Eapen Leubner of the Denver Art Song Project has been doing what he can to promote the art-song genre in the Mile High City since 2015, performing across the Front Range, recording multiple albums and releasing videos.
His latest effort, a collaboration with Aaron Vega and the People's Theatre of Denver, is a music-video version of Lee Holby's "The Jabberwocky," based on the poem by Lewis Carroll.
The art-song genre typically involves a classically trained vocalist accompanied by a piano or another instrument; the songs are often musical renditions of poems. The Denver Art Song Project's performances are as likely to take place in bars as they are in churches or concert halls.
Art songs, which are smaller and less grandiose in scale than operas or symphonies, are tougher to market, and Leubner admits it's been hard to draw regular crowds in Denver.
The music video, which mixes live-action images of Leubner singing, along with animation and puppetry that evokes the style of Czech animator Jan Švankmajer, is a moody interpretation of Carroll's creepy, nonsensical poem.
"We want to educate people who are outside of the art-song fan base to say, here are these little classical pieces, they're really cool, and we want to get you started on it," says Leubner, who notes that "The Jabberwocky" is just the first of many collaborations between the Denver Art Song Project and the People's Theatre of Denver.
Catch the Denver Art Song Project's upcoming April Fool's performances at 7 p.m. Friday, April 20, at Arts at Cabrini, 6673 West Chatfield Avenue in Littleton; 4 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at Gregory Allicar Museum, 1400 Remington Street in Fort Collins; and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 22, at the Wash Park Center for Music and Arts, 400 South Williams Street. For tickets, prices and more information, go to the Denver Art Song Project website.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.