Upset, isolated and frustrated during the early stages of the near-global COVID-19 quarantine, Danish guitarist Mikkel Ploug did what he does best; he picked up his instrument and started playing. Sitting on his balcony and reflecting on the moment, Ploug set beauty in strings, allowing his sound to hold aloft. His appreciative neighbors listened with rapt attention, applauding at the conclusion of that otherwise personal performance. And so began the balcony lullabies.
At 6:15 p.m. every evening, for 28 consecutive days, Ploug's guitar soothed and shimmered in the gloaming, drawing a local and international audience via air and Facebook livestreams, respectively. When all was played and done, a successful crowd-funding campaign, lasting a mere three weeks, netted him the necessary funds to record. Ploug then spent three days at Copenhagen's Black Tornado Studios in late May, and this incredibly comforting and expressive solo session is the end result.
A purposefully pacifying set, Balcony Lullabies triumphs in quietude. From the chord-melody salves of "Det er i dag et vejr (The Weather Today Is)" to the dreamy stargazing in beloved Danish slumber song "Elefantens vuggevise (Elephant's Lullaby)," and the nesting niceties of "Jeg ved en lærkerede (I Know Of A Lark's Nest)" to the dusky sentiments of "Stille, hjerte, sol går ned (Quiet Heart, Sun Goes Down)," Ploug speaks to peace and calm with incredible clarity.
The program leans on Danish traditionals and latter day favoritespoetry and pastorales from the early 20th century share space with material from the '80s and '90sbut Ploug isn't above adding a few classics from the other side of the pond, too. His twinkling takes on "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," "The Nearness Of You" and "You Are My Sunshine" prove to be perfect fits for this project, complementing the other material in tone and message. From one man's balcony to the whole wide world, here's to hope and prosperity.
Det er i dag et vejr (The Weather Today Is); Elefantens vuggevise (Elephant's Lullaby);
Vårvise (Spring Ballad); Somewhere Over The Rainbow; Julia; Solen så rød, mor (The Sun
Is So Red, Mother); The Nearness Of You; Jeg ved en lærkerede (I Know Of A Lark's
Nest); Stille, hjerte, sol går ned (Quiet Heart, Sun Goes Down); Hilsen til forårssolen
(Spring Greetings To The Sun); You Are My Sunshine; Du kom med alt det der var dig (You
Came With All That Was You); Under stjernerne på himlen (Under The Stars In The Sky).