Friday, June 4, 2010

Soul Food



When I googled brain+music just a minute ago, I got more than sixty five million hits. It's a big theme in neurology at the moment. Very cool. This week I enjoyed this article from the NY Times, titled "Exploring Music's Hold on the Mind." This is my kind of science, oh yeah.

For me, the importance of music goes far beyond the brain. Music feeds my soul, it does. My life has a soundtrack, always has. It feels like a survival thing to me; that I would die without music. Perhaps that isn't literally true, but it seems that way.

As a kid, my life was accompanied by musicals and symphonies, the musical choices my father made. Coming of age was all about the Beatles, etc. Choose any time in my life and I can pinpoint a piece of music or at least a genre, that got me through the day. I remember even as a child listening obsessively to the ballet suites of Aram Il'yich Khachaturian. As a teenager I literally played James Brown, Live at the Apollo Theater to death. Who knew it was possible to wear out a record? You would think vinyl would last forever.

Fast forward to my twenties? Abbey Road. And on, and on.

A few weeks ago, I was all about Brazilian music, especially bossa nova and samba. It's such uplifting music, and too it smoothes my energy, polishes my aura, brings out the luster in my electromagnetic field. After a couple of weeks of bossa nova, abruptly (or so it seemed) I began listening to gravelly voiced guitar playing singer/songwriters, Eric Clapton in particular. Maybe my energy got too smooth, maybe my aura needed a little ruffing up. Or maybe I needed a piercing infusion of melancholy. Your guess is as good as mine.

Sometimes my theme music is very specific. For the last couple of days, I've been listening, over and over again, to the great Nick Lowe song, "What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding." I've listened to it so many times I may even end up memorizing the lyrics (quite a feat for me). I'm not quite clear why, though it's possible the song is acting as a spiritual tonic for the stomach-wrenching, heart/mind-wrenching reaction I have to anything I read about the oil spill in the Gulf. The pictures of the birds, covered in slime? I can't bear it.

Thanks, Nick, for this beautiful song. Here's a version in which both Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe sing the song that Elvis made famous. I embedded the vid in the largest format I could, as a metaphor for its huge impact of the moment. Hope you enjoy it.

Peace.

18 comments:

Barbara said...

Music is my soulmate. It always reflects what's going on in my life. I love the fact that it can loop forever in my brain with no complaints.

Oh, those birds. I just turned the paper over so I didn't have to look at them any long. The disturbing thought went through my mind that we might have triggered the beginning of the end with the BP catastrophe. Right now I'm hearing a somber requiem for all the lost life in what used to be the most beautiful body of water in the world.

Barbara said...

longER.

Reya Mellicker said...

Yep. I couldn't eat my breakfast after looking at that picture. Made me ill.

Try "What's so funny 'bout ..." It really helps.

ellen abbott said...

I used to listen to music all the time but i have found that in the last 10 or 15 years that silence suits me. I do enjoy music though and Eric Clapton is an eternal favorite. Also an Elvis Costello fan.

John Hayes said...

I follow the New Orleans Ladder blog to keep in touch with what's happening in the gulf, but I can't bear to watch the video. Basically, we're seeing a fossil fuel Chernobyl. I love "What So Funny 'Bout..."--I bought the Armed Forces lp when it first came out & almost played it to death! & yes, Bossa Nova is definitely good for the soul.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

It breaks my heart to see the photos of the birds and wetlands along the Gulf. I try not to go too deep into my thought process on this because like Barbara I fear we have triggered the unimaginable. The thought that this disaster could spread globally on the jet stream is almost unbelievable, and yet I believe it.

Lynne said...

Have you heard the Bossa 'n Stones CDs? It's a mix of different artists singing the hits of the Rolling Stones with a bossa nova beat. It's our pool music!

Reya Mellicker said...

Lynne I will check it out!

Mrsupole said...

Loved it and it got rid of that Lady Gaga song that has been playing in my brain since I heard it.

Peace is so much better. Although I could listen to Reggae for days and days, so I know how you feel.

Peace be with you.

God bless.

Reya Mellicker said...

I love reggae music!

The Pollinatrix said...

Pandora makes me so happy. I've perfected two stations on there, one that I call Eclectic Ambient and the other is Mellow Yearning. I like to play them on Quick Mix, and then I can get stuff like Charlie Parker, followed by AfroCelt Sound System, followed by Norah Jones.

Linda Sue said...

Music stirs my emotions too much. If I listened to it all day every day I might become desensitized. I like silence or sounds of muffled water and muffled traffic... It does not create the same emo. I can just be such a mess if i hear something anything that sparks feeling...and if it is reggae or mo town I can't help but dance- I spaz dance...you don't want to witness it!
I think that you, MS Reya, are music- it's a natural rthym that moves through you, I feel it....all the way across country!

Reya Mellicker said...

Love spaz dancing ... just check out Elvis Costello during the early part of his career. Oh yeah.

I have a dear friend who is always saying I'm a song. Don't know what it means, but I am so flattered.

I do NOT listen to music all the time, but every day at some point music is a part of my experience. But when I'm out walking, for instance, I don't plug in to the ipod. I listen to the birds, the breeze through the leaves, etc. It's all music to me.

Chris Wolf said...

I love coming back after a long time away and seeing the blogs of friends that feed my soul and passions. Aah, music. What a gracious gift in the face of the catastrophes. And I didn't know this song! Loved it. Thank you!

Karen said...

Wow, this version of PL&U sounds more melancholy & less angry than the one I'm used to hearing... Interesting! And Elvis looks so young! :)

Oh, the pictures... Awful. Just awful.

Marian Wiseman said...

I just sent you my daisies pic, and then I went to your blog from yesterday and saw YOUR daisies. Coincidence? I think not.

Jo Floyd Lucas said...

"Where are the strong?
Who are the trusted?
Where is the harmony...sweet harmony?'

Pretty much sums it all up. Love it, Reya. And you ARE a song.

Memory Echoes said...

Part of my recent daily soundtrack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eY4DnVohrCY