That band on America’s Got Talent was the Sons of Serendip, and it was possibly the first time a harp has ever been seen onstage at this competition (someone correct me if I’m wrong. (William Close’s Earth Harp, however cool, is not a real harp. I mean really. The thing sounds like a cello. Why not call it Earth Cello? Whatever.)). The band consists of Micah Christian (vocals), Cordaro Rodriguez (piano), Kendall Ramseur (cello), and Mason Morton, the harpist. I know Mason from a summer festival that we both attended several years ago when I was in college.
I have to be honest, I don’t ever watch shows like America’s Got Talent, or American Idol, or Dancing with the Stars, or whatever. For one thing, I don’t have television. And for another, none of those shows start with a “B” or end in “uffy the Vampire Slayer.” But Mason Morton posted the first clip of Sons of Serendip playing on AGT on Facebook, and I was immediately hooked. I actually had one of those Will Ferrell (you know, from Elf) moments - I jumped up and down and yelled, “I know him!"
It is pretty cool to see a harpist that you know on national television. It is pretty cool for harpists to see any harpist on national television. One of my students came in to her lesson one day all excited - "Have you seen America’s Got Talent? There’s a group that has a harp in it!!” When I told her that I had met him before, she was amazed. For one lesson, I was the coolest harp teacher on the planet to this girl.
ANYWAY, Sons of Serendip just came out with their first album and I’ve been listening to it almost nonstop for the past couple of days. They play covers of popular songs, which sound very interesting given their unique instrumentation. I’m not really into pop music either (wow, I really suck at the whole pop culture thing) so I’m not familiar with all of the songs on the album. The ones I do know are:
1. Somewhere Only We Know (Originally by Keane) - this was the first song that they performed on America’s Got Talent. The youtube video shows shots of people crying in the audience. Seriously, it’s that beautiful.
2. Bring Me To Life (Originally by Evanescence) - I know, right? Sounds like a weird choice for a band that isn’t some kind of pop-trying-to-be-heavy metal group, but this cover is actually really gorgeous. And when that chorus comes in it sounds like some kind of pop music opera thing. SO COOL.
3. Don’t You Worry Child - this is the second time I’ve heard a cover of this song, and I still don’t know the original. The other one is, of course, Postmodern Jukebox’s version, which is very different but also awesome.
4. Hallelujah (Originally by Leonard Cohen) - this is probably the 483759379th cover of this song that I’ve heard, and I am still not sick of it.
If you’re up on your pop music, you probably know all the other songs - Wicked Game, How Will I Know, I Can’t Make You Love Me, and Ordinary World. They all have a similar gorgeous, silky smooth sound. And obviously, things are better when they involve harp. After following the group through America’s Got Talent, and now listening to their first album, there are two things that I’m wondering. A) Will we hear some original songs (they did post one on Facebook awhile that I really liked)? and B) What would they sound like playing a more upbeat song?
Maybe on the next album?!
I got their songs on Amazon. I think they’re on Spotify now, too.