We are taking a quick jaunt back to 1998, a time before smartphones and digitalised nightmares (aka social media) to look back at Talking Heads’ own David Byrne and the Balanescu Quartet performing an impressively unique cover of Kraftwerk’s iconic ‘Das Model’.
The performance sees frontman Byrne sharing the stage with a string quartet and the enigmatic leader of the group Alexander Balanescu take on a host of songs for the ‘Sessions at West 54th’. Not only is the music impeccable but Byrne’s dancing, as ever, is simply a must-watch.
The Quartet and Byrne had crossed paths before this 1998 performance, Byrne met Balanescu and his group on Balanescu’s 1992 record Possessed. The record gathered a lot of press attention upon its release, partly because of Byrne’s composition which accompanied Balanescu’s three original compositions, but mostly because the record featured some brilliant covers of German electro-music pioneers, Kraftwerk.
So when David Byrne was asked to host a special episode of ‘Sessions at West 54th’ he decided to invite his previous collaborators to showcase their talent on the world and alternative music show. It was a match made in heaven.
The show was a hub of interesting and engaging musical content, built on the idea of giving the bands and artists enough room to breathe, away from the constraints of mainstream television, and have them perform over a much longer time period than American television usually gave out.
We’re glad they did. This particular show allowed David Byrne to give the Balanescu Quartet the chance to not only give us some renditions of Byrne’s own work but also some notable covers of Kraftwerk and Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’.
While the call of Whitney Houston via a string quartet may be strong, it’s the cover of Kraftwerk’s ‘Das Model’ which has us reeling. It sees not only a wonderful performance from the Balanescu Quartet but also some quite brilliant dancing from David Byrne as he brings his awkward, arthouse moves.
Watch below as Talking Heads’ David Byrne and the Balanescu Quartet perform an incredible cover of Kraftwerk’s ‘Das Model’.