Simple Gifts

What a lovely “coronation hymn”. Maestro John Williams wrote a piece based on Aaron Copeland’s arrangement of the old Shaker Tune “Simple Gifts” in “Appalachian Spring”. Yo-Yo Ma performed along with Itzhak Perlman on violin, Gabriela Montero on piano and Anthony McGill on clarinet.
“Simple Gifts” is an 1848 Shaker song by Elder Joseph Brackett. The lyrics go like this:

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

This is a Shaker dance song. Like the Sufis, the Shakers dance, or “shake”, their religion.

Six Songs

In The World in Six Songs. How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature, Daniel J. Levitin lists six songs that inspired him in 1975 to become a musician. These are his “comfort” songs:

  1. Autobahn by Kraftwerk
  2. Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony as performed by Herbert von Karajan & the Berlin Philharmonic
  3. Revolver by the Beatles (whole album)
  4. Through my Sails by Neil Young, with CSNY
  5. The Great Gig in the Sky by Pink Floyd
  6. Night and Day as perfomed by Stan Getz

I’m not a musician, but my favorite six songs (oof, only six!) are:

  1. Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix as played by Stevie Ray Vaughan (ultimate guitar ballad)
  2. You Turn me on I’m a Radio by Joni Mitchell (best lyrics)
  3. Bach’s Matthäus Passion, Aria “Mache dich mein Herze rein” (responsibility)
  4. Godchild by Miles Davis (creative freedom)
  5. In the Garden (No Guru No Method No Teacher) by Van Morrison (mystic freedom)
  6. Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan (young on the road)

Hi Dolcevita, Dolce, Helmut, Eamonn, dear reader, I’d be curious to know: What’s your mixed tape? Only six. OK? Here goes a “Stöckchen” :-)

Mike Scott: Bring ’em all in

levitin-songsI’ve been reading Daniel J. Levitin’s stimulating book, The World in Six Songs. How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature, in which he explores how we co-evolved with the music we make. He comes up with six categories of song: Friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, religion and love. These songs, he says, have been sung for tens of thousands of years. His book is full of insights blending his experience as a music industry professional (he has worked on albums by k.d. lang, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, David Byrne and many more) with his research in the neuroscience of music perception. Songs of love, he says, are about something bigger than just ourselves. One of his main selections in this catergory is “Bring ’em All In” by Mike Scott, the lead singer of the Irish band, the Watermen.

Mike Scott

Rob Halligan and Gareth Davies Jones

Continue reading Mike Scott: Bring ’em all in

Bo Diddley: Bomp-a-bomp-a-bomp. Bomp-bomp

The “Originator” of rock ‘n’ roll is dead. Bo Diddley (Dec 30, 1928 – June 2, 2008) was born in Mississippi, raised in Chicago, lived in Washington, D.C. for seven years (1959 to 1966) and was a key figure in that great movement that brought black roots into the mainstream. He created the driving, syncopated “Bo Diddley beat“.
Continue reading Bo Diddley: Bomp-a-bomp-a-bomp. Bomp-bomp

Drifting on Music

I guess in my life it’s always been the guitar player who gets the girl. When I’m feeling blue or stressed out and I want to drop my defenses and relax, there’s just nothing like good guitar music to take me there. Continue reading Drifting on Music