About Alex Hamburger
Alex Hamburger’s latest album And She Spoke was inspired by many powerhouse women in history. But first and foremost, And She Spoke is inspired by Alex’s grandmother: a stalwart educator, and activist during the military dictatorship in Paraguay. When her grandmother was just 20 years old, she built a school in a poor, rural community for children with no other chance for education. She outright refused to teach what the dictator told her to. When soldiers came to take away teachers, she refused again. Her grandmother started a nationwide movement for academic integrity. This eventually became part of the general movement for social justice in the country. Talk about an incredible woman!
When Alex came across a book of poetry her grandmother had written, she knew she had to do something with it. “La Desesperación es la Pasión Verdaderamente Humana” captures the essence of her grandmother’s poetry: deep and on the edge of being dark. The poem that inspired “La Desesperación” says that desperation is true human passion. Only human beings feel such deep emotion that is so tragic and beautiful at the same time.
Other Musical Influences
Alex’s grandmother’s poetry is joined by words from Maya Angelou, Sylvia Plath, and more. She also includes compositions from trailblazing women in jazz such as Mary Lou Williams and Geri Allen. Alex contemplates the parallels between the two: strong, black women from different generations who were backbones of the scene. They passed on the music through education — yet so few people know their names. Women like Mary Lou Williams and Geri Allen created a space for jazz musicians to continue creating to this day. Alex pays homage to them through recordings of “What’s Your Story Morning Glory” and “Unconditional Love.”
Listen to the full interview with flutist, composer, and vocalist Alex Hamburger to learn more about the stories and poetry behind her music. She also discusses her year-long artist residency in Switzerland just before recording this album, the incredible musicians in her band, and what it means to be a strong woman.
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