A man who lives up to his name, Brendan D. Light is a character out of a novel:  A quick-witted guy who makes a mean soup and a meaner macchiato.  And when he’s scanning the tables with those shifty eyes trying to figure out who ordered the Hummus Plate, you have to ask yourself, “Is this guy a spy?”


Café Underscore

musical portraits

Have you ever sat in a coffee shop and wondered what the story is behind the fellow at the next table?  And what about those two people that seem awkward with each other?  First date or breakup?  That lady wearing a hat has a suitcase.  Where is she going?

Café Underscore imagines the answers to these questions and then goes further to ask, “If these moments we are observing were scenes in a film, what would the underscore – the music “under” the scenes – sound like?”

Musical underscoring occurs in movies, plays and television programs.  Café Underscore creates underscoring for real life.

Each musical portrait is created based on casual observations of real people in public settings.

Café Underscore is an ongoing series created by Emmy Award winning composer Steve Rashid.  Visit this site to hear new portraits as they become available.  Click on the Composer’s Notebook for further background on each piece.  Links are also provided for you to purchase downloads of the music.  And if you frequent coffeeshops, order that second latté and perk up.  Café Underscore may be underscoring you.

By the way, to turn off the ambient café sound, click the espresso maker above.  Double-click to resume.

To learn about the Café Underscore process, click here.
Contact us at: cafeunderscore@gmail.com

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click on the picture to hear the musical portrait

Young couples of all sorts populate this café.  Some are clearly good friends trying to figure out if they are more than just friends.  Some can’t keep their hands off of each other, some have those regular patterns and body language that usually come with many years of attachment.  The common thread is the intense focus on the other person.  It’s all passion, and for each, there is no one else in the room.

click on the picture to hear the musical portrait

Antonio is a deep-voiced triathlete with dark hair, thick beard and a quick smile.  He’s proud of his Italian heritage.  Someone said he grew up in Ohio but it is easy to imagine him being from somewhere quite far away.

click on the picture to hear the musical portrait

In a café populated with students and professors, one day, an unusual sight:  Grandma, Grandpa, and their  four- or five-year-old grandson.  Grandma left to go shopping while Grandpa bought the little boy a large chocolate milkshake.  The drink was so tall and the boy so small that he had to kneel on his chair to get the laws of physics on his side.  While the boy negotiated with his drink, Grandpa read to him from a book.  Most memorable was that Grandpa never stopped smiling.  They were in the café only briefly – but long enough to make a lasting impression.

click on the picture to hear the musical portrait

Light as a breeze on a Florida beach and impossibly cute, Kellye should have her own TV show, called, “Kellye!”  Why not?  She already has a theme song.

click on the picture to hear the musical portrait

This Cuban-American actress one day described her recent winter break, visiting her roommate’s family in Morocco.  Wow.  Cuban-American woman in Morocco.  What would that music sound like?

click on the picture to hear the musical portrait

For several consecutive days this charming fellow sat in the café with a grad student, translating an ancient Latin text.  What kind of images must float about in his mind? 

Upon hearing this completed piece he commented that he is, in fact,  fascinated by birds, one in particular (the Hoopoe), and drew a picture of it.

click on the picture to hear the musical portrait

All music © Steve Rashid / Used Camel Music - BMI