Milwaukee Record is proud to present Public Domain. The monthly video series features Milwaukee musicians setting up at Colectivo Coffee to adapt some of the world’s best-known songs in ways they’ve never been heard before. Watch the entire series here.
SistaStrings make Public Domain series history by selecting two different songs to perform. Sisters Monique Ross and Chauntee Ross used their string instruments and their incredible voices to adapt and seamlessly combine “Ave Maria” and “Deep River” into one amazing composition. “Ave Maria” was composed by Franz Schubert in 1825. Though part of his seven-song Opus 52, the song elevated above its counterparts to become one of the most recognizable and most covered songs of all time. In the 190-plus years since it was written, “Ave Maria” has been featured in numerous films (most notably 1935’s The Bride Of Frankenstein), it was performed at President John F. Kennedy’s funeral service, and re-written by Beyoncé. It’s also been covered by the likes of Andrea Bocelli, Luciano Pavarotti, Frank Sinatra, Celine Dion, Aaron Neville, Josh Groban, and Jewel.
“Deep River” has been called “perhaps the best-known and best-loved spiritual.” While the song’s origin is unknown, its roots extend back to the mid-1800s, if not further. It was first referenced in writing in 1876. The tragic, beautiful hymn has been performed by countless singers and spans numerous generations, including recordings by Johnny Mathis, Barbra Streisand, Mahalia Jackson, and Marian Anderson. Now, SistaStrings add to the legacies of this important spiritual and the classical music staple by melding them into one gorgeous song.