Guest Room Sessions: Ari & Mia, ‘Sweet Morning’
For March's installment of The Boot's Guest Room Sessions, Americana traditionalists Ari & Mia are sharing their take on the 160-year-old song "Sweet Morning." Press play above to watch the duo take on the classic hymn with stunning vocals, cello and banjo, in an absolutely perfect setting.
The duo's Mia Friedman found "Sweet Morning" while flipping through Sacred Harp, a classic book of traditional hymns. It instantly became a favorite for Ari & Mia to play together.
"I was struck by the dark and foreboding melody juxtaposed against the literal meaning of the words," Friedman tells The Boot. "We always love the opportunity to arrange existing four-part harmonies into the four voices of our duo, and this was especially exciting to arrange for two voices, banjo and cello."
Originally arranged by H.S. Reese in 1859, "Sweet Morning" is the oldest song on Ari & Mia's recently released album, Sew the City, which debuted on March 1. To fully tap into its vintage vibes, the duo enlisted videographer Sean Trischka to record their Guest Room Sessions clip in the basement of a church in Dorchester, Mass.
"[It] seemed like the perfect location for practical, acoustic reasons," says Ariel Friedman, Mia's sister and duo partner. "And more esoteric reasons — the song's haunting religious undertones."
Both accomplished musicians, the Friedmans bring skills as composers, songwriters and singers to their musical endeavors. They're natives of New England, and the musical traditions of the region are reflected heavily on "Sweet Morning" and other tracks on Sew the City.
"The Sacred Harp tradition has its roots in New England (our home region)," Ariel says. "We love highlighting our music’s connection both to the past and to our little neck of the woods."
Sew the City is available for purchase now via AriAndMiaMusic.com. There, fans can also find more information about the duo and their upcoming shows.