Im so happy Beverly Glenn-Copeland is finally getting his due.
I'm so happy Beverly Glenn-Copeland is finally getting his due. Courtesy of SQFF
Ever since I first watched Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Copeland Story, I've been carrying Beverly Glenn-Copeland in my heart. The sounds of his third album—also named Keyboard Fantasies—has soundtracked every rainy walk I've taken and every early morning writing session. Inspired by the nature outside his Huntsville, Ontario home, the six-track record is meditative and otherworldly; his melancholic voice soars over the synth-y landscape of each song. It's a shame that we're just now recognizing his brilliance.

Initially released in 1986, Glenn-Copeland composed Keyboard Fantasies on an Atari computer, a Yamaha synth, and a Roland drum machine. He made a 200 cassette tape-run of the record, selling only 50 of them. The rest sat untouched in his studio for decades as the world was not quite sure how to handle a classically-trained queer Black musician playing electronic new age folk music.

That all changed in 2015 when a Japanese record store owner fell in love with the album and asked to buy the remaining copies. That initial email marked the beginning of a resurgence of interest in Glenn-Copeland's work, prompting the septuagenarian to come out of retirement and enjoy a celebration over 30 years in the making.

Though brief, the documentary is a primer on Glenn-Copeland's remarkable musical life in relative obscurity, tracing his early years in Philadelphia, his gender transition in his 50s, and his rise and touring over the past few years.

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Glenn-Copeland has a calming aura and deep enthusiasm for young people, probably from the 25 years he spent as a regular on Mr. Dress Up, a Canadian children's television show. There is a sweetness to seeing Glenn-Copeland buss it down to Missy Elliott's "Gossip Folks" with his much younger bandmates while on tour. Or enthusiastically talk with fans who have found solace in his music over the past few years.

His generosity of spirit seeps into his music, and the documentary does an excellent job showcasing the person behind the album. A track from Keyboard Fantasies is going on every mixtape I make for my crushes from here on out.

The suggested viewing time for Keyboard Fantasies is Tuesday, October 20 at 4 PM. That said, all of the films this year are available to watch from October 15-25, 2020, once you click on the link you have 72 hours to watch the film.