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Natalie Merchant to perform at the Getty Center

March 29, 2010 |  5:15 pm

Newnatalie Natalie Merchant, solo artist and former frontwoman for the 10,000 Maniacs, will be introducing her new album, "Leave Your Sleep," to L.A. at what might seem like an unlikely venue -- the Getty Center in Brentwood.

Unlikely, that is, until you learn the two-disc set, due out from Nonesuch Records on April 13, is a collection of songs based on poems, children's lullabies and nursery rhymes by writers such as Ogden Nash, Christina Rossetti, Edward Lear and Robert Graves. The music was created by Merchant and artists including the Wynton Marsalis Quartet, members of the New York Philharmonic, the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York and the Klezmatics.

The project, which took half a dozen years to complete, was inspired by Merchant's experiences raising her 7-year-old daughter.

Merchant will perform at 7:30 p.m. April 20 in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium at the Getty Center, accompanied by a cello and two guitars and preceded by an introduction illustrating the importance of the visual arts among Victorian poets.

She also is scheduled to appear at 8 p.m. Thursday in an  L.A. Public Library/ALOUD program at the Aratani/Japan America Theatre downtown.

Other stops on Merchant's "Leave Your Sleep" spring schedule also have cultural overtones, including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. Just to keep all the bases covered, however, she will appear April 13 on "Good Morning America" and visit "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on April 21.

-- Karen Wada

Credit: Mark Seliger