See music video here:
BRANDEN & JAMES, cello and vocal have just released their next music video: a virtual collaboration with world-renowned Canadian concert cellist, Amanda Forsyth. The pair of seasoned classical-crossover performers, described by NPR music as having “dazzling cello…soaring tenor vocals” pay tribute to those grieving and who are unable to say goodbye to their loved ones infected with COVID-19 as they complete their lives in hospitals around the world.
Amongst the most heartbreaking stories to emerge from the global pandemic are of those who have been forced to say goodbye to their friends and family via phone calls and video conferences. Perhaps more tragic is the reality that these victims are dying alone in hospitals without a familiar face for comfort.
The unsuspecting collaboration began in the New York City apartment building in which the three musicians reside. In their Upper West Side lobby gym, Ms. Forsyth was demonstrating to her personal trainer proper cello posture. Branden says, “I was stretching on a mat nearby when I glanced over and saw a woman holding her body and limbs in the position of a cellist playing their instrument. I couldn’t help but walk over and ask her if she was a cellist”. After a short conversation, Amanda revealed she fronts orchestras all over the world as a cello soloist and plays in The Zukerman Trio alongside her husband, Pinchas Zukerman. “My mouth dropped open in front of her when she mentioned his name. It was embarrassing. I wasn’t expecting her to say she was married to one of our classical music idols” quips Branden James, a season 8 finalist of America’s Got Talent. Pinchas Zukerman, a 21-time Grammy nominee, and two-time Grammy winner reigns as one of today’s most sought after violin and viola soloists.
Over the course of the past year, the musicians would chat back and forth when they saw each other in their lobby between their own respective musical tours. Since COVID-19 has confined everyone to their homes, a beautiful friendship has bloomed. The two married couples have occasionally shared a socially distant glass of wine on their buildings rooftop, and their stories of the road. “We were surprised to find out how much respect they shared for classical-crossover musicians, and how much they said they envied the things that Branden and I get to do with our classical training,” says James Clark, the duo’s cellist, and musical arranger. Since their time in isolation, the couples have been exchanging laughs and musical ideas through FaceTime from just a few floors away.
On Easter Sunday, the group took to their rooftop and played a mini-concert for all of the people who come out to their balconies and windows at 7 pm each night, applauding the medical workers on the frontline. “We had such a lovely time making impromptu music together, we decided to virtually collaborate.”
The Largo movement of Dvořák’s New World Symphony which was first premiered by The New York Philharmonic in 1893 at Carnegie Hall, “Going Home,” has become a second name for this sentimental melody. Transcription by the name of “Going Home” for piano and voice was published by a student of Dvořák named William Arms Fisher in 1922.
“For me, this genre is called classical-crossover, but music doesn’t have a set of rules that describes who must play what style when. It’s such a treat to share worlds and to embark on this collaboration of trust and learning, and the discovery that we are all humans in this time together. We should never forget the power of music. It brings us all together and heals us. Having fellow musicians in my building has taken me away from the misery and worry that’s consumed me since this pandemic took ahold of New York City,” reflects Ms. Forsyth on the collaboration.
MORE ABOUT AMANDA FORSYTH
Canadian Juno award-winning cellist Amanda Forsyth is considered among her peers and critics alike to be one of the most dynamic cellists on the concert stage today. Describing a recent performance, California’s Ventura County Star raves: “In Forsyth’s hands, it was sheer magic.” She has achieved an international reputation as a premier soloist and chamber musician and previously enthralled audiences as the principal cellist of both The Calgary Philharmonic and Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestras. Her intense richness of tone, exceptional musicality, and passion are reminiscent of cellists of a former age. She captivates audiences with every phrase.
MORE ABOUT BRANDEN & JAMES
BRANDEN & JAMES, “a powerhouse cello and vocal duo” (The Fight Magazine, Los Angeles), brings the soulful timbre of James on his cello combined with Branden’s emotional and powerful vocals, creating a sound that leaves audiences feeling moved and inspired. “Not only are they talented and fantastic performers, but they are also incredible musicians. The velvet sound of James on the cello, mixed with Branden’s compelling vocal talent, creates a unique duo that leaves everyone mesmerized. I guarantee we’ll be hearing much more from them in their careers.” (Michael Orland Music Director, American Idol). Aside from being a soon to be published author, Branden James was a season 8 finalist on America’s Got Talent after spending years singing at The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Australian cellist James, Clark has served as touring cellist for Idina Menzel, Olivia Newton-John, and Lea Salonga. For more info about their upcoming concerts, please visit: https://brandenjames.com/tour/https://brandenjames.com/tour/