The Music of LIGHTSCAPES

This week’s post is by guest blogger Rocío De La Roca, Communications Associate at ArtsWestchester.  

To fans all around the world, Steve Pollak is “the Dude of Life,” lyricist and singer behind numerous hit songs by the jam-band Phish. Since his songwriting days for Phish, the “dude,” who toured with the Vermont band in the 1980s, continues to create mystifying music right here in Westchester.

Pollak and his Fluid Druid bandmate and longtime friend Charlie de Saint Phalle reunite for a second year to create an atmospheric soundtrack for the nighttime display, LIGHTSCAPES. Presented by the Historic Hudson Valley (HHV), LIGHTSCAPES is a state-of-the-art illuminated walk-through display filled with larger-than-life sculptures that are made from recycled material. Local artists, along with HHV staff, created these handmade springtime-themed creatures, including about 7,500 flowers, hundreds of butterflies, and more. While audiences explore Van Cortandt Manor, encounter a giant praying mantis sculpture, or walk under the belly of giant centipede, they will hear the visionary compositions of these two musicians.

“Charlie and I are a team and we have worked together to make music that adds to the experience of the extraordinary art,” says Pollak who is also a teacher for the Yonkers Public Schools. These Croton-based musicians worked with LIGHTSCAPES’ Creative Director Michael Natiello and HHV’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Rob Schweitzer, to establish the sounds and moods of each display.

The soundtrack complements each installation with a combination of insect sounds, string bass sounds, disco rhythms, classical sounds and funk. There is only a small difference in this year’s soundtrack, according to Pollak: “We recorded live music and incorporated sound effects with one detail in mind, which was that we wanted more funk sounds.” The two musicians added five new original tracks for new installations including a bubble tunnel and an interactive silhouette wall.

For these musicians, the inspiration comes from the artwork itself: “The idea of combining wildly creative artworks, light, and music is inspiring. To see the progress year after year is motivating and exciting,” states Pollak. Creating music for this event has been a rewarding experience for both Pollak and de Saint Phalle.  He adds: “I feel thrilled and honored to be a part of this wonderful project. It’s an amazing feeling to see the creative sculptures, light and music come to life in LIGHTSCAPES.

Due to popular demand, Historic Hudson Valley has extended the LIGHTSCAPES’ run through June 12. Audiences can visit the illuminated display on June 3-5 and 10-12.

To learn more about this event, visit hudsonvalley.org and to listen to the music of LIGHTSCAPES click here.

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