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Songwriter Lena Prima and the power of collaboration

Prima at the kick off party for the new album
Prima at the kick off party for the new album
Mary Beth Magee

Ask singer/songwriter Lena Prima about collaboration and you’ll get a big smile. Prima understands the power of sharing thoughts and ideas with a co-writer to deliver a powerful message.

Prima’s newest album “Starting Something” contains fourteen tracks, with eleven new songs written by Prima with her husband Tim Fahey and fellow chanteuse Ingrid Lucia in various combinations of the gifted trio. Their storytelling covers several years of Prima’s life in delightful rhythmic poetry that just happens to be set to music.

She and Fahey moved to New Orleans on a full-time basis, a return to her roots for Prima. The move wasn’t an easy one, with natural disasters and financial implications throwing down roadblocks. They persevered, and tell the story of the journey through sometimes touching, sometimes riotous, but always meaningful lyrics.

As a daughter of the late Louis Prima, Lena faced a lot of comparisons and expectations in the music world. The dramatic “Out of the Shadows” chronicles her struggle to come out of his shadow as well as the shadows of personal issues in the past. Written with Fahey and Lucia, the powerful lyrics tell of someone ready to bloom into an individual on her own.

One might suspect a bit of a shoe fetish, judging by two of the tracks: “Buy the Shoes” and “Muses Shoeses.” The former, written with Fahey, urges listeners to take action on their dreams, to go ahead and buy the shoes rather than putting it off. The latter was inspired by a comment Lucia made about her participation in The Krewe of Muses Carnival organization. She had to postpone a songwriting date to work on the fabulous iconic shoes handed out by the Krewe during the parade. Prima ran with the phrase and managed to incorporate a search for her father’s birthplace into the theme of stepping out on Magic Street with happy feet in this collaboration with Lucia and Fahey.

Prima and Lucia explore the mystique of the Crescent City in the pulse-pounding “Full Moon in New Orleans.” The song weaves a spell as compelling as a film noir offering as it tells of the effect of a full moon on the city.

“The Game” shares the idea that all of us are part of the game of life and we share much more commonality than we may realize. The trio urges connection with others as a way of getting past the differences that threaten to divide us.

Taken together, these and the remaining songs on the album tell of a search, a search for identity, for home, for hope and the celebration of finding them. By including the talents of Tim Fahey and Ingrid Lucia, Prima leads a collaboration that presents a powerful story in song that entertains as well as enlightens. There are no wasted words here, only a joyous result of three gifted writers sharing their vision.

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