A concept album that tracks the rise and fall of former First Lady Imelda Marcos will be released this year, featuring former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, British DJ and big beat musician Fat Boy Slim, and 22 guest performers.
The coming “Here Lies Love” will feature singers such as Santigold, Cyndi Lauper, Roisin Murphy, Sharon Jones, Alice Russell, Martha Wainwright and Tori Amos, Byrne said on his Web site.
Each vocalist will sing a different track, with the album following Imelda “from her childhood spent in poverty and her rise to power to her ultimate departure from the Palace.”
“We’ve got three more singers who have still to record on it but we’re almost there,” Byrne recently toldBBC 6Music.
“There is a different singer on every song, including Sharon Jones from Amy Winehouse’s backing band the Dap Tones, Alice Russell and Tori Amos. There’s a lot of singers, it goes on and on.”
In 2007 Byrne played a rough draft of the project at a show in New York City, and the album version of “Here Lies Love” was originally scheduled to be released at the beginning of this year through Nonesuch. But at this point, no firm release date has been confirmed for the record’s release.
Songs from “Here Lies Love” presents Imelda meditating on events in her life. In particular, the production looks at her relationship with a servant from her childhood, Estrella Cumpas, who appeared at key moments in the former first lady’s life.
“Here Lies Love” begins with an opening disco number with Imelda at a disco in the late 1970s, where she spent time with all the “beautiful people—Christina Ford, George Hamilton and Henry Kissinger. “Here Lies Love” is what she was quoted as wanting inscribed on her tombstone.
The disco opera ends with Imelda and her maid contemplating the sacrifices they have made. As the Marcoses are airlifted out of the country during the People Power Revolution, Imelda says she doesn’t understand why the people don’t love her anymore, and she looks forward to her vindication and a triumphant return.
Byrne, best known as a founding member and principal songwriter of the new wave band Talking Heads, has released solo projects on record and worked in a variety of media including film, photography, opera and Internet-based projects. He has received Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe awards for his achievements.
Fat Boy Slim is the stage name of Norman Quentin Cook, a British DJ, big beat musician and producer. Cook has achieved considerable success in the UK’s single and album charts, and first as a member of the Housemartins.