8/8/12

Leah White Sings about Houston's Julia Ideson Library

Image [cc]euthman
I was hopping from venue to venue at the Houston Press Music Awards last weekend, when I popped in on Leah White & The Magic Mirrors' show at Pete's Dueling Piano Bar to listen to Leah's songs about all things Houston. About three songs into her set, Leah calls out to the crowd and asks "who here knows about the Julia Ideson Library?" Being the big library geek that I am, of course, I stuck my hand up and gave a big "thumbs up" to a song being written about an addition being added on to the main Houston Public Library (HPL) building complex.

I have watched over the past few years as the building addition went up across the street from my office. Last year I had the pleasure of speaking at the same conference with HPL's Associate Director for Planning & Facilities, Wendy Heger, at Rice University. Heger told us all the great story of how the designs of an addition to the Ideson library were scrapped decades ago, only to be revived, using many of the original specifications, and how the Julia Ideson Library ended up being one of the 'greenest' library buildings in the world.

Leah setting up for a show.
I asked Leah White to tell me how it was she was came up with the idea to write an entire album about Houston landmarks and how her audiences (mainly school aged children… although it was a 21+ crowd last weekend) react to hearing these songs.
LW: Sarah Gish, a local Houston preservationist, found out that I had just written the official song of the Houston Zoo, Beautiful Day. She is on the Houston Historic Architectural Commission with the City of Houston and they were looking to find creative and fun ways to celebrate Houston's 175th Birthday. So she contacted me and I wrote 14 original songs about landmarks that they had picked.

GL: And the Julia Ideson Library song? How did it get included in the tribute to Houston's 175th birthday?

LW: The Julia Ideson was chosen because of its history and renovation/preservation efforts in its construction. Houston has a history of tearing down all of its historic buildings and this one was actually preserved. Phoebe Tudor, a supportive Houstonian and preservationist, embraced my album. She was one of the leaders on the Julia Ideson board and she hosted a party for the release of my album at her beautiful home last September.

GL: How do you come up with the inspiration to write lyrics and music for something like a public library building?

LW: When I wrote the song, I thought about my audiences. Typically, I've been an artist for families but for this album I was writing for all Houstonians. A song about a library had to be rockin' because just the thought of singing a song about a library makes most people think it might sound subdued/ lame/quiet/ studious. Libraries are far from boring so I created lyrics about opening and exploring a "big world." So, I turned the song into punk using strong power chords giving it a lot of rhythm and energy.

GL: What sort of things stand out to you about the library and how do you include that in your lyrics?

LW: I focused on the Julia Ideson's purpose as special collections. I write lyrics about original copies of "Moby Dick" and "Alice in Wonderland." Homage to special collections is also captured in the lyrics "this book is like magic in my mind. read the words and go through time. Alice in Wonderland and all the nursery rhymes stay young, forever preserved in time."

GL: What is it that you wanted to convey in the song?

LW: In this song, I wanted the Julia Ideson Library to be a magical world preserving time and history. I wanted this song to be rocking because it was the genre of music least expected. I like to surprise people in this way with my music.
Julia Ideson Library from my office
Click on the embedded song below to hear Leah White and The Magic Mirrors sing about the great big world of the Julia Ideson Library. Leah's music can be purchased on iTunesAmazon or CDBaby, and you can learn more about her other projects at LeahWhiteMusic.com and the Our Roots Are Strong website.

So click play and sing along to the Julia Ideson Library (Big World)…



Julia Ideson Library (big world)

Go with me today away
Like magic we’ll float away
The walls of this place will come down
With every word a new world is found

Chorus
It’s a big world It’s a big world
Full of books I’d like to read
It’s a big world It’s a big, big world
Waiting for me at the Julia Ideson Library

This place is magic in my mind
Read a book and go through time
Alice and wonderland and all the nursery rhymes
Stay young forever preserved in time

Chorus
It’s a big world It’s a big world
Full of books I’d like to read
It’s a big world It’s a big, big world
Waiting for me at the Julia Ideson Library

Bridge
Leave school and noise behind
Homework at home and unwind
Like magic we’ll travel float and see
Oh I wonder who I’m gonna be

Go with me today away
Like magic we’ll float away

Chorus
It’s a big world It’s a big world
Full of books I’d like to read
It’s a big world It’s a big, big world
Waiting for me at the Julia Ideson Library

Chorus
It’s a big world It’s a big world
Full of books I’d like to read
It’s a big world It’s a big, big world
Waiting for me at the Julia Ideson Library


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1 comments:

Sarah Gish said...

Thanks, Greg, for including me in this write-up on Leah's album! We're so excited to get Houstonians excited about our history. Please tell the world about the album - www.ourrootsarestrong.com. And if you'd like to know more about what I love about Houston, check out my Facebook page on Houston Gems, www.facebook.com/houstongems.

 

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