Thursday, April 21, 2011

Music Saves My Life

Yes I am given to dramatic statements, I know, but the title of this post is no exaggeration. During the lowest, most wretched, heinous, hideous, horrible times of my life, music was my lifeline, keeping me tethered to the light, to the life force, until whatever personal storm I was enduring had passed.

During high school it was Motown and especially soul music that kept me from going off the deep end. Thank you Otis Redding! Thanks, James Brown! What would I have done without you? When I reflect on any era of my now rather long life, a soundtrack of the music that got me from one day to the next accompanies my memories.

During my 20's, I used to buy records from the dollar bins at the record store, based only on whim and intuition. It was in that way I discovered Lambert, Hendricks and Ross whose music was crucial during that decade of my life. I also discovered Django Reinhardt via the dollar bins. I could go on, but you get the idea, yes?

I guess itunes is the new dollar bin, isn't it?

All the arts are important, every form helps me become more fully human: kinder, more open minded, more open hearted. But music is the primary art, at least for me. Without music, where would I be? It kind of freaks me out to think about it.


lacochran's evil twin said...

Are you still taking guitar lessons? I hope so. :)

Jo said...

Oh, you know I agree with this post with every fiber of my being! Music is what "reorders" my brain when I'm confused, stressed, tired, or otherwise bothered.

I'm so grateful for the gifts that musicians and other artists have left for us...a kind of roadmap to passion, sanity, peace, or celebration.

Rock on, Reya, and don't worry, we'll never have to know what life would be like without music.

Jo said...

...and OH MAN, that top photo is crazy good!

glnroz said...

Where does all of that seem to be "hiding"?

Kerry said...

Love the lyrics: "Every mornin' find me moanin" It doesn't get much better than that! Also love Django.

The arts aren't just an escape from reality are they; they're more like a portal into it.

Elizabeth said...

Music does indeed soothe the savage beast/breast
can alter mood instantly
bring tears
make people do things they regret
delight in......

in fact music is a total DRUG
one I rather enjoy

choral singing is astounding for transportation

singing silly songs with kiddies at the end of school days.......

Yes, yes, dear Reya

Happy vernal season.

but to be used sparingly

Elizabeth said...

previous comment all muddled up --who cares!

Reya Mellicker said...

I love your comment, Elizabeth!

Jo I hope you have Chopin turned up to eleven as you travel across Missouri today.

I'm listening to Cuban be-bop (seriously!) and a sublime collaboration CD by Ry Cooder and Manuel Galban.

My life doesn't need saving at the moment, but oh man is it enriched by this music!

Reya Mellicker said...

Laura, they were bass lessons but no, I stopped the lessons because I have no pinky finger to speak of. Check out the hands of bass players - they all have substantial pinkies.

It's OK. I can listen, and sing, too. And of course dance. That's plenty!

Reya Mellicker said...

Kerry YES. Reality without music is not a realm I would be able to tolerate.

steven said...

reya the first music i remember would be when i was a very little boy and my mum took me on a double-decker bus into manchester to hear an orchestra play. i can remember eveyr detail of the building, the physical feeling of the music, the musicians, the coloure dlights reflecting in the rain puddles on the bus home. since then i have had music in my life teaching me, reminding me, comforting me, loving me, expressing me, moving me on, exciting me, saddening me. right now i am at the place of wanting to know where music comes from and what it expresses. i want to know how some musicians have learned how to get out of the way and be played by the music. i want to experience cultures and situations where the musician has shamanic features. i have a really rich imagination but reya i truly cannot imagine my life without music. steven

Dan Gurney said...

Hey, Reya--I just got back from four hours eating and singing and strummin' ukes with my peeps (a bunch of sixtyish aging ex-hippies). Music does it for me, too. Especially making music. As with everything else we Americans need to get back to producing rather than consuming... music, art, dance, drama, all of it.

lettuce said...

i need to spend more time with my ipod, haved been missing music lately....

also have been missing blogging - hello!

i love the branch/roots in the photo. wonderful

Reya Mellicker said...

Dan I agree with you completely about creating rather than always consuming. But as a consumate appreciater of music ... I'm glad to consume what others create, too.

Steven, every musician is a shaman, every artist. You get out of the way so that your poetry can move through you.

Also want to say, Steven, that you've introduced me to so much music. THANK YOU!

The Pollinatrix said...

How perfect - I happened to be hearing Amazing Grace in the background when I read this post title.

Reya Mellicker said...