Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Home Stretch!

At last, Matt and I are pleased to announce the newest member of the Tolentino family! As dyed-in-the-wool independent artists, we refer, of course, to the new Singapore Slingers CD, "When Summer is Gone". The album features a marvelous collection of works dating from the late 1800s to the 1930s - the orchestra sounds superb, and I'm awfully proud of the cover art:

As it happened, Matt and I both had this image in mind before discussing the matter - a like-minded couple, to be sure. While I've seen my work on many types of publications/media, this is my first album cover, and I couldn't be more pleased that it's Matt's first industry-standard CD.

And so, on to our news from New Orleans! Although the real reason for our road trip was for Matt to play at two gigs in Florida, our souls were thrilling for weeks beforehand - not only to see New Orleans, but to meet Matt's oriental foxtrot idol, George Schmidt. As a founding member of the New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra (PLEASE look them up, their work is exquisite), Mr. Schmidt would surely have so much to share about music history, the character of his city, as well as art - he's also a wonderful historic painter.

We had no idea how delightfully enthusiastic, creative, and hilariously wacky George would end up. We were blessed with several audiences at his Julia Street gallery, talking about nearly everything under the sun - the aforementioned music, history and art - but included too were good cocktails, fine foods, embroidered underwear, public reactions to the orchestra's often politically-incorrect tunes, the importance of "educated amusement" (George considers himself the "Adolf Hitler of fun"), the woeful lack of nitrous oxide in modern dentistry... and, well, myriad other subjects. We were also treated to a sneak preview of the orchestra's upcoming CD - a joyful and surreal moment, in that our own album was still on the presses, being manufactured. At our final visit, Matt brought along his Petosa, and serenaded George with favorite rags and foxtrots. Jack Stewart, a fellow NLOFTO member, stopped in to watch the shenanigans. George sang "Palesteena" as Matt played - a photo will have to stand in, until I can upload the clip:

It's doubtful I've seen anyone sing with such animation - this is a man with a great sense of passion for life. In retrospect, I can see why I immediately had such a fondness for George - he reminds me deeply of my late father, who was full of wonderful stories, endless humor and joy. George treated us to several of the orchestra's albums, and I promised a good handful of voodoo lilies for the courtyard garden behind the gallery, as well as a more personalized gift. I'll be making a sheik's robe for Matt after the wedding, and offered to create one for George, too - he was thrilled, of course. In all, New Orleans was incredible - and I promise to write a blog about its uplifting, creative energy. But on to other matters!

Over the next two weeks, I'll be in garment heaven - I've at last found the materials for my wedding gown. And how. Yesterday brought news both positive and negative - one of the only fine fabric stores in town closed its doors for good, after 40 years in business. An upsetting loss, as it becomes more and more difficult to find couture-grade materials... but there was a silver lining. I managed to pick up scintillating duchesse satin, crepe and lace for my wedding gown - there wouldn't have been the slightest possibility of my doing so at retail cost. Everything in the store was 90% off, so Matt and I went a little crazy, snapping up yardage for future use. But what excites me at the moment is that I can push ahead with my gown... and it will be even more beautiful in its ragtime-era simplicity than I had ever expected. The lace alone, shown above, makes me melt...

So if I lag a little, it's because our wedding is less than three weeks off, and we are in the Home Stretch! However, I'll do what I can to post that clip of Matt and George - it's WELL worth viewing. If I don't hop by beforehand, look for engagement/wedding photos in a few weeks - I'll be posting them here!


  1. Hi Danielle,
    Firstly, thanks for following on tracker-bar. I've only just spotted you there. You see I don't update that one very often and blog every-other day on 'monkey-organ blogspot.
    I have just played several YouTube clips of the NLOFTO in action. Really enjoyed them, I can see me looking into it more when I have time.
    I think your CD cover is excellent. Reminds me of pictures on sheet music covers from the 1920's. Are the 'Singapore Slingers' a similar orchestra to the NLOFTO?
    I would like to know the chosen tracks on the CD. :)
    All the best for the wedding.

  2. Uncle Bernard, so glad to have you here - I ADORE band organs and all things mechanical music, so your presence here is more than appreciated!

    Glad you enjoy the CD cover - our house is well-stocked with early 20th century sheet music; as such it only makes sense that the aesthetic has rubbed off on me. The titles: "Diga Diga Doo", "My Blackbirds Are Bluebirds Now", "Alone", "The Sheik", "Mamma Loves Papa", "Ethiopia - a Rag", "When Summer is Gone", "My Sweet Tooth Says I Wanna (But My Wisdom Tooth Says No)", "Siboney", "Waltz Me Around Again, Willie", "Palesteena", "The Easy Winners", "The Wedding of the Painted Doll", and "In a Sentimental Mood". You can actually hear snippets of the recordings on - just enter "Singapore Slingers" in the search box.

    And yes - there are similarities between NLOFTO and the Slingers, to be sure. Mainly in that both are dance orchestras, boasting 18 pieces at the minimum. The music really gets to sing out, more so than with the smaller bands. Sort of like comparing a Caliola to a 165 - now we're speaking my language. ;)

    Thanks again for stopping by - it's an honor to have you here!

  3. Thanks for all that. I found them all listed on cdbaby. I know a few of those, like "Alone", "Ethiopia", "Painted Doll" and of course "Easy Winners". I say 'of course'... because of the coincidence there. I have just this very day been working on an arrangement of this rag for the organ. I know rags sound best on the piano and best left in their original form, but having now built this organ, I need music. It has 70 pipes but only sounds 26 distinct notes so it is quite a task to arrange piano music to fit into this narrow range. Nearly all my arrangements are from music of the 1920's -30's. They are easy scores to work from.
    I arrange and punch all my own rolls.
    One day I may get a Camcorder and record some of my attempts. But as they say "There is recession on you know"!
    No money! :(
    All the best.......Bernard