‘”What did (or do) you call your grandparents?” was the question I asked 100 friends and family members. My Father’s Father is a 5 song EP and accompanying short film featuring 217 spoken grandparent names.
Names, especially grandparent names, are simultaneously personal and universal. Precious and shared. From just a couple syllables, one might make assumptions about a shared ethnicity, nationality, race, age, gender, class. When I hear these recordings it’s hard not to suppose the grandchild’s relation (or lack of) to their grandparent. Like a tongue twister or one of those games where you repeat the same word over and over and over, I wonder if hearing names arranged in these ways will strip any of these associations away?
Who does the naming? With grandparents, that’s pretty up in the air. I gave one of my grandmothers her name. It was rather random but I saw Bukie more often than Reba. I think I was too young to tell the difference between these 2 old women in my life so I often called them both “Bukie”. More power to Reba for rolling with me but eventually something had to give. The compromise of a toddler was to change one letter. From then on I had a “Bukie” and a “Bupie.”
The animation I made was (rather directly) inspired by Drums West, an early short by Jim Henson that visualizes the drumming of Chico Hamilton.”‘ -Noah Wall
Read much more about the project over at DavidByrne.com
This follows Noah’s Live at Guitar Center project and comes just in time for Grandparents Day (Sept. 13).