It’s difficult to put a word on what allows a specific collection of musicians to be successful, initially. Sometimes it’s luck, sometimes it’s chemistry, sometimes it’s fate and sometimes the public is simply ready to receive. In the instance of Genghis Barbie, it was all of the above. Our horns blended beautifully at the first rehearsal, as though we had played together for years. Future potential stared us down at our first photo shoot, when we saw ourselves through the eyes and lens of NYC-photographer Spencer Lloyd (it doesn’t hurt that Spencer’s a photo-taking genius).
We made an incredible CD titled “Genghis Barbie,” of which I’m extremely proud – this thing sounds goooood. It’s a one-of-a-kind tribute to horn playing. Support from friends and fans, good tunes, stellar musicianship and sheer fun made this album. Don’t be embarrassed if you haven’t heard of Genghis Barbie or the CD yet! This is all still fairly new, as Genghis Barbie is only in her second year. The music on the album speaks for itself: Toto’s “Africa,” Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” A-ha’s “Take on Me,” Bjork’s “Anchor Song,” Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose” ….
Covering already famous songs is not a new recipe for gaining popularity; however, covering the tunes without a vocalist and on four like-instruments was a feat. People ask who created the arrangements. Danielle Kuhlmann (Velvet Barbie) arranged about half of the tracks on the CD and we were incredibly fortunate to have awesome musicians as family and friends. Michael Atkinson’s energetic version of A-ha’s “Take on Me” has proven a crowd favorite, Brad Kerr Green’s “Africa” by Toto (yeah, you know it…it just takes a minute to recall) has received rave reviews, Velvet’s “Somebody to Love” is perfectly written for four horns and her brother, Evan Kuhlmann, arranged our first single release “Kiss from a Rose.” Two personal favorites are “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us” (Alison Krauss/Robert Plant version, arranged by James Blachly) and John Glover’s ethereal rendition of Bjork’s “Anchor Song.” Now that I’m talking about it… the whole album’s pretty darn listenable.
We recorded the CD at Dreamflower Studio in Bronxville, NY (twenty min north of NYC on the Metronorth train) with Jeremy Tressler. One of us had previously collaborated with Jeremy and he came highly recommended. The experience was absolutely perfect for four acoustic instruments. Jeremy is insanely gifted at recording, processing, mastering, photography, art, thinking, whatever… a sound engineer that weighs the quality against the highest possible standard. Horn legend John Clark produced three tracks (we recorded one of his original tunes as an interlude) and Brad Kerr Green also produced three tracks. The CD package was designed by Jeff Meininger.
It was truly a privilege to be a member of Genghis Barbie and involved in the making of this album. Some highlights from the past year were performing at the International Horn Symposium in San Francisco, placing third in WNYC’s Battle of the Boroughs and meeting tons of amazing musicians, friends and fans. Watch GB’s mockumentary “In a Barbie World: The Rise and Continuous Rise of Genghis Barbie.” Discover the CD and catch Genghis Barbie in concert this year. They’ll be bringing a fierce musical experience as they move forward with their newest fourth member, Electric Barbie.
~jungle barbie, former Barbie.