Today Jammerzine has an interview with Nu Deco Ensemble co-founder and composer/arranger/producer Sam Hyken. Today is the day to have this as well because today marks the release of Nu Deco’s collaboration live album with Larkin Poe titled ‘Paint the Roses: Live in Concert‘.
In this interview we talk with Sam about the live album as well as other collaborations plus a glimpse of what Nu Deco Ensemble’s mission is and what its all about.
Fans can watch the full performance via Facebook HERE today (September 17) @12pm U.S. Eastern.
Acclaimed roots-rock duo Larkin Poe has partnered with innovative hybrid orchestra Nu Deco Ensemble for Paint the Roses: Live in Concert — a new album out today that reinterprets Larkin Poe’s music, including their 2020 release Self Made Man and more, through an orchestral lens.
“‘Mad as a Hatter’ is my personal favorite song from our collaboration with Larkin Poe, as well as to have arranged, so it is no surprise to me that it remains one of their most requested works,” Nu Deco Ensemble’s Sam Hyken said. “The combination of the twists and turns of the song’s musical journey combined with the powerful subject matter allows for the orchestra to truly shine and heighten the emotion. We are honored to play a part in helping this special song be released to the public for the very first time.”
“For me, this collaboration and connection we have with Larkin Poe is epitomized by this powerful track,” Nu Deco Ensemble’s Jacomo Bairos said. “We’re humbled and grateful to share with people around the world who may be going through their own personal journey with mental health issues.”
Paint the Roses documents a collaborative, streamed concert by the two artistic groups in December, 2020 at Miami’s North Beach Bandshell. The performance was part of Nu Deco’s 2020-21 virtual and socially-distanced concert season, which featured the ensemble’s genre-bending orchestral music and its powerful first collaboration with Larkin Poe.
Larkin Poe — a Nashville-based sister-duo comprising multi-instrumentalists Rebecca and Megan Lovell — had recorded their fifth album Self Made Man (which topped the Billboard Blues Album chart and UK’s Independent and Americana Albums charts) in the summer of 2020 but could not take the music on the road due to COVID-19 restrictions. Nu Deco Ensemble’s collaborative concert provided the duo their first chance to play the new record’s songs for a live audience. The tracks on Self Made Man (and now on Paint the Roses) draw on wide influences but are rooted in the creative heritage of Larkin Poe’s beloved American South and Southern Gothic themes.“During the challenging times of this past year, music served the critical purpose of connection to one another,” Nu Deco Ensemble Co-Founders and Artistic Directors Jacomo Bairos and Sam Hyken explain. “Among those valuable connections was our first collaboration with the amazing duo Larkin Poe and the live album that resulted from it.”
Larkin Poe added, “Before we could even speak in full sentences, our introduction to the language of music began with classical violin and piano lessons; ever since then, music has been the bedrock upon which we’ve built our lives. Over the years we have drawn inspiration from a wide range of genres, but it has always been a dream of ours to find a way to honor our classical upbringing. ‘Paint The Roses’ was born out of a fortuitous, one-night collaboration with Nu Deco Ensemble. In hearing our Roots Rock n Roll repertoire reinterpreted through an orchestral lens, it felt like a creative circle was being completed; we wanted to share the performance on a grander scale and, thus, our first-ever live album came into being. We are deeply indebted to Sam Hyken for writing such incredible orchestra arrangements and also to Jacomo Bairos for conducting such a magical evening of music.”
Nu Deco Ensemble is a Miami-based, contemporary hybrid orchestra (called “a chamber orchestra for the 21st century by The New York Times) whose work has included collaborations with Wyclef Jean, Tune-Yards, PJ Morton, Macy Gray, Jacob Collier, Ben Folds and others. The Ensemble has reimagined versions of tracks by artists including Daft Punk, Outkast and classic rock artists as well as new music from some of today’s most exciting living composers. Nu Deco was founded by conductor Jacomo Bairos (who has led orchestras including the Boston Pops, San Francisco and St. Louis Symphonies) and composer/arranger/producer Sam Hyken (a composer commissioned by orchestras and artists including Angelique Kidjo, Bad Bunny, Tank and the Bangas, and many others) — two of classical music’s most in-demand and adventurous figures.
Since its inception in 2015, Nu Deco Ensemble has exploded onto Miami’s eclectic musical scene, captivating audiences in both traditional concert venues and alternative local venues, and fusing innovative, genre-bending orchestral performances and collaborations with the highest levels of musical artistry — leading Billboard to call their music “sonically spellbinding.” The Ensemble released a self-titled debut album in 2019, and Humans vs Robots – An Orchestral Tribute to Daft Punk in 2020. Nu Deco is reimagining what an orchestra can achieve today. It is a flexible and innovative hybrid orchestra that celebrates living composers, reimagines all genres of music, provides education programs for Miami’s young people, and collaborates with a wide range of diverse musical guests, composers, choreographers, dancers, and mixed media artists.
Called “self-made badasses” by American Songwriter and “a sister act with staying power” by NPR, the Grammy-nominated, multi-instrumental sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe are creating their own brand of Roots Rock ‘n’ Roll: gritty, soulful, and flavored by their Southern heritage. Originally from Atlanta and currently living in Nashville, they are descendants of tortured artist and creative genius Edgar Allan Poe.
Formed in 2010, Larkin Poe has released five studio albums, including 2018’s Venom & Faith — nominated for the 2020 GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Blues Album — and 2020’s Self Made Man; both albums reached #1 on Billboard’s Blues Album chart. Their latest album, Kindred Spirits, was released in November, 2020 and features covers of songs by Neil Young, Lenny Kravitz, Elvis Presley, Elton John and others. Larkin Poe’s performance at the 2014 Glastonbury Festival was cited as ‘best discovery’ by The Observer. They performed as part of the backing band for the 2017 MusiCares tribute to Tom Petty, accompanying Don Henley and Jackson Browne, and were invited by producer T Bone Burnett to perform on the New Basement Tapes album Lost on the River alongside Marcus Mumford, Elvis Costello and Rhiannon Giddens. They have collaborated widely and toured the world, most recently headlining the 2020 Mahindra Blues Festival in Mumbai, India.