Playing on the borderline

  • Posted on: 19 September 2014
  • By: Irene

It's Friday TEDxFlourCity Fans!

We hope you have had a great week so far! We had a fun start to the week on Monday September 15 when we hosted our first salon of our salon series this season at Joe Bean! Despite the Festival of Food and other exciting events capturing the attention of our busy city we packed a full house—standing room only spaces included! Stay tuned to the blog later this month for a recap of our “Power of Public Spaces” salon.

This week we highlight another outstanding performance from TEDxFlourCity2014.

During their first performance at TEDxFlourCity2014 when the music starts, Passive Aggressives Anonymous (PAA) sounds like a string quartet. After a slow introduction singer-songwriter John Valenti ‘s guitar and vocals enter, the music picks up, and in his subdued voice he thanks God for…something you may not normally pray about.

“Some of my songs have--religious references in them. And some people might find them, I guess, for lack of a better word, sacriligious...I generally hope that people have a sense of humor about things, and that’s the spirit in which I write anything that has to do with religion--with most things actually…” explains Valenti.

The combination of the band’s semi-classical sound, solemn demeanor and playful and provocative lyrics is what Valenti is going for. You can’t tell whether he’s making fun of you or himself.

“I like playing on that sort of borderline, where--it’s a bit uncomfortable or just kind of funny because you don’t know whether it is serious or whether it’s supposed to be comedic.”

The melodrama of his lyrics, Valenti says, is inspired by film.

“Someone like Woody Allen is very inspiring to me and it’s mainly… his humor…Someone like Sir Lawrence Oliviet, like the characters that he portrays…I like how he’s kind of like so melodramatic that it’s silly, that it’s kind of funny… I channel that in the music too…”

“I think a lot of experience goes into even writing one song,” explains Valenti as he discusses the many songs he has written but decided not to produce. “..but I don’t know I kind of—it’s not as if I have some deep thing to say…what I find more exciting is—just—seeing where all this sort of raw experience or whatever, putting it together in different ways and seeing how it can be interesting…”

This can be deep on another level. Valenti sings about experiences many of us can relate to, connecting with our human nature. He doesn’t like to tell his audience what to think. But rather leaves each person to his or her own interpretation of the music.

After you get used to the pairing of sounds; the dramatic sigh of a cello with lyrics about cooking shows, PAA’s music is simply fun. It keeps you on your toes. And in this performance you can even learn a lesson about grinding

Watch John Valenti with Passive Aggressives Anonymous’ performing ‘TV Identity’ and ‘Grinding’:

 

 

Did you laugh? Can you relate? Know someone else who will? Please share! Click on the “share” button below. We love when you help spread the ideas and entertainment grown right here the Rochester community.

Check back with us in two weeks for the next video release highlight from TEDxFlourCity2014. Have a wonderful weekend!

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