Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Save The Best For Last: Interview with Guillaume Kashima

 “We asked friends, musicians and other "music obsessed" ones to make a seven songs podcast as a soundtrack for their funeral."

Pat McNally: Your project, Save the Best for Last, features podcasts from an eclectic and creative group of people, with the brief of putting together a seven song podcast of music for their own funerals.  I’ll tell you right away that I wish I had more clients like your friends, as it’s not often that I get to play the music of the Baka Forest People of South Cameroon, The Mills Brothers ‘Smoke Rings’ or Bjork’s Aurora at a funeral.  This project is a wonderful way for us to experience new music, or familiar music in a new context, as well as for us to get a new perspective on what kind of expression can be meaningful at a funeral.  Please tell me how this project started and what your goals were in pursuing it. 
Guillaume Kashima: It started at my grandfather's funeral, few years ago. We were asked to choose a song. My mother and my uncle argued as she proposed a Nana Mouskouri song, my grandpa's favorite singer. He said it was not appropriate ...or something like that, I can't really remember. Then there was the ceremony with this cheap random song that they play when nobody can agree on one. It was a really sad moment. 
Nad Love Less' Podcast

1 . Slowdive : When The Sun Hits (1993)
2 . Suede : The Next Life (1993)
3 . Nick Drake : From The Morning (1972)
4 . Mazzy Star : Into Dust (1993)
5 . Johnny Cash : I See A Darkness (2000) ~ Will Oldham Cover (1999)
6 . Antony And The Johnsons : Hope There’s Someone (2005)
7 . Echo & The Bunnymen : The Killing Moon (All Night Version) (1984)

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Photo by Nobuyoshi Araki “Kajou” (2000)

SBL Nad LOVELESS by savethebestforlast

PM: What are some of the songs you would have chosen to play at your own funeral?  Has your involvement in this project changed what you would choose?   
GK: I still don't know what I would play. I guess that's also why I ask people to do it ... So I can get inspired. I have started to work on it a thousand times.

PM: How did you go about selecting this diverse and creative group of collaborators to create these podcasts?

GK: I was in charge of the first 10 ones. I wasn't really sure about how it was going to be so I asked close friends, who are related to music or for whom music takes a big part of their life. There needs to be trust also, because it may sound weird to be asked a podcast for your own funeral. Some refused, but I would say, I'm really glad about the ones you can listen today. 
Henning Specht's Podcast

1 . Olivier Messiaen : Louange à l'immortalité de Jésus (1940)
2 . Nico : My Only Child (1970)
3 . The Mills Brothers : Smoke Rings (1932)
4 . Roy Orbison : Crying (1962)
5 . Elliott Smith : Everything Means Nothing To Me (2000)
6 . Henning Specht : Daddy's Gone (2008)
7 . J.S. Bach : Jesu Bleibet Meine Freude, by Dinu Lipatti (1950)

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Photo by Valerie Belin “untitled” (2008)

PM: Based on your impression of the participants, have you been surprised by the contents any of the playlists?  Based on the podcasts, whose funeral would you make sure you attended?

Guillaume: I would say no. As I said, those are close friends and I really see them through their selection. Not that I would know all the songs they selected, but I was not surprised by the tone. Sad, melancolic, happy or at moments, even funny, it's often a good picture of everyone's personnality. As an "amateur" of music, I could notice that people from and after my generation listen to the same bands. Globalisation I guess. For the next ones, I wish I can ask older people, who got other references and backgrounds. You woud be a perfect collaborator, if you're up for it!
Jules Julien's Podcast

1 . Schubert : Ein Wolf Im Schafspelz, by Josephine Foster (2006)
2 . Piero Umiliani : Crepusculo sul mare (1969)
3 . Nico : Secret Side (1974)
4 . John Zorn : Invitation to a suicide (2002)
5 . Chopin : Valse, Op. 69, No. 2 en Si Mineur, by Alexandre Tharaud (2006)
6 . Ghedalia Tazartes : Tazartes Transport (1977)
7 . Chicks On Speed / Kreidler : Where The Wild Roses Grow (2001)

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Photo by Guido Mocafico “Nature Morte à la Vanité” (2007)

SBL Jules JULIEN by savethebestforlast
PM: I would absolutely be up for it, Thank you!  What is next for you and for this project? 
GK: The next season is curated by Marie.  She chose the collaborators and the images that illustrate each podcast.  

Please visit Save The Best For Last for the full Season One Podcasts, and more information about the participants.  My thanks to Mr. Kashima for sharing this work on The Daily Undertaker. 


gloriamundi said...

Outstanding idea, very interesting, thanks Pat for a classic posting and some new tunes!

Goneferalinidaho said...

I love this idea and plan to listen to all the stuff you posted here. Thanks for sharing.

Paul Hensby said...

Great idea. My Last Song asks people to contribute fave five farewell songs, which is a very similar idea.
Have a look here and contribute yours please. http://www.mylastsong.com/advice/159/115/music/fave-five-last-songs/

d2chauffeur said...

Two songs that I think are good funeral songs weren't used on here. TCM used them in their end of the year memorial. Headlights by Sophie Hunger and Press on by Robinella.

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Funeral service faces a crisis of relevance, and I am passionate about keeping the best traditions of service alive while adapting to the changing needs of families. Feel free to contact me with questions, or to share your thoughts on funeral service, ritual, and memorialization. dailyundertaker@gmail.com