Brett Anderson and Charles Hazlewood announce new Paraorchestra album ‘Death Songbook’

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Paraorchestra, driven by leader Charles Hazlewood and Suede’s Brett Anderson, have announced the collaborative 12-track album Death Songbook. It is comprised of original compositions and reimagined songs by the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen, Mercury Rev, Japan, Black, Depeche Mode, Skeeter Davis, Jacques Brel and Suede.

In addition to featuring the award-winning conductor Hazlewood and Suede frontman Anderson, the new album features special guests in Nadine Shah, Gwenno, Sons of Kemet’s Seb Rochford, and Portishead’s Adrian Utley. It is released on April 19th via World Circuit / BMG.

Notably, Paraorchestra is the world’s only ensemble featuring professional disabled and non-disabled musicians, playing a unique mix of traditional orchestral, acoustic and electronic instruments, as well as assistive technology. The group aims to reimagine what an orchestra can be in the contemporary era. 

During the pandemic, the founder and artistic director of Paraorchestra, Hazlewood, happened across the idea of “very delicate re-imaginings” of morbidly beautiful and poignantly sombre songs, calling it Death Songbook.

He then discussed the idea with his friend Anderson, who was struck by the concept and agreed to help curate and sing across the 12 songs. This includes the lead single, a cover of Echo and The Bunnymen’s ‘The Killing Moon’.

“The only rule,” Hazlewood says, “is that all the songs have to have a relationship to death or the death of love.”

Anderson explained: “The Death Songbook was an idea Charles came up with during the bleak days of lockdown. As soon as he suggested it, I was sold. I loved the idea of curating a suite of songs about loss and sadness and regret.”

He continued: “I’ve always found happy songs depressing, it’s been the murkier themes that have somehow sounded more joyous to me. Songs about doubt and fear and grief confront feelings we all struggle with, so to know that we are not alone in that fight can be quietly life-affirming.”

Listen to their version of ‘The Killing Moon’ below.

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