Lullabies for Younglings: Star Wars Lullaby Renditions
Anyone who knows George Shaw, knows he's obsessed with Star Wars. From the Star Wars collectibles and art adorning his studio, to his love of John Williams' Star Wars scores that inspired him to pursue a career as a Film/TV composer, to his fan film creation as a writer/producer of Star Wars Musical, a mashup celebrating his love of the musical worlds of Star Wars and Disney Animated Musicals, he is clearly a fan.
Now comes his new album release of Star Wars Lullabies, entitled Lullabies for Younglings: Star Wars Lullaby Renditions, scheduled for release on November 6, 2020.
George was initially inspired when Jennifer Landa, a friend and fellow Star Wars fan who played the part of Princess Jasmine in his Star Wars Musical, posted an adorable photo of her newborn daughter in a shirt that read, "I am a Jedi like my mother before me." So for fun, he created a lullaby arrangement of Princess Leia's theme and sent it over to her. That was 2015.
He enjoyed doing the arrangement so much, he decided to do a full album. Fast forward 5 years, with the final touches being put together while quarantining in the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020, allowing for John Williams’ themes from across all 9 films of the Skywalker Saga to be presented.
In describing his concept for the album, George says, “most lullaby albums are created with cheap sounding bell and synth sounds aimed at babies, which doesn’t make for an interesting listen to an older and more discerning audience. I wanted to create versions of my favorite Star Wars music that I could listen and relax to. I wanted to keep the integrity of the compositions by John Williams, finding ways to translate the complex textures and countermelodies in the original orchestrations, while taming the big climactic swells in the music to create an even and calming listening experience.”
The biggest challenge was to make lullabies out of “Duel of the Fates” and “Battle of the Heroes,” which George hadn’t initially considered turning into lullabies. The original orchestrations from some of Star Wars’ most epic lightsaber scenes, are full of rhythmic drive. So how do you turn that into a calming piece of music? George knew he wanted to have a theme from each of the 9 films in the Skywalker Saga, so he decided to accept the challenge. Eventually he found an approach that involved slowing the tempo, and transposing low menacing melodies into the high tinkly range of piano and bells.
It’s an album worthy of all younglings, padawans, and even Jedi masters, to sit back, clear your mind, and feel the force flow through you.
Julee Kim Walker (Flute) (Tracks 4, 6, 9) - A native Houstonian, flutist Julee Kim Walker remains an active performer and pedagogue in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. She is Associate Professor of Flute at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Prior to her appointment, she held teaching positions at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Grayson College, Eastfield College, and the University of North Texas.
Dr. Walker performs regularly with the Fort Worth Symphony, Sherman Symphony Orchestra, South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, The Dallas Opera, The Dallas Winds, and with Lyric Stage (Irving), and has also performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Abilene Philharmonic, Shreveport Symphony, Las Colinas Symphony and Amarillo Symphony Orchestras. She is also a member of FlutAria! professional trio, and used to play in youth orchestras with George Shaw.
Albert Chang (Violin) (Tracks 1, 2, 3, 7, 11, 13, 15) - Albert is a violinist who enjoys magic, music, and film-making. On his YouTube channel, which has over half a million subscribers, he makes covers of music featuring a wide range of genres, as well as magic effects integrated into the music videos.
Eru Matsumoto (Cello) (Tracks 1, 3, 6, 7, 13) - Eru is recognized as one of the world’s leading and most versatile cellists of her generation. Her blossoming career has been filled with major performances including a recent solo performance with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra premiering the music of legendary composer John Williams, collaboration with major recording artist Adele, and Demi Lovato, for which she received a Grammy Award nomination. Eru is also known as a spokesperson of her generation, recently giving a TEDx talk in London, invited to give a Keynote presentation at Lawrence University and a lecture at Harvard University. Eru is also a musical director and collaborator for STEAM at Harvard.