Recorded around the world at great expense to wallets and friendships, New Hope for the Dead began life as a stage performance, featuring dancers, a live band, computer graphics, a trapeze artist, a break dancer, a martial artist and an aardvark. In an attempt to capture the ludicrously ambitious scale of the thing, the soundtrack was later recorded, albeit with a bit more peace and quiet about the place, in London. Following the multi-cultural focus of the stage show, we assembled a cast of thousands for the recording including musicians from Pakistan, India, Egypt, the West Indies, Iran, China, Japan and the planet Pluto.
Some came with higher profiles than others – the Tiger Lillies Martyn Jacques played accordion and sang on ‘TV On Fire’, Ravi Shankar’s music director Chandrashekar played violin, Spice Girls (as they then were) guitarist Paul Gendler, a Chinese opera singer – the list is too exhausting to even type. Compositionally, it was a collaboration between Martin Gordon and Peter Culshaw, an English journalist/musician – the pair met in Bombay during Boy George/Asha Bhosle sessions. Jointly composed songs – some pop, others not – were recorded from various perspectives and the result was released by JVC and later by Radiant Future.
The band went to Switzerland to perform at the 1997 Montreux Jazz Festival, picking up the Spice Girls’ percussionist Fergus Grerand, a jazz sax player who also doubled on keys and whistled a bit, the marvelous Indian violinist Chandrashekar and, astonishingly for the rough, tough man’s world of rock’n’roll, some girls – Maria Mendonca on keys/vocals and singer Perla den Boer from the Dutch Antilles via Pluto). This experiment was not repeated, although not for gender-related reasons: before finally collapsing under it’s own weight, they delivered a stonking version of Todd Rundgren’s ‘Tiny Demons’, to be seen below. And then it was back to the real world…
1: Strength Through Joy Adamson
2: Lotus Blue
3: World Without ID
4: Let’s Not Talk About It
5: Ping Ping Ze Ze
6: Fathom Five
7: Small Shipwreck (Not Many Drowned)
8: Mara Bebous
9: TV On fire
10: In Pursuit of the Implicate Order of Cultural Chaos
11: On That Day
12: Stay the Night
13: Is That Really the Time?
15: The Insect World is Listening
16: Let’s Not Talk About It – Jungle Sacrifice
17: Let’s Not Talk About It – Much More Maori
18: At the Edge of the Universe
19: Let there Be Indian Violins
20: Tiny Demons (live at Montreux jazz festival)