Thursday, April 16, 2020

The curious case of Michael Barbaro's voice cadence

Five years ago I wrote about the hypnotizing voice of the then new NPR ads voice over person, and even postulated what the owner of that melodious voice would be like (somewhat like Parmigianino's Madonna dal Collo Lungo).

I also lamented and discussed uniquely young American female phenomenon of "vocal fry." Young, that is, until Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's spectacularly annoying voice made its debut during the attempted lynching of now Justice Kavanaugh.

Enter another radio voice into the arena: the strangely-patterned diction of Michael Barbaro, who is an American journalist and the host of The New York Times news podcast, The Daily.

Barbaro, who sounds like a really nice guy, is clearly a graduate of the William Shatner School of Diction, as his melodious voice seems to speak in "chunks."  He starts a sentence, makes unexpected stops after random words, has a delay of game second or two, and then continues the sentence as if nothing unusual has just been delivered to the airwaves.

Sort of like (my imaginary trascript): 
"Good afternoon. Today's podcast is...  ....  ... fascinating.  We will speak with Lenny Campello, who can best be described... ... ... as a legend... ... ... in his own mind, and perhaps... ... ... in a few other... ... ... ... ... minds - welcome Lenny."
The voice starts - first gear goes in smoothly, second gear no problem... but then neutral kicks in... and then Mikey pops the clutch back to second gear -- it is spectacularly addictive!!!

Listen to The Daily here.