For her most recent offering to NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert series, consummate artist Esperanza Spalding invited fans into the cosmos that birthed her GRAMMY-nominated album, Songwrights Apothecary Lab. More of a full-bodied experience, as opposed to a mere collection of music, each of the “formwelas” (i.e., songs) were created through “research, divination, intuition, musicianship, taste, inspiration, and collaborative effort to design songs that enhance a specific salutary affect.” As one might expect, a certain level of dauntless imagination is required to bring such complex artistry to life, and Esparanza and her team of creatives were able to do just that.
The set begins with “Formwela 3,” a tribute to the blessing of the sun, amidst green screens casting the familiar backdrop of the Tiny Desk. Soon the band, background singers and dancers (aka “Loving” and “Magical” presences, respectively) adorned in coordinated red and white ensembles are surrounded by a kaleidoscope of brilliant imagery as they move into “Formwela 4” and “Formwela 8.” All elements work together to complement this celebration of life and movement, creating a captivating experience for the viewer.
Get caught up in the rapture of Esperanza Spalding’s vibrant return to NPR Music’s Tiny Desk right here. If you haven’t already, treat yourself and learn more about the S.A.L. movement and be sure to check out the full Songwrights Apothecary Lab album on your preferred digital platform. Vinyl lovers can pre-order signed copies before the April 2022 release date.