Songs and Music

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Selections from Jesse's CD's
"View of the Past"

  • View of the Past
  • Between the Stars
       Lyrics: Christina Svane

"I'll Call it Ecstasy"

    
  • Samba Serena
  • I'm Falling into Heaven
All songs listed on this page:  copyright ©J.Lepkoff 2009
Except - Between the Stars:     copyright © J. Lepkoff/C. Svane 2009

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Lepkoff started playing guitar at the age of 12. He was attracted to an eclectic mix of styles that included acoustic traditional blues and Jazz of earlier decades. Particularly inspiring was the music of John Hurt, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, and Fats Waller. At the same time he loved the sophistication of the bossa nova artists emerging in the 60's like Jobim and Joao Gilberto. Several years ago Lepkoff began learning the bossa nova repertoire and started composing in that style. His original songs are very personal, intimate expressions that draw from the influences of Brazilian bossa nova, and classical music. Yet his songs defy classification. His heartfelt melodies, with poetic lyrics, and the subtle exotic harmonies of his guitar, combine to create moods both hopeful and nostalgic. Lepkoff strives for originality and honesty in his compositions. Recently he has made forays into writing jazz/ blues as well. He has just completed his first CD, "View of the Past." He has played his music locally (Brattleboro, Vermont) at Lucca Bistro, 39 Main St., Metropolis, Twilight Tea Lounge, and the Weathervane.

CD cover front

CD cover back

For more information on: bookings, to obtain this CD, or about Jesse Lepkoff's music contact Jesse at:



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All songs on CD: "View of the Past":  copyright ©J.Lepkoff 2009
Except - "Between the Stars":              copyright © J. Lepkoff/C. Svane 2009

CD 2 cover front

CD 2 cover back

For more information on: bookings, to obtain this CD, or about Jesse Lepkoff's music contact Jesse at:



For CD program notes click here:
All songs on CD: "I'll call it Ecstasy":  copyright ©J.Lepkoff 2012

I'll Call it Ecstasy Jesse Lepkoff - Vocal, Guitars and Flute My first inspiration for song writing came from the songs of Antonio Carlos Jobim. Since my teen years, I have had a passion for Brazilian bossa nova, mostly as performed by the great guitarist and singer, Joao Gilberto. In 2002, I started to learn the bossa nova repertoire with its vocabulary of rich harmonies and syncopated rhythms. I began writing songs and discovered a vibrant new avenue of personal expression and creative satisfaction; I was hooked. In this CD, I'm encouraged that I'm finding more of my own style of song writing. The lyrics are vivid, visual, honest and intimate and are about my personal journeys and beliefs. Common threads run through many songs: dreams and fantasies, birds, love, loss, water, the heavens and memory. Birds and water in particular appear in several songs. Many songs have a nostalgic feeling to them which aligns with what Brazilians call, saudade, which is a kind of yearning or longing. The songs are arranged according to common themes and with an ear for variety of key and key relationships. I'll Call it Ecstasy and Tamara are love songs. Images of the night sky and themes of loneliness and love in relation to the vastness of the universe are found in both I'll Call it Ecstasy and Song to Rebecca, a song to my mother. Terra is a song to a mother of a different sort: the Earth. This song was written after seeing the movie, The Eleventh Hour. Humanity in its self-importance forgets that the Earth will endure - it is we who may not make it. The time that humans have existed is a geological blip on the screen. I chose the eight-string guitar with its low bass strings for this song to depict the majesty and size of our planet. Jesse's Song came to me in a dream - the melody of the A section complete. The dream had a guitar fingerboard translucently superimposed over the scene of a memorial for a dear family friend. It is written from his perspective. Lead me back to My Valley is a journey back to my special childhood place and particularly to a waterfall in Vermont. Although it is nostalgic, the mood is mostly joyful. I chose the harp guitar to lend a symphonic lushness to the harmonies. The wood thrush in the lyrics refers back to a companion song, Song of the Wood

Thrush, on my first CD, View of the Past. The next two songs are about birds. Song Bird has a healthy dose of saudade. It is a song for autumn. It was written after a period of months during which I lost my voice due to illness. The lyric: "Lift your liquid voice and tell them all, I'm back again!"" is particularly poignant for me. Aren't You a Dancer? came to me completely from a dream - the melody of the refrain escaping quickly as I struggled to write it down - threatening to evaporate in the grogginess of first waking. That night I slept restlessly because my cat hadn't come home. The dream resolved that worry right before I awoke. The magical Latina woman of the dream sang to me in an unknown foreign language, which sounded something like French. You'll have to listen to the song to find the bird in it. Gypsy Moon is a romantic fantasy which uses chords from flamenco music and is flavored with a tango rhythm. Samba Serena is named after a dear friend of mine. It owes a bow to the music of Baden Powell. Its descending bass line is reminiscent of his Canto De Osannha. I'm Falling into Heaven paints the scene of a still pond in the moonlight and poses a bit of a riddle in the lyrics. I love the sound of the harp guitar in this piece. The guitar solo was inspired by the music of Nick Drake. In My Dream of You recalls the sense of loss when one wakes from a dream to harsh reality. The imagery of the ocean and shore again link to a theme of water. Glad of Loving You is a love song in a bossa nova-pop style. It ends the CD brightly in the key of D major. -Jesse Lepkoff August, 2012 Special thanks to: Gene & Rebecca Lepkoff, Tamara Stenn, Sara & Jacob Lepkoff. Instruments and Makers: Guitars: 6 String Classical by John Buscarino, 8 String Classical by Chris Carrington, Symphony Harp Guitar by Jim Merrill. Classical One-keyed Flute by Rudolf Tutz

For more information on: bookings, to obtain this CD, or about Jesse Lepkoff's music contact Jesse at:



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Jesse Lepkoff
Voice and Guitar
Bossa Nova

    

  • Glad of Loving You
      ©Jesse Lepkoff

  • Ele E Carioca
      ©Jobim/De Moraes

  • Desafinado
      ©Jobim/Mendoca

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Lepkoff performs original samba and bossa nova including those by Brazilian greats, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Carlos Lyra, Ary Barroso, and others sung both in Portuguese and English.

Several years ago Lepkoff became fascinated by the beautiful melodies and sophisticated harmonies of Brazilian music. Lepkoff went on to compose original material cast in the Bossa Nova style, completing his first CD, "View of the Past" in 2008.

He has performed at the Latchis Grill, Lucca Bistro, Metropolis, 39 Main St. and other Brattleboro and Northampton venues.

Lepkoff plays and sings old time Jazz-Blues and Ragtime from the 30's. He covers songs by Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Bill Broonzy and others. He has written many originals in a 30's style soon to be released in a CD.

Selection of Jesse's
originals

  • A Little More Kind
  • Jesse's Rag
  • Only An Average Guy
  • Spooky Boogie Woogie
All songs: copyright ©J.Lepkoff

Jesse Lepkoff Plays
Jean-Marie Leclair
Sonata III in C-major Op. I


Peter Watchorn - Harpsichord
Carol Lewis - Viola da Gamba
Performed live on WGBH Boston

    

    

  • Adagio

  • Allegro

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Lepkoff began serious Study of the Recorder in 1975. He studied recorder with Bernard Krainis, Charles Coldwell, John Tyson, Marion Verbruggen, and Frans Bruggen. He studied the Baroque flute with David Hart, Sandra Miller, Barthold Kuijken, and Wilbert Hazelzet.

He has had a 25 plus year career with the Boston Camerata recording and playing both the Renaissance and Baroque flutes as well as the recorder. In American music programs he has performed on the guitar as well. He has recorded with Baritone Daniel McCabe on the Fleur De Son Label, a CD entitled, "The American Idyll", which received accolades from the New Yorker Magazine in 1999.

Lepkoff is an expert on French and Italian style Baroque ornamentation and performance practice. And has lectured at the Smithsonian Museum, New England Conservatory, and at the Louisiana University. Lafayette.

Lepkoff has performed in many festivals around the world including those in France, The Netherlands, Singapore, Israel, Japan, Norway, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Portugal and in the U.S.. His performances include appearances with the Smithsonian Chambers Players, the Musicians of Swanne Alley, The National Symphony, and the Arcadia Players. He performs regularly with The Boston Camerata and has recorded over a dozen CDs with them on the Erato and Nonesuch labels including a medieval version of Tristan and Iseult, which won the "Grand Prix Du Disque." He has recorded for Radio France, and appeared Live on WGBH radio.

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