Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Decade of Musical Exploration

 When this new century and decade began I worked as a freelance film journalist.  I attended film festivals, screened films from around the world and interviewed dozens of film directors.  I thought I could avoid returning to writing about music or performing it, after leaving that endeavor in 1997, but when I watched those movies, I found myself focusing on musical elements, such as soundtracks.

In 1999, I saw two Canadian films that turned my ears towards classical music, The Red Violin and 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould, (by the same director and writers).  In 2001, I attended the last WOMAD, USA, near Seattle.  I found myself immersed in world music and I quickly fell in love with the global feast for the ears and eyes.

Suddenly the world opened up to me.  I received recordings from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.  I heard music sung in many tongues and played on exotic instruments.  My feet danced to poly rhythms, I learned the different rhythms of Afro-Latin, African, Asian and European traditional music.  I started singing in French and Spanish, just for fun.  I dreamed of owning a variety of lutes, drums and percussion instruments.  I found something that I could sink my teeth into, something delicious and nutritious.

So I listened to all the recordings I could get my hands on, I delved into traditional, folkloric, classical, jazz and early music.  I listened to Gregorian chants and kirtan chants sung in Sanskrit.  I learned about Hindustani beat-cycles and Finnish runo-songs, Sami chants and Native American healing music.  Some doors flung open and I, a Lomaxian student of the world, ran inside this new world.

A decade later, I realize that I have found my mission, sharing this wonderful healing music with the world through this blog.  But I am certain that I will also record and perform music again, (my music career ended in 1997).  I am still seeking a new voice.  I do not wish to perform folk-rock music as I did in the past.  Latin music, jazz, and other genres call to me, even medieval troubadour songs.

So we all embark on our paths, musical and otherwise.  It is my hope that our paths cross often, that this musical dialogue never ends, that we preserve the music traditions of our ancestors, and discover what lies within our cultural DNA.  It is my hope that musicians keep spreading peace, keep embracing the other and keep this marriage between cultures alive.   I believe we will do just that because many of us realize the healing potential in music.  Many of us realize that sung words, melodies, and rhythms are the stuff of the soul and none of us wish to live in a soulless world. 

May the beat play on...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

5 Ways to Relieve Stress with Music

1. Sing along with a favorite vocal recording

2. Sing while you work or play

3. Play music for a yoga or other exercise practice

4. Dance

5. Learn or re-learn to play a musical instrument of your choice

Perceive the entire world as musical.