A New York Evening With Blonde Redhead
80 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249, USA
The GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to present an intimate conversation with Blonde Redhead followed by a performance at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY. The conversation will include a discussion moderated by Jillian Mapes about Blonde Redhead's latest album, Sit Down for Dinner, their creative process, and more.
Blonde Redhead is one of the many artists to be featured in the GRAMMY Museum’s New York City program series, which includes bringing a slate of the GRAMMY Museum’s renowned GRAMMY In The Schools Education Programs and Public Programs to the East Coast in partnership with the City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “A New York Evening With…” is generously supported by the Dawn and Brian Hoesterey Family Foundation.
ABOUT BLONDE REDHEAD:
“Life changes fast,” Joan Didion once wrote. “Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.”
In the spring of 2020, Blonde Redhead singer and multi-instrumentalist Kazu Makino encountered this passage from Didion’s 2005 memoir of grief, The Year of Magical Thinking, in which the author reflected on the devastating experience of witnessing her husband’s sudden death at the dinner table. Amid the profound uncertainty of those early pandemic months, Makino was thinking of her own parents far away in Japan; the then-lost ritual of congregating for dinner with family; and the heavy, omnipresent feeling that life could change in the instant for any of us.
With plainspoken language and incandescent melodies, Makino narrated these feelings on a pair of songs: “Sit Down for Dinner Pt I” and “Sit Down to Dinner Part II,” which helped title the band’s 10th full-length album. The title has a separate resonance for Blonde Redhead’s Italian twins Amedeo (singer/multi-instrumentalist) and Simone Pace (drummer) for whom dinner together is nonnegotiable. In turn, it's become a sacred ritual for Blonde Redhead as a band as well.
On Sit Down for Dinner, the understated yet visceral melodies charging each song create a foil to lyrics about the inescapable struggles of adulthood: communication breakdown in enduring relationships, wondering which way to turn, holding onto your dreams. Going into the record, Makino had recently spent time living on a tiny Italian island and pursuing solo music—an experience that instilled in her new confidence to experiment and have fun. She returned to New York as the world was locking down, quarantining with Amedeo and his partner upstate, where they focused on the music in seclusion. Immaculately structured, imbued with sensitivity, clarity, and resolve, Sit Down for Dinner was ultimately written and recorded over a five-year period spanning New York City, upstate, Milan and Tuscany.
Releasing Sit Down for Dinner in its 30th year, Blonde Redhead’s perseverance partially came in realizing that the process of making the record should necessarily be fun. “Usually I agonize and it’s painful for me to write music, but on this one, I didn’t suffer as much,” says Makino. “I wanted to put my foot down and say: we can have a nice time together. The record sounds quite optimistic.” Amedeo adds, “We do really respond to each other. We depend on each other for inspiration. Kazu completes what I start; Simone completes both with rhythm.”
Perhaps this gives the title Sit Down for Dinner yet another layer, as the music, fittingly, is a pleasure, with the ease of new conversation among familiar friends. Crucial to that equation are Blonde Redhead’s innate harmonic sensibilities, which Makino calls the core of the band. “We have a language we have kept,” she adds. “We try to change rhythms, concepts, and sounds. But that harmonic sensibility has stayed the same. It hits the same part of your heart.”
Show Time: 7:30pm
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