Creating New Sounds: Ben Sollee’s “Steeples Part One”

Cellist and singer-songwriter Ben Sollee (from bensollee.com)
Cellist and singer-songwriter Ben Sollee (from bensollee.com)

 

Forget about the guitar or the banjo. The music of Kentucky-born singer-songwriter Ben Sollee (b. 1983) centers around an unlikely instrument: the cello. Sollee’s songs are an eclectic mix of bluegrass, folk, rhythm and blues and more. He approaches the cello as if there are no limitations. Listen to the colorful array of sounds he creates in this TED clip.

Touring on a bicycle, Ben Sollee has been an outspoken advocate for a series of social and environmental issues, including protesting Appalachian mountaintop removal. The Lincoln Memorial provided a backdrop for A Few Honest Words.

Sollee’s latest work, Steeples Part One, is a collection of three songs, released last month:

https://soundcloud.com/bsollee/sets/steeples-part-one

Benjamin Zander in RVA

Benjamin Zander
Benjamin Zander

Charismatic conductor, educator, writer and music enthusiast Benjamin Zander is coming to Richmond. At 7:00 on April 28 he will join the Symphony Musicians of Richmond (the musicians’ association of the Richmond Symphony) for a concert/talk which will benefit the United Way. Learn more details here and listen to this radio interview with Zander.

Zander conducts the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and Youth Orchestra. He is also the author of The Art of Possibility.

As a motivational speaker, Zander’s message is enthusiastic and simple: classical music is for everyone. Almost six million people have viewed his 2008 TED talk, The Transformative Power of Classical Music: 

Here are a few quotes from The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life:

In the measurement world, you set a goal and strive for it. In the universe of possibility, you set the context and let life unfold.

Life is revealed as a place to contribute and we as contributors. Not because we have done a measurable amount of good, but because that is the story we tell.

It’s one of the characteristics of a leader that he not doubt for one moment the capacity of the people he’s leading to realize whatever he’s dreaming. Imagine if Martin Luther King had said, ‘I have a dream. Of course, I’m not sure they’ll be up to it.