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Of Muses & Mixes
Theresa Andersson's 'Street Parade' Steps Off Today
With her new album Street Parade out today, local musician Theresa Andersson chats about her ride in Muses, going viral and offers a playlist of some of the songs that inspire her.
Theresa Andersson can roll off a folk tale easily, but, as is well known by now, she's equally comfortable in more modern means of communication. A couple years ago, the singer-songwriter who releses a new album today, got a taste of that most unexpected success when her YouTube video for "Na Na Na" went viral.
From there, she saw her story passed around the Internet, as the collection of insturments assembled and looped in her kitchen has beamed to 1.4 million users to date.
“What I appreciate about it so much that was totally unexpected was people deciding to like it and tell their friends, and it grew so organically," she said in an interview with NoDef last week. "I ended up seeing a lot of people showing up to my shows and concerts because they had seen the 'Na Na Na' video because they were curious. They’d end up driving two hours to see a show and they ended up being into the show and coming back.”
Andersson has experienced both local and international recognition. She recently toured in Holland and Germany, and of course, stays busy in her home country.
“I’ve been touring more overseas in the past few years than I have here," she said. "Sweden was a market that just exploded for me.”
So where to go from overseas fame and a viral hit? To Mardi Gras, of course. You probably saw her in Muses this year, she was the one on a 12 foot egret being pulled by actual people. The inspiration for the bird came from a Swedish folk tale, "The Fantastic Journey."
“It’s been a longstanding dream of mine to have a marching band," said Andersson. "It made sense when I had the album called Street Parade to have a marching band.”
Andersson’s husband, puppeteer Arthur Mintz, and Jacques Duffourc constructed the bird together. The pair also collaborated in the production of The Fantastic Mr. Fox at the CAC.
“I rode on this bird 12 ft. bird up in the air, and the Shreveport Puppeteers actually puppeteered and pushed the bird up the street. There was no motor," she said. Behind the bird came the cityscape which came from the water and the Bayou. The hats showed different images of that. There was a pirogue, trees, and oak trees. We put all the stuff together this winter. I was doing a lot of this organizing from overseas using skype and emails. We came back and rehearsed with a big band.”
The resulting video, for the song "Hold On To Me" means all that preparation will last well beyond Ash Wednesday. The ethereal nature of the video provides for a visceral connection that runs through all of Andersson's work. Even when she way playing in her kitchen, viewers were mesmerized.
"I feel like you go on a journey every time you listen to a song or a record. When I write, that’s how I write, and I work with a lyricist Jessica Faust, who is a local poet," she said. "When I send her my song, I hope she’s going to feel that in the music so that she can write the lyrics based on what she feels in the song."
Andersson has been on that journey with other people's music too. We asked her to name a few songs by other people that connected with her.
1. Bobbie Gentry - Papa Woncha Let Me Go To Town With You
The first bus tour I was on, we rode in an old bus with a blue sky and white fluffy clouds painted on the sides. The bus driver had a cassette tape of Bobbie Gentry’s "Ode To Billy Joe" that I begged him to give me after the tour was over. I simply fell in love with this sound and had to have it. The whole experience was so beautifully 70’s except it all happened in the late 90’s.
2. Willie Nelson - On The Road Again
This was my song to sing every time I left New Orleans. We used to sing it as loud as possible with the windows rolled down..... The tape finally snapped and I haven’t listened to the song until today. I still love it!
3. Allen Toussaint - On Your Way Down
I first heard the Little Feat version of this song. It was on a mix tape from a friend. Somewhere around 2 minutes the record skipped a couple of times but it was a funky skip. The song is forever edged in my mind that way.
4. Joni Mitchell - My Old Man
The album Blue was one of my first record purchases. I fell in love with Joni’s musical poetry. As I was scrubbing marble stairs in Gotland, Sweden to make money for my first trip to New Orleans I used to sing this song in the reverberated stair houses.
5. The National - Secret Meeting
I love this band. For a while all I listened to was their two records Alligator and Boxer. I’ve never seen them live and I am not sure I want to. In my mind they’re perfect every time.
6. Peter Bjorn & John - Let’s Call It Off
A great Swedish band. This song is from the record called Writers Block. There are so many great songs on this record and the sound of the record is interesting. I like running to this song.....
7. Radiohead - Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
This was “my” Radiohead album. I had heard their earlier record but this is the one I lived with through many many late night drives.
8. The Octopus Project - Truck
A gem of an instrumental album. I found out about these guys and girl the year i lived in Austin.
9. Wild Nothing - Drifter
I love the floaty pop writing on this record. And the album cover is gorgeous.
10. Duke Ellington - On A Turquoise Cloud
I have to end the list with this classic song because it is so very beautiful. The way the clarinet and voice move together inspired me to write a bunch of melodies.
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