Amplify with Lara Downes: Esperanza Spalding

176 Weergaven 18K

Lara Downes | April 24, 2021
To be Esperanza Spalding is to be many things that myths are made of - the myths of genius, of creativity, of beauty, of success and stardom. Just to be a female bass player in the man's world of jazz is to be a unicorn, that most mythical creature. To have, on top of that, a voice that spins gold and casts spells - to win a Grammy for an album literally called 12 Little Spells. The possibilities for myth, magic and fairytale are endless.
But Esperanza Spalding is very real. She's grounded in the pursuit of truth before fantasy, determined to sing songs that avoid the same old stories, to create work that defies convenient endings.
At the moment, she's busy deconstructing an actual Greek myth while taking on the fabulous beast that is opera. Her self-produced and crowd-funded project Iphigenia is a collaboration with mentor/creative partner Wayne Shorter. His groundbreaking improvisation - and legendary quartet of musicians at the center - mixes classical and jazz forms in a score set to Esperanza's poetic and subversively radical libretto. Together, the music and text reveal a new perspective into this ancient story that would have us believe that Iphigenia was born to be sacrificed. But what if we let her tell her own story and make her own ending?
In this conversation, we talk about our power to liberate the victims of historical sacrifice - in myth, in opera, in the day-to-day experience of being human.
To deconstruct also means to rebuild, and Esperanza is applying her "athletic creativity" to the construction of work intended to give shelter and safe haven from the dangers of our time. Her Songwrights Apothecary Lab, developed during this pandemic year, is a hybrid of songwriting workshop and guided research practice. She brings together musicians and practitioners of various disciplines - music therapy, neuroscience, Black American music, Sufism and South Indian Carnatic music - in the spirit of radical healing. It's a bold vision of what music can do, of what artists can do. And what can happen when we tell our own stories.


  1. AliasAneW
    20 dagen geleden

    I found Esperanza's rendition of can't help it after hearing the song first in master of none by john legend and looking it up on youtube. Iv'e been hooked on her ever since.

  2. Eliezer Joaquim
    Eliezer Joaquim
    21 dag geleden

    Amazing! i believe in medicinal power of music.

  3. Coco la Mezzo
    Coco la Mezzo
    22 dagen geleden

    I feel like this was edited oddly. I think there was some in-between conversation that would have made this flow more smoothly.

  4. Slady707 2019
    Slady707 2019
    22 dagen geleden

    honoring our feminine

  5. Mike Dorsey
    Mike Dorsey
    22 dagen geleden

    "If you want to build something stable you have to go as deep or as wide as possible" -Esperanza Spalding

  6. Freshmen Year
    Freshmen Year
    22 dagen geleden

    Free beats

  7. Calculated Spontanaety
    Calculated Spontanaety
    22 dagen geleden

    Charles ronson

  8. Hannah Chung
    Hannah Chung
    22 dagen geleden

    Wowww!! Resonated so much with everything said🖤🖤

  9. DragonEmpress
    22 dagen geleden

    Thank you for featuring this artist! I've been her fan since Radio Song was released and in this time of the pandemic I've been finding solace and peace in her music. She's always been healing with her melodies and voice, even before she was conscious of it.

  10. Igor Pomykalo Early Music
    Igor Pomykalo Early Music
    22 dagen geleden

    Great! I have absolutely those same experience - with some instruments (like lira da braccio and lira da gamba because of their chordal but bowed nature) more than with other. Stay healthly and make beatiful music!

  11. Toortog
    22 dagen geleden

    I love Esperanza because no matter what you hear her speak be it with her mouth, pen, instrument you go away thinking and learning.

  12. Francisco Joshua Jr.
    Francisco Joshua Jr.
    22 dagen geleden

    What tune is played at the beginning?

    1. Michael Skelly
      Michael Skelly
      22 dagen geleden

      Scott Joplin’s “Solace”

  13. Me Against The World
    Me Against The World
    22 dagen geleden

    Dang I haven’t heard Esperanza in a long time. Good to see her again.

  14. Ed ‘S
    Ed ‘S
    22 dagen geleden

    She never ages. She still looks like a teenager. The only thing that changes is her level of talent and musical wisdom.

  15. Earth and the Fullness
    Earth and the Fullness
    22 dagen geleden

    Love to hear my sisters speak. Positive reasoning. Loving all the sound and resonance.

  16. Gene Pozniak
    Gene Pozniak
    22 dagen geleden

    What a Zen coincidence! I'm a poet, writer, and musician, and my dad passed away on Wednesday 4/21/21, so THIS is a very helpful discussion for me about healing. ❤️

    1. Adam Isaac
      Adam Isaac
      22 dagen geleden

      @ Gene Pozniak I am sorry for your loss. I feel for you, so hard my friend. interconnectedness man. I am dealing with loss today on a different level. My 11 year old golden retriever passed away yesterday. It’s all about the letting go isn’t it? Letting go of the past and excelling at our destiny. Letting all the energy flow through us, all of our experiences and emotions, let them flow like a mighty river. These rivers all flow to the ocean of humanity. We are all one. I am also a musician, Artist, poet. Bassist/Pianist/vocalist. May you be free from danger May you have mental happiness May you have physical happiness May you have ease of well being

    2. TSTB
      22 dagen geleden

      So sorry for your loss. Glad you found some healing presence from the conversation

    3. LATIA McDaniels
      LATIA McDaniels
      22 dagen geleden

      Healing, peace and comforting vibes are sent your way, brother.

  17. veronica
    22 dagen geleden

    ok thank you I love humans again 🧚🏽‍♀️

  18. Personious k
    Personious k
    22 dagen geleden

    There's no links to any of the work or music in your description, or comments. Can you provide some please?

  19. R D
    R D
    22 dagen geleden

    “Deconstruct myths”? Self important hooey.

  20. A Cold Hand
    A Cold Hand
    23 dagen geleden

    Even Esperanza's speaking voice sounds like beautiful music, I am mesmerized by her and her work.

  21. J. Osborne
    J. Osborne
    23 dagen geleden

    Beautifully done!

  22. Yuna Ohtani
    Yuna Ohtani
    23 dagen geleden


  23. Sandy Ordille
    Sandy Ordille
    23 dagen geleden


  24. Ian Dauphinee
    Ian Dauphinee
    23 dagen geleden

    Esperanza on the track

  25. Dipa Chatterjee
    Dipa Chatterjee
    23 dagen geleden


  26. Jon Sebastian
    Jon Sebastian
    23 dagen geleden

    Gosh, when Esperanza is speaking in this mode... It alternates between fancy-sounding trivialities and nonsense.

  27. Drew Mac
    Drew Mac
    23 dagen geleden

    Do you regret all that plastic surgery?

  28. Katherine Almonte
    Katherine Almonte
    23 dagen geleden

    This is fire.