Letters to Distant Cities is a multi-media project curated and produced by photographer and videographer Murat Eyuboglu, exploring urban solitude through the poetry of Turkish-American poet Mustafa Ziyalan. The album features vocals by singer-songwriter Shara Worden of My Brighest Diamond and Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Penelope along with Clare Muldaur Manchon of Clare and the Reasons, and musical accompaniment by indie-classical multi-instrumentalist/composer Rob Moose of yMusic.
The project, released March 29 2011, is a spoken-word album bookended by two original songs: My Brightest Diamond’s ”The Sea” and Clare and the Reasons’ ”Invisible.” “The Sea” opens the album and cracks the door to a mythical realm, into which Shara Worden enters and embodies the female persona of Ziyalan’s poetry, which fellow poet Murat Nemet-Nejat remarks “reprents a social reality beyond national borders” and “points to the prophetic nature of Turkish poetry becoming a medium for a global sensibility.” Wordens twenty-four spoken poetic snapshots are connected by Rob Moose’s incidental reflections and interventions for violin. After the poetry, “Invisible” closes the album, drifting wistfully to its bittersweet conclusion.
In addition to the CD, the album package includes a set of 24 pristine keepsake cards, comprising a photographic illustration for each of Zilayan’s poems collected on the recording. The images were captured by project visionary Murat Eyuboglu with model Jamie Ansley. Designer Adam Frint brings musical, poetic, and photographic elements together, creating a physical connection to the album’s sense of memorabilia.
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