I first saw Cat Martino at the best concert of my life. It was the summer of 2011 and Sufjan Stevens was performing at Celebrate Brooklyn. But within the spectacle -– a troupe of maybe a dozen performers on stage — was a singer and dancer named Cat Martino. I know that because a number of my friends at the show knew Cat and were screaming her name at the top of their lungs. Jump forward a few months and Cat Martino is playing on the rooftop of NPR, part of a series of “deskless” concerts organized by our former intern Clare Flynn. I was intrigued by what she played.
Cat Martino just made her first music video. It’s for her song “Yr Not Alone,” which recounts a provocative interaction Martino had with someone she calls “an eccentric Chaplin-esque character in Prague.” “Came inside, bought me a drink,” she sings. “You stopped my song with what you think.”
This visitor was “dressed like Chaplin, with the hat, cane, mustache and everything,” Martino says. “There was something tragic and mysteriously wonderful about him, although in the end his behavior approached stalker. I would never see him again, but I wrote the song right away, imagining his sadness as he disappeared from a great fun party.’
The video, co-directed by Lily Baldwin and Deborah Johnson, takes that encounter, turns it into an abstract form in order to play with the idea of interactions both intimate and jarring. “It became far less literal and more about the visual vocabulary that Lily had been developing between camera and body,” Cat Martino says. The action in the video is a beautiful dance, filled with colors, patterns and backlit images, and it climaxes with animation made by Deborah Johnson.
“Yr Not Alone” and more songs by Cat Martino can be found at her Bandcamp page.