Alialujah Choir: Bowler Hats And Harmonies
It began with a song. The roots of Portland's Alialujah Choir go back to Adam Selzer and Adam Shearer's collaboration on an all-Portland charity compilation, (D)early Departed. It seemed a natural choice to pair the Adams, the former known for his work as a producer at Type Foundry studios and as part of the band Norfolk & Western; the latter the affable and increasingly visible frontman of the local band Weinland. "A House, A Home" was the result — a song that builds a fictionalized doomed romance into the real-life historical backdrop of Dr. James Hawthorne's psychiatric hospital (and makes for a stunning video, which opbmusic recently premiered).
Selzer and Shearer felt like they were on to something in the recording's aftermath, and a late-night text message or two later, the Alialujah Choir was born, with the piano and vocals of Alia Farah (a sometime member of Weinland) rounding out the trio. They set about establishing what might be called rules of creative conduct for the project — the first being that it remain enjoyable, the second being that it's all about the voices. You'll notice the sparse nature of the arrangements, which purposely throw the trio's harmonies into the spotlight. It's a rare moment on the record when you'll hear a lone voice singing.
We joined the Alialujah Choir in the same Type Foundry studio space where its members recorded their album. There, they perform live versions of the songs, and also discuss the specifics of their formation, the reasoning behind their "rules," and their extremely long-term plan moving forward.
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