As a tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, twenty-one young students from Newtown, Conn., visited the home studio of Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth (Tom Tom Club / Talking Heads) to record a benefit single version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” with platinum-selling singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson. The song debuted with the kids performing live on ABC’s Good Morning America. All proceeds from the sales will benefit the Newtown Youth Academy and the United Way of Western Connecticut.
As longtime residents of Connecticut, Frantz and Weymouth – who formed the rhythm section of Talking Heads and who are the core of the long-running funk-rap-rock band, Tom Tom Club – opened their home studio to the group that, including parents, swelled to sixty-plus people inside on a cold winter day. Giving back to the community comes naturally to the famous couple.
“I wish to send my heartfelt thanks to all the wonderful people and kids involved in this beautiful recording — including those who will buy it online — for coming together to combat violence with our very best human qualities: compassion and generosity,” said Tina Weymouth.
“Music has the power to heal both the listener and the performers,” said executive producer Tim Hayes. “The new arrangement of the song feels as if the young angelic adult voice, Ingrid’s, is almost teaching the song to the children. First she introduces it to them, then she is joined by an innocent, yet strong chorus of voices and by the end of the song it is only the children that we hear. In fact, the children were asked to sing the song as if it was a prayer. That emotion really comes though when the children sing their ‘oooos,’ which transforms the recording into something truly spiritual.”
CBGB-owner Tim Hayes orchestrated the project in order to bring a ray of hope to the Newtown community in the wake of the tragedy.
“When Tim reached out to me to be a part of this recording, I was very grateful,” said Ingrid Michaelson. “To be able to honor those who lost their lives is something I am incredibly humbled by.”