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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Certainly one of the joys of the internet is how you may start in one place and travel down a path to someplace magical. It started a few days ago. I was visiting one of the blogs I follow, Salmon Brook Farms, and there I found a video of it’s author, Lavinia, playing acoustic guitar and singing. A Martin guitar, I found out upon inquiring. Her playing is exquisite  and the sound of the Martin, so very soulful. It made me remember how much I love this kind of music.

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For me, and perhaps for you, music has framed many life experiences. You could play me any number of different songs in any number of types of music and it would be as if a spotlight turned on, and a video played of some segment of my life gone by, complete with the people there at the time, location, and every feeling I went through in that moment. Music is so very powerful and weaves intricately with memory to form these deeply felt emotions. I realize how much I have missed it in my life of late.

So when I listened to Lavinia playing, I thought of all the wonderful acoustic guitar music I have right here in my house, going back to early folk, and including guitarists like John Fahey and Robbie Basho (these on albums), John Renbourn (on tape), right to more current times on CD (Snuffy Walden, Nightnoise, Jeff Johnson – with Brian Dunning – and others) and one of my all-time favorites, Will Ackerman. To say the man is incredibly gifted is an understatement. So while part of my day today was earmarked for me to be at my desk working on taxes, I saw an opportunity to turn on my Mac with it’s wonderful sound system, and which sits on the desk immediately behind me, tune in to YouTube, and listen to Will.

Among his many songs, all written by him, I found a video of him playing what he considers his best song, The Bricklayer’s Beautiful Daughter, below.

But what truly touched me was in another video in which he discussed his work over the last 35 years, how he creates, and samplings of his music. I found that the piece I most love, The Impending Death of the Virgin Spirit, was written to express the feeling of Will’s innocence the night before his mother took her life when he was 12. I have always been deeply moved by this haunting song from the moment I heard it; now I know why.

Will Ackerman is just one of numerous outstanding musicians to record on the acclaimed Windham Hill label, which he founded, never imagining it would become as immensely successful as it did. You can learn more about him on his website, where he also shares tunings for his songs by album.

I’m just listening as I work and finding my every nerve ending remarkably soothed. If acoustic music appeals to you, check in on Lavinia, too, whom I thank for pointing me on this path of rediscovery. I’ll be listening more.

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This has to be one of the most joyful pieces of music I know. I have the original album (yup, that dates me!) where this song was also the album title – Oh Happy Day by the Edwin Hawkins Singers. The video quality, due to its age, is quite poor, but the music is live and as electrifying as ever. Turn up the volume, people – it’s Christmas!

Hope yours is happy.

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For anyone – and everyone – who’s had a rough day …

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And if you’re a woman who’s ever doubted her beauty, take a toddle over to my blogging buddy, 47whitebuffalo’s blog, and enjoy a wonderful listening experience with Aldrey’s “Mirate” (Look at Yourself.)

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I was visiting the site of a fellow blogger, 47whitebuffalo, who periodically offers themes for us visitors to add to with musical choices. Her most recent was the theme of Love to fly in the face of the upcoming Friday the 13th. And one of the most magnificent pieces of music came to me. I added it to her blog, but then … why not share it here?

We’re going back in time on this one – What Love (Suite), (which I have on vinyl, BTW), was released by The Collectors, a Canadian band, in 1968. One could discuss the merits of various pieces on the album, but the sax solo is indisputably one of the most soulful pieces of music I have ever heard in my life.

There are no stunning visuals on this video – its all for your ears … enjoy.

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This morning had me out early running an important errand. As I drove over the mountain, the sun just beginning to burn off the fog that nestled along the roadside and hushed around the now-turning fall foliage, this came on the radio. And it made me smile.

That million watt smile of his doesn’t hurt any either. Happy Thursday!

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There are some movies that, once you see the trailer, you already know you will see more than once. This is undoubtedly the case for me with Les Mis, to be released this Christmas.

Among the movie previews a friend and I were seeing was an extended view of how the new Les Mis was made and it’s unlike any other film musical to date; it’s filmed completely live with each actor actually singing their part rather than syncing to the voices pre-recorded. We were both blown away. I’ve known Hugh Jackman could sing … but Anne Hathaway? Amanda Seyfried? Russell Crowe? And the visuals … simply breathtaking. The trailer below and the piece on how the film was made moved me to tears. This Les Mis is already incomparable.

Take a look at the trailer here, or on the official web site, but while there, be sure to watch The Extended First Look.

 

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I know I am not alone in having dreams and goals. And just like you, I experience periods of seemingly endless challenges and/or loss in which those dreams are so far on the back burner, the stove isn’t even in the room.

There are numerous ways to find our way back, and one of them that I resurrected this morning is the book The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Greater Creativity by Julia Cameron. I read the book awhile ago and did a number of the exercises, but I think, right now, checking in with artist/writer/teacher Julia will help me get back on the path to my dream. While I have never stopped being creative, I’ve not had the energy, focus or desire to pursue what I most want to do with it. I’m seeing a spark again, and I want to grow that glimmer.

Feeling stuck artistically? I recommend The Artist’s Way for any creative person who is struggling with getting their show on the road.

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I was first consciously aware of this song when I saw it on Glee, though I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it before; it must not have registered. Then it came on the radio as I headed out in the car the other day. It just lit me up – and I was dancing in the car. Maybe a version of “when the student is ready ….” What a great, upbeat song.

This video of Kelly Clarkson doing Stronger also features a flash mob or two and even has some mermaids under water!

It’s Monday morning … why not start on a happy, dancing note.? Go on … get up and dance. You know you want to.

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This is another beautiful piece of music by the incomparable Mike Rowland, which accompanies a touching film of Emperor Penguins by Ruedi & Priska Abbühl. The music might be classified as New Age or meditation music if that helps you know if you’d like to listen. But the combination of these magnificent animals, so sensitively filmed, with Mike Rowlands music is, well… for me, just heaven … right to the wonderful end — you’ll just have to watch and see.

While working, I listen to music – often iTunes. Today, under the Ambient category in iTunes I listened to a French station – Frequences Relaxation – Music therapy to relax mind, body and spirit. And that it did. Along the way, they played a piece by Mike Rowland and I thought you would enjoy it; I hope you do. I find his music calming and centering. Along these lines, I posted a piece of his work not too long ago,  Enchanted, which also features simply magical visuals.

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I am frequently amazed at how many talented writers, artists, photographers, etc. are out there blogging, and am equally amazed at how by following a link or two, we find wonderful and unexpected gems.

I was looking at a Fresh Pressed site, photographs taken by Loren Cooper during a blanketing of snow in London and was drawn to one commenter. I visited Inidna’s blog where she had posted videos and information about an Australian musician, Gotye.  I’ve never heard of him, but am easily getting lost in his music, and am already considering buying his album. What drew me in immediately is this deeply touching animated video wed to one of Gotye’s songs, Bronte, from his album Making Mirrors. What a brilliant combination of music and story.

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Here’s a little treat for you. In my restless state, I was revisiting some places on the web I particularly enjoyed, and this is one of them.

Have you ever been to see the Sistine Chapel? I have not, but would love to. If you would, too, then take a look at this fabulous web site where you can view the entire Sistine Chapel in 360 glorious degrees. Your cursor will move the chapel in any direction, and you can also zoom in on any detail. Perhaps one of the most wonderful features of the site is the sacred music that is playing in the background. I was working earlier, (after I’d taken my tour), and just listening to the music while I worked.

This may be the closest I … or you … ever get to this miraculous piece of art. Hope you are inspired …

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Enchanted, entranced …. swept away … by such a lovely piece of music by Mike Rowland, who I am just now discovering. Entitled “Magic Moment,” the added visuals, (by truus 1949), are just that – simply magical, a reminder of such moments – so often in our lives and not noticed, or just a star’s breath ahead of us – and a reminder of how beautiful we actually are. Watch and summon your own true beauty. Feel the magic always in our lives if we just let ourselves be.

 

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