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“…To me it sounds like the scratch of my pen on a page. Like the pitter patter scrape of bone-on-wood, an imaginary crow walking across a real stage. It is bird-like. It is children talking in their sleep. 
Teho’s music doesn’t sound like these things, it feels like these things…” – Max Porter
TEHO TEARDO has announced the release of Grief Is The Thing With Feathers, out on Specula Records. Listen to the first track to be taken from the album ‘London Offered Us Possible Mothers’ ahead of the sold out theatrical production, featuring Teardo’s compositions, at the Barbican, London:
Inspired by Max Porter’s award winning novel, Grief Is The Thing With Feathers (2015), the album itself was composed soon after Teardo read the book and a month later the Irish writer and director Enda Walsh (co-author of David Bowie’s Lazarus theatre production and Steve McQueen’s Hunger) and a long time collaborator confided to Teardo that he wanted to stage an adaptation of the novel.
In a very short time, the album and stage show were complete and the production premiered in Galway, with Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders) giving an astonishing performance on this heart-wrenching meditation on love, loss and living. Featuring Teho Teardo’s compositions, the production premieres in London at the Barbican on 25 March with a sold out run of dates going into April.
Grief Is The Thing With Feathers tells the story of a crow, two motherless children and their father, who is haunted by both terrible and funny memories. Crow just wants to take care of them all and won’t leave the house until that’s done. In the play, music evokes their dead mother. Teardo explains, “it passes through the walls like in a membrane and becomes something else, it’s not what you hear, it’s what you think you’re listening to. Music becomes the sound of thoughts, like sonar echoes it measures loss and grief.”
On ‘A Bit About Ghosts’, the cellos form a wall of sound that opens the album is a continuous dialog between strings and electronics, percussions and slide guitars. Track after track, Teardo investigates several possibilities of interaction between strings and electronics, completely dependent on each other: one is wave and the other is shore.
Teardo explains, “Strings here aren’t a matter of arrangement, they build a powerful structure. Nothing needs to be adorned here, no embellishments here, it’s about grief. Even when the music evokes the mother, her warmth and safety are delivered through distant voices full of debris, like a dark matter whose limits we don’t know.”
This is probably Teho Teardo’s darkest work to date, an emotional lesson in survival where all elements involved are waiting for their reinstatement into the sphere of light.
Writing about the composition, the book’s author, Max Porter said: “The music for Grief Is The Thing with Feathers sounds to me, now, like my childhood. It sounds like the loss of a parent. It sounds like playing with my brother. It sounds like listening in to adult conversations. It sounds like growing up, making mistakes, writing things down, tearing them up, failing, trying again, falling in love. It sounds like remembering and mis-remembering realising they are in tune with each other, teaching us gently how to live in this strange world. 
It’s hard to listen to Teho’s music without feeling profoundly sad, and very hopeful. And this is good. It is his gift to us. 
It sounds like imaginary territories perfectly bleaching into real ones. 
To me it sounds like the scratch of my pen on a page. Like the pitter patter scrape of bone-on-wood, an imaginary crow walking across a real stage. It is bird-like. It is children talking in their sleep. 
Teho’s music doesn’t sound like these things, it feels like these things. 
It’s a part of me, and a part of you. 
Teho understands. He read the book, he looked me in the eye, he watched the director and the actor whispering, huddling, dreaming how a literary thing could become a theatrical thing without betraying it, and he understood immediately. As if he could already hear it. 
He has always been hearing it. We simply needed to meet.”
Teho Teardo is preparing a new album release for later this year, produced by the Feltrinelli Foundation and inspired by the musical scores contained within the pages of the Enclopedia of Diderot and D’Alembert (1751), whose original copy is kept in the archive of the Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation.
Grief Is The Thing With Feathers Tracklisting
1 A Bit About Ghosts
2 This Is The Story Of How Your Wife Died
3 London Offered Us Possible Mothers
4 A Demon Who Fed On Grief
5 Hop Sniff And Tackle
6 You Fucked A Dentist
7 Knelt On Her Thigh
8 Unfinished. Beautiful. Everything.
Grief Is The Thing With Feathers theatrical production
25 March – 13 April – London, Barbican Theatre SOLD OUT
‘London Offered Us Possible Mothers’ –
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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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