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USA News

Paul Simon releases new religious work at 82

by Premier Journalist

At 82 years old, Paul Simon could be forgiven for wanting to hang up his microphone, and give his vocal chords a well-earned rest, but the celebrated singer-songwriter has just released a new work and, somewhat surprisingly, it’s based on King David’s Psalms.

Simon, whose career spans six decades, has produced some of the world's most influential and memorable tunes in pop music.  He started working on his new composition, Seven Psalms, after waking up from a particularly vivid dream one night in 2019.  He began waking up in the early hours of the morning, and said "words would come" although he had no idea what the end result would be.

Four years later, the result is one continuous piece of music, in seven sections.  It lasts 33 minutes and is designed to be played as a whole musical experience.  Simon describes the piece as "an argument with myself about belief, or not".

Although there's always been a spiritual dimension to his music, this is the first overtly religious work from the artist, who has twice been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and is famous for numerous classics, such as Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sounds of Silence, and Graceland.  Seven Psalms features only acoustic instruments, mostly played by Paul, but also includes choral elements from British vocal ensemble VOCES8.

Paul Simon grew up in Queens, and his family belonged to a synagogue, although they were not religious, and Simon reportedly said that he had no personal interest in the Jewish faith.

A clue to his inspiration for this latest work could lie in the opening words, “I’ve been thinking about the great migration…” – Now into his ninth decade, the Grammy-winning artist, with little left to prove on this earth, appears to be setting his sights on what comes next.

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