Portland’s Ben Darwish began composing the music of The Clear Blue Pearl during a month-long residence at Caldera in Sisters, Oregon. The work tells the story of a family in danger of losing their farm to drought, who go searching for an underground aquifer — the “Clear Blue Pearl” of the title. Darwish enlisted sister duo Shook Twins to sing the close harmonies in the music, and started the band Morning Ritual. Their debut album features widely varied styles from jazz to R&B to the gorgeous chamber folk opening song “The Drought,” which echoes Aaron Copland in its use of octaves and in the way it evokes the open space of the American plains. The album was released in May this year.

Morning Ritual is pianist Ben Darwish, Shook Twins (Katelyn and Laurie Shook), guitarist/bassist William Seiji Marsh, and drummer Russ Kleiner.

Watch the videos, then go to the audio player for the interview and to download of a new song, “So Cold.”


Audio engineer/mixing: Steven Kray
Video editor: Nate Sjol
Video shooters: Nate Sjol / Jarratt Taylor
Interview: David Christensen
Executive Producer: David Christensen