Dessa - The Making of 'Sound the Bells'

Dessa Sound the Bells Making Of
Dessa - The Making of 'Sound The Bells' (MPR Graphic)
Dessa - The Making of 'Sound the Bells'
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| 00:47:03
  • Dessa - The Making of 'Sound the Bells' 47:03
  • Dessa - Fighting Fish 03:02
  • Dessa - Jumprope 03:13
  • Dessa - Good Grief 05:40
  • Dessa - Dixon's Girl 03:49

In March of 2019, Dessa and the Grammy-winning Minnesota Orchestra joined forces to record Sound the Bells. They sold out two nights at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, wired it with microphones, and put on an epic show full of rap bangers, infectious pop songs, tragic ballads, costume changes, and a little Bach. But how do hip-hop tracks get transformed into compositions that can be played by more than 75 classical musicians? (Spoiler: it involves arranger extraordinaire Andy Thompson and more than a thousand pages of scores.) Is it true that conductor Sarah Hicks uses a baton molded specially for her hand? (IT IS.)

The Making of Sound the Bells pulls back the curtain to explore the workings of this ambitious project through stories, images, and live performance from a string quartet composed of Minnesota Orchestra players.

Use the audio player above to hear the hourlong event that deconstructed the making of the new album from the Minnesota Orchestra and Dessa, featuring conversations with the collaborators, live demos from a keyboard and beat machine and a handful of live performances featuring a string quartet, Dessa, and 4 vocalists.

Songs performed

Fighting Fish
Good Grief
Dixon's Girl

All songs performed are available on Sound the Bells, available everywhere November 8, 2019 from Doomtree Records.

Musicians & Guests

Lazerbeak: Doomtree producer/album executive producer
Andy Thompson: Arranger/album executive producer
Sarah Hicks: Live at Orchestra Hall Conductor
Sarah Grimes: violin
Ben Odhner: violin
Sam Bergman: viola
Pitnarry Shin: cello
Aby Wolf: Vocal Director/singer
Ashley Dubose: singer
Matthew Santos: singer
Cameron Kinghorn: singer


Audio: Veronica Rodriguez, Cameron Wiley
Video: Mary Mathis, Nate Ryan
Event: Ali Lozoff, Natalie Roman, Casey Collins

Legacy AmendmentPresented by The Current, Classical MPR and Minnesota Orchestra. This event is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.


From MPR News: Sound the Bells: Where Dessa and the Minnesota Orchestra meet