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Various Artists: Arts for Life: My Life is Bold

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“Poetry makes nothing happen,” W.H. Auden quipped, but it has long been the bailiwick of artists to make something happen long after the dust has settled and no one else will. Poetry is in fact the basis of the Arts for Life release My Life Is Bold, a compilation of heartbreaking songs featuring some of New York’s eminent jazz artists and composers, each track setting the poems of children with critical ailments to music. Pathos hangs heavy, but the composers tread lightly and temper what might have been a real tearjerker with a breezy sensibility-optimism reigns here.

The album title comes from a poem written by a 15-year-old named Latisha. “Art is the most important thing to me/Because it lets me know that I am free,” she writes in “I Want to Be a Teacher of Art,” imbued with bluegrass-tinged sweetness by songwriter Alan Hampton. “I want to be a piece of art/When people look, they’ll see my heart/Red and big, beautiful and gold/My life is pretty, and my life is bold.”

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