Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Songs that Went Around the World: the Backstory of PRESENTING PRINCESS SHAW


For the past four years, a young woman in New Orleans, Samantha Montgomery, has uploaded songs to YouTube using her iPhone. The songs are unaccompanied, raw, emotional, and beautiful dispatches from this very talented young woman who works in a nursing home by day and pursues a seemingly hopeless musical career by night.

One of her songs, which she calls "Give It Up", attracted the attention of Kutiman, an Israeli artist whose process involves taking various sections of musical performances found on YouTube - often things like bass lessons or violin recitals - and chopping them, looping them and recombining them into new songs, with accompanying videos. His work is very popular, and he has performed/exhibited at the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York among other venues. He was inspired by Montgomery's song and set to work creating an arrangement and video for it.

The accompaniment Kutiman chose for the song was especially inspired and the song, so private and personal, seems to open and flower in this context.

Here is the original song by Montgomery (aka Princess Shaw):


And here is the Kutiman "Through You Too" version:


The film PRESENTING PRINCESS SHAW, which plays at the AFS Cinema on Wednesday 9/28 and Monday 10/3, documents the life and work of both Montgomery and Kutiman as they work on their projects on different continents, and then we see the phenomenon emerge and Montgomery join Kutiman for a tour. Montgomery, who has faced a lot of challenges in life, is funny, sweet and indomitable, and she makes the movie run on her rhythm. It's an emotional and heartfelt film.

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