Elliot and Natalie Bergman are the core of Wild Belle. The siblings’ debut album, Isles, is out now, and they’re gearing up for a big performance this weekend in their hometown of Chicago at Lollapalooza. They put together some songs with summery, global accents, and a bit of romance – influences that can also be heard in the music they make.
Natalie Bergman: Hey there, I’m Natalie Bergman.
Eliot Bergman: I’m Eliot Bergman, and we’re Wild Belle.
Natalie Bergman: Here are a couple of tunes that we would like to play at our dinner party.
Stan Getz and João Gilberto, “Aguas De Marco”
Eliot Bergman: We’re gonna kick off the night with “Aguas de Marco” by Stan Getz and João Gilberto. This just sort of sets the tone, gets the vibe right, lets everyone know: We… are at… a dinner party! You know, you just want to make people feel comfortable, make them feel invited…
Natalie Bergman: You want to make them feel like they’re in Brazil.
Eliot Bergman: …Right. Brazil would be the best place to eat dinner, as far as we’re concerned.
Natalie Bergman: And Astrud Gilberto, her voice is beautiful. She is married to João Gilberto, and actually it was kind of a love triangle they had. Stan Getz entered the relationship, but you can see they all worked on music together, so it was very romantic.
Eliot Bergman: Stan Getz plays a very lyrical, beautiful saxophone solo. It’s very evocative, and somehow it conjures up longing and… hunger!
Hallelujah Chicken Run, “Mudzimu Ndiringe”
Natalie Bergman: Our second track is by a band called Hallelujah Chicken Run. it is a band that was active and playing lots of music in the ’70s in Zimbabwe.
Eliot Bergman: The guitar patterns are just so lively and exciting, and it’s got this really great 12/8 pattern going, and this sort of circling guitar riff.
Natalie Bergman: This is just the fun, make-you-feel-good, put-a-little-boogie-in-your-body tune. Our song “Twisted” on our record Isles is very influenced by that style of music; that Zimbabwe, uptempo, joyful kind of music.
Della Humphrey, “Dream Land”
Eliot Bergman: The third track we would play to close out our party would be Della Humphrey’s “Dream Land”. It just has this amazing kind of like warm and warbly sound, and you put it on and you’re just immediately transported to Jamaica. And it just has this kind of longing: Della Humphrey’s singing about a land so far across the sea where, you know…
Natalie Bergman: ”…You get your breakfast from the trees/You get your honey from the bees.”
Eliot Bergman: I think that, like a lot of good music, it’s about the kind of the here-and-now, and also about a future or a place that you kind of long to be.
Natalie Bergman: This will send people off in a real good mood.
Eliot Bergman: You know, and everyone will be dancing and hugging and kissing.
Wild Belle, “June”
Eliot Bergman: If you had to just choose one song, what’s the best Wild Belle song to play at a party?
Natalie Bergman: I think a good song to follow up the Della Humphrey track would be “June.” It was just an emotional process, because it’s about losing our mother, and so it brings me into these feelings of happiness, and also sorrow… and that’s kind of what great music does.