Thursday, March 18, 2010

More Than Just a Shoemaniac.

Imelda Marcos is best known as current history's best example of extravagant corruption. Her infamous collection of nearly 3,000 shoes is her legacy amongst most who know her name; however, David Byrne (former Talking Head and current bike warrior/music producer/music maker/art installer) is trying to change all that. He's made an entire multi-media project called Here Lies Love that weaves the tale of the early life of Imelda and Estrella Campas, the woman who raised her.

The project includes a lushly orchestrated double disc set of songs written by Byrne and Fatboy Slim which feature quite the stunning stable of guest vocalists. Sia, St. Vincent, Santigold, Natalie Merchant, and Roisin Murphy are but a few of the voices that lend their pipes to telling a story of a singing Beauty Queen who became a political fire storm by looking the part and oozing charm. Her signature strategy was her brand of Handbag Diplomacy, which she employed in times of stress. Basically it was the theory that if there was a problem, all she needed was to grab her cutest handbag, board a plane, and show up to charm her way into being. Apparently it worked for a while...until her husband's corruption brought the walls down around her and revealed her massive fortune of footwear that kind of angered the starving Philippino population she was representing.

Santigold's sings while found news footage of Imelda's charm in action reels.

For the record, Byrne makes not one mention of the shoes in his project. Instead, he's interested in what drives a powerful woman to craft a life of show. Also, Imelda had a thing for disco that fascinated Byrne. Regardless of the music's background, it stands on its own. So listen to learn, or listen to listen. The album is released on April 6th and a gallery presentation of the videos and book it inspired follows.

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