, cello, and guitar, and took his love of music with him to Washington, DC, where her attended medical school while establishing himself in the DC music scene. Barnard started composing and recording songs in the 80s, and he played music professionally throughout his medical school and residency. With a penchant for the avant garde, Neal constantly writes songs that defy any genre categorization. He chooses unconventional time meters as well, in order to "tilt the song ever so slightly and give you that little jolt between the ears," as he puts it.