Please don’t stop the music

My dad sent me this link and I thought of sharing it with you all even though it’s a fairly popular song. This song, STand By Me, holds a special place in my heart because my brother dedicated it to the OA and me at our engagement and sang it for us. Sweet child.

I love the way they’ve taken street singers from around the world and overlaid the voices and mixed it to create one song – music uniting the world.   Over the last couple of months I find myself gravitating towards jazz, blues, R&B and really soaking it in (I’d be happy for any recommendations from you all). They send these little shivers down my spine as I sit entranced, marvelling at the talent that goes into something like this. As I rediscover music that my parents played day after day, it feels like a rebirth. The angsty days of hard rock and the love struck days of Bollywood fade into the background as I put on CD after CD of soul music and hope that it will soak into my children’s very bones as they go about their daily business.

I remember my grandmother lying between my brother and me every night, patting us to sleep and telling us about stuff around the world. One of the things that made a deep impression on me was her telling us about the atrocities that the Africans suffered. It built a great deal of empathy and her words still run through my head at the oddest of times… She’d say “Africans have such beautiful voices because that was God’s way of carrying them through their darkest hours. The kernel of sorrow they carry manifests itself in their singing and that is how why they are blessed with so  much music.” Prevented from reading, writing, praying, living freely, all they had left was the music in their souls. The songs were mostly about freedom, but very often they carried codes as the slaves helped each other escape. As part of the human race I feel the burden of guilt for what they’ve been through. I remember crying when Obama won, not because I’m interested in American politics, but because the walk was such a long and difficult one. Over 12 million slaves were shipped to America starting in the 16th century until just 150 years ago.

People often tell me that driving a car is the ultimate in freedom and self-sufficiency. I think you are truly self sufficient only if you have music in your soul and an instrument at your fingers. Walk, hop on to a truck, hitch a ride… as long as you have some music to keep you company you won’t feel the lack of anything. What more can a person want if they have a song in their head and a melody running through their heads? Can you ever be truly alone if you can pick up a guitar and strum? Now that it is winter I go for my walk after the children go to bed, my head wrapped up to my nose in a shawl, hands dug into my pocket, singing loudly to myself in to the cold dark, windy night.

I envy musicians more than I envy writers, inventors, doctors or any other professional. Actually I don’t even think of music as a profession. It is part of who you are – like your nails and your skin. There’s no getting under it. There’s no getting away from it. You can always have it along with someone or something else. Your lover might leave you, your parents will die, your children may desert you and you might lose your job, but music? No one can take that song away from you.

On that note I leave you with another song I am tripping on – The Blues ain’t nothing but a Woman crying for her Man -Dinah Washington.

Oh who am I kidding? Here’s more 

This brilliant Coltrane take on My favourite things

and oh my God, this.. .

and how will this list be complete without Ray Charles? Actually it isn’t even a list to begin with…

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42 thoughts on “Please don’t stop the music

  1. A great post as always…even if I don’t de-lurk that often 🙂

    One my favorite songs is Strange Fruit sung by Billie Holliday? Have you heard that one? Such horrific lyrics once you figure out what the song is about….but so lovely it always gives me goosebumps. It was written by Meerpol, a Jewish schoolteacher when he saw a photograph depicting the lynching of two black men. A haunting, beautiful song. You might have already heard it but if you haven’t, check it out.

      • oh! that is one of my most fav song in the whole wide world….and this one, Stand By Me, gives me goosebumps everytime i listen to it….I think i was black in my prevous birth..coz i love black music..i love black men..ahem! 😉 on that note u must listen to these classic Soul and RB songs…

        1. Lets stay together by AL Green (this is the one that sets the romantic mood…)

        2.Erkyah Badu ‘s songs

        3. my man Marvin Gaye ;)))) oh i am a soul and RB gal…i loved this post…

          • oh hot momma! i recently discovered this guy called Teddy Pendergrass…you may already know him…but there is a song called ‘How can you mend a broken heart’ am not able to find the video for it..but here;s the AL Green’s version….mind blowing…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgAFcvIw8J4

            and not sure if you heard this song : At Last by Etta james…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVI254QGSQ4

            but the best thing is…like the one you posted above…there is a talent show called America’s got talent…an unassuming newyork subway singer (she also happens to be mother of one of the oscar winning actress )who was in her 50
            ‘s came and blew the judges away….with her take on At Last…my god! i almost cried …

            YOU MUST SEE THIS VIDEO :

            3. Barry White’s Cant Get enough of your love ,babe! oh man! this one simply melts in ur ears 🙂

  2. lovely post.
    on a complete aside do you know what is the “ultimate” test in freedom (and self expression) that you can tell your husband “Oh this reminds me of this guy I was going out with” and not get lynched, honour killed. The ultimate litmus test, babes.

      • Wow really agree with aneela on the “ultimate” test in freedom 🙂 So many songs bring back memories that you are not comfortable discussing with your hubby or your parents even today right? But the fact that we can talk to our hubbies abt some of these things…I am glad our hubbies are made thicker than those guys we were going out with 🙂

        • And btw lovely post as usual Mad Momma 🙂 Reminds me I need to go hunt down these songs and put them into my iPod. And sigh…such discussions always make me regret why I discontinued learning the guitar…

  3. Lady! you got magic in your words. I was taking a work related call from home and reading your post..i was so absorbed that i missed answering when they called out my name. i was on the speaker phone, my son heard my name and poked me.. 😛 well, work can wait a few mins..

  4. Tried Joe Bonamassa? He’s fantastic. So is Walter Trout. I totally recommend their music, and if you can see either of them in concert, make sure to be at the very front – oh man, can they play the guitar or what!

  5. Ella!!–I’m surprised no one mentioned her? Also if you want to listen to some of the newer ones, there’s Norah Jones…she’s got a couple of really good ones.

    Also, if you’re into the fusion jazz scene, there’s susheela raman. I love this song of hers:

    love her voice!!

  6. My favs – Dave Brubecks greatest hits – Bossa Nova…when KB was 2.5 he was so into it – now it’s gone. And of course Stan Getz – girl from Ipanema. Unrelated note – KG’s school teacher reas this book to them called “A Soup Opera” with a CD to go with it – not sure if you can get it at the library – it is so expensive the book – but the kids love it totally. How they relate to music is amazing.
    I so totally agree with you. I always say I want to have another birth and be a musician. A good one. And I want to be an Indian woman musician! Well, the next best thing in this birth – am praying that KG esp will get a good teacher and be able to sing really well – she loves it now and catches on to tunes and is always singing some random made up song. Nothing like music. Stays with you for life. Even if you loose your voice, it is there in your head.

  7. Brilliant post. I have to agree, music comes from the soul. I have nothing to add to your list, but there is a Jazz Utsav in B’ town coming up soon. Come visit us!

  8. I know that most people envy musicians. But I envy dancers – those who can dance without music.

    That said, I love music. And it’s just a part of my love. I love everything with a soul – books, music, paintings, websites…even softwares!

  9. am not much into music..
    so not sure if this song fits in here but Africa and freedom reminds me of a very popular k’naan’s original (not the Football world cup one) “Waving Flag” song. The lyrics is so touching and haunting and I simple love it. goes like this..

    Born to a throne, stronger than Rome
    But Violent prone, poor people zone
    But it’s my home, all I have known
    Where I got grown, streets we would roam
    But out of the darkness, I came the farthest
    Among the hardest survival
    Learn from these streets, it can be bleak
    Except no defeat, surrender retreat
    So we struggling, fighting to eat and
    We wondering when we’ll be free
    So we patiently wait, for that fateful day
    It’s not far away, so for now we say

    When I get older, I will be stronger
    They’ll call me freedom, just like a Waving Flag

    am sure you must have heard it!!

  10. Pingback: If it takes the blues to turn me into her then so be it.. « Ramblings of Micky’s mind

  11. Totally agree with you. Music is our soul and our heart. It can make me cry in a second, laugh with joy or just feel peaceful. And the humans that we are, we take each song and make it our very own, just by association.

  12. I saw the PBS documentary- Playing for Change ( http://www.playingforchange.com/) You should watch the other episodes, really beautiful.

    I am sure you know of old classic jazz and R&B because of your musical collection 🙂

    I would like to share a new artist that i adore. Esperanza Spalding is sure musical genious with her background and talent. Her song lyrics are beautiful.

    Precious (my favorite song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyjyNw3OKFk)

    I know you know ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVhSCVVz5rI&feature=related)

    Enjoy

  13. Hey MM,
    The last para where you say I envy musicians..its totally totally what i have felt and yes.. you hav a song in your heart and your never alone. Love this 🙂

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