Berklee’s Two Track Series Embraces Music’s Collaborative Spirit
Berklee’s Two Track music video series features some of the most talented artists from the Berklee community performing in a stripped-down recording session filmed in continuous camera shots with just a single microphone. Launched in September 2021, the performances, which have collected over 400,000 views to date, premiere every Wednesday evening at 8:00 p.m. ET on the college’s YouTube channel.
Each installment of Two Track revolves around a monthly theme that the artist engages with, either through their choice of songs and/or through a short storytelling segment recorded as part of the session. The artists featured in May and June reflected on three different themes—purpose, origins, and renewal—in relation to their music, the lessons they’ve learned, and how they present themselves to the world.
Guatemalan songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist Mercedes Escobar sang her original songs "Que Me Perdone Chavela" ("May Chavela Forgive Me") and "Cheap Tequila State of Mind” on May 24, supported by Juan Nieves (cuatro puertorriqueño), Sebas Guerrero (bass), and Federico Aristizabal (drums). Growing up performing the blues in her native country wasn’t easy, but Escobar believes that the “songs tend to reflect the twin purpose of her life as a bilingual singer and songwriter who grew up listening to old traditional Latin music and American blues.” Her vocals have often been compared to a mix between Janis Joplin, Patsy Cline, and Costa Rican-Mexican singer Chavela Vargas, creating a genre that blends the rawness of old blues and country with the cultural and sonic traditions of her Latin home culture.
Catalonian cellist, composer, and educator Queralt Giralt, performed the song "Pájaros" with lyrics from the poem "El Viaje Definitivo" (“The Final Journey”) by the 1956 Nobel Prize–winning Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez. Accompanied on June 7 by fellow Berklee students Bahar Badieitabar (oud), Ángela Varo (violin), and Devon Gates (bass), she also sang "Carícias de Sal" (“Caresses of Salt”) which was originally released in 2010 by the quartet Las Migas. With a degree in music from the Catalonia College of Music (ESMUC) in Barcelona, Spain, and currently studying at Berklee, Giralt aims to pursue a more creative approach to the cello, learning from world renown cellists Eugene Friesen, Naseem Alatrash, and Marta Roma '15, M.M. '16.
On June 21, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and songwriter Ethan Surman B.M. '23 opened his Two Track session with the upbeat R&B-tinged love song "Low Key in Love." Backed by a three-piece band and two background singers, he performed a cover of "Restore the Feeling" by Daniel Caesar (feat. Sean Leon and Jacob Collier). Surman's musical style effortlessly weaves together elements of R&B, indie, and hip-hop, resulting in a captivating and eclectic sound. Influenced by the music of Tame Impala, Stevie Wonder, and the Beatles, the Toronto native and recent Berklee graduate pays homage to the deeply emotional works that have shaped his musical journey.