I’m Joe Kendrick, producer of the independent video series Lingua Musica. I am also a radio host at WNCW Spindale where, among many other things, I produce a music talk show called What It Is. The idea for Lingua Musica sprang from my experience in radio and a desire to create a new medium for music discussion with artists, their colleagues and media professionals. I like to help make culture and build community, and my hope is to make Lingua Musica into a self-supporting program that gives the audience a rare insight into the people behind the music that they love.
In 2010, I launched the first version of the show with the help of friends and acquaintances in music and media from western NC and upstate SC. It was an ambitious project, a show that was filmed at a venue and streamed live to the internet, where viewers could comment on and question the folks on stage. I was the host of show, and interjected the viewer comments by monitoring our Twitter and Facebook streams via an iPad. We had a panel of several artists and music professionals on stage, discussing topics like “What Would You Do In The Music World If You Were King or Queen For A Day?”, “Songs That Get Stuck In My Head” and “Upstate and Western NC Music History,” which we would talk about for roughly fifteen minutes before breaking and letting our musical guests play a song.
The first two shows were at the White Horse in Black Mountain, NC, in August and September, and the third was at The Showroom in Spartanburg, SC, on November 30th. John Watson filmed and edited all three shows, and in The Showroom episode, we were joined by emcee Barbie Angell and musical guests The Antibodies and The Pulse dancers. Paul Riddle of The Marshall Tucker Band, Joe Bennett of The Sparkletones, plus producer, performer and songwriter David Lee and archivist and producer Jason Perlmutter made up the panel. The link to the video of the first part of that show is here.
It was a stormy night, so much so that the annual Dickens of A Christmas was cancelled. Sirens went off a number of times as tornadoes passed through the area. Despite the bad weather, there remained a crowd at The Showroom and we went on with the broadcast, which was well worth all the work and preparation. The band was tight and focused and the panel had plenty to say about the musical heroes of the region, rare and vintage vinyl and analog recording. The audience jumped in on the conversation and we were covered in the Herald-Journal and on Channel 7. It was wonderful to be there, to see everyone taking part in a show designed to bring everyone closer together from their love of music, and realize that I had put it in motion.
Afterwards, I went home and collapsed for a few days. It was an exhausting, albeit exciting, experience, and I knew there had to be changes for the show to succeed. For one, streaming the show live to the internet was a technical hurdle that we never pulled off without some snafu or another. Also, the quality of the video was never very good, being hampered by our inability to afford either the bandwidth necessary to upload the video with better definition nor a paid account that took out the intrusive advertising. My dream of #linguamusica becoming a trending topic on twitter was light years away, it seemed, as there were as many or more people in the live audience as there were watching the show online. I let the project lay dormant over the winter and thought about new directions and new dialects.
Upon coming back home from Easter vacation, the idea hit me: interview artists on shorter videos. Instead of making a grand production involving lots of people, produce simpler shows with an interviewer and artist(s) talking about their music, their friends and colleagues and their passions outside of music. I focused on artists from or passing through Asheville, and teamed up with a new group of volunteer videographers and host interviewers. Barbie Angell, a key partner since the beginning, was there to push the project forward once more as well.
Since May of 2011, Lingua Musica has made 30 shows, interviewing everyone from up-and-coming acts like RBTS WIN! to regional heroes Jonathan Scales Fourchestra to international stars Lloyd Cole and Rosanne Cash. Myself, Barbie Angell, Kelly Denson, Erin Scholze and James Cassara interviewed the artists while Tony Preston, Jackson Stahl and Jesse Hamm did the bulk of the videography and editing. Music magazine Blurt is a sponsor of the show and regularly profiles our episodes such as this article about our interview with Danny Barnes.
Going forward, we seek more sponsors and broaden the scope of the show to include more footage of the artists playing and singing, whether in concert or just for our cameras, and to shoot more interviews at sponsor businesses. Of course, we also plan on reaching out to more artists from the region and those playing here in our effort to document how music is the universal language. I hope you will subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can see all of our shows, and let us know about your own musical story. Our show is just the beginning of the conversation, really, and truly comes alive when you take part.
Yours in music,