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Cherry Pop

Title - Van Dyke Parks orchestrates Veronica Valerio
Artist - Van Dyke Parks

For those uninitiated, in a North American musical summit, two musicians have collaborated to produce an extraordinary EP of four songs.

Veronica Valerio is a singer, songwriter and harpist born in Veracruz, Mexico, while Los Angeles-resident Van Dyke Parks is a sui generis musical polymath.

One is young, one is not. One sings in Spanish, the other communicates in English. One plays the harp, while the other plays an orchestra in his role as arranger.

They have come together with mutual respect and shared belief in the towering power of music to transcend the stifling gag of borders.

Their collaboration, Van Dyke Parks Orchestrates Veronica Valerio: Only in America, is due out on BMG/Modern Recordings on June 11th, 2021.

The EP will also be available as a 10 Inch vinyl and Digital release and Klaus Voormann designed the cover art.

1. Veracruz (2:22)
2. Cielito Lindo (3:29)
3. The Flight of the Guacamaya (3:57)
4. Camino a Casa (3:12)

The beautiful, free-flowing, Latin hipsway of the short, but oh-so sweet Veracruz opens this quite incredible EP and that is followed by the lyrical storytelling of Cielito Lindo, which is in turn backed by the sweepingly elegant The Flight of the Guacamaya, the EP closing all too soon on the passionately-imbed, lavish two-step twirl of Camino a Casa.

Parks (or VDP, as he is oft called) has led a storybook life, with childhood appearances from Albert Einstein and Aaron Copland, the latter with whom he studied music.

As a solo artist he has made a dozen albums; 1967s Song Cycle debut set a template for his work, featuring gloriously melodic compositions, idiosyncratic song structure and literate lyrics, all surrounded by production others heard only in their dreams.

His orchestral arrangements, with swirling strings that dare to soar aloft, established his singularity.

VDP collaborated with Brian Wilson on the Beach Boys lost masterpiece SMiLE, contributing lyrics for several songs from that release including the classic Heroes and Villains. (Three decades later they reunited for Orange Crate Art.)

An arranger, he worked with Harry Nilsson, Little Feat, Ry Cooder and later Inara George, Silverchair and Joanna Newsom. He has scored and acted in numerous film and TV projects, and is an acclaimed public conversationalist.

Valerio studied music in Veracruz and New York and has been a guest lecturer on folk vocal music at Berklee in Boston. Blessed with a sirens pipes and accompanied by her harp, she has performed her songs in Mexico, the U.S., Asia and Europe.

She has steeped in the son jarocho musical style that blends Spanish and other influences, and yet, says Mexican music expert Mary Farquharson, She is very creative, strong in her decision to break away from the son jarocho world when she was very young.

This yearning to expand led her to VDP. Two years ago, I wrote Van Dyke because he is a sincere person, a selfless communicator, polite, a fighter and great artist, explains Veronica.

They worked together during the plague — hence at a distance — for a full year, the four songs on Only in America a mere taste of their fruits.

Official Digital Purchase Links

Van Dyke Parks @ Facebook

Veronica Valerio @ Instagram