Oh man! Ponder the Obamas summer playlist 2019.
It’s been far too long since Playing For Change appeared on this blog.
It was late September, 2007 when chance ushered us to a movie theatre playing Across the Universe. We knew nothing about the movie, had no idea who director Julie Taymor was, let alone watched trailers or checked reviews. Void of external interference, untainted by collective jibber-jabber or prickling with tabloid expectation – we entered blank slates, emerged transformed. Walking to the car in silence, unabashed grins said it all. From that day forward Across the Universe served as a silent barometer – get it you’re in my tribe, miss the point I have serious doubts.
Despite Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band being one of the first albums I owned, I wouldn’t say I was a Beatles super-fan. What Across the Universe did was use Beatles music to transcend time and place, delivering social commentary as relevant today as it was in 1967.
A few days ago a still of the movie Yesterday appeared on my news feed. Starring Himesh Patel as a floundering British singer-songwriter who wakes from a freak bus accident to find himself in a alternate universe where The Beatles never existed. Patel’s character Jack seizes the opportunity to perform Beatles songs to a world that’s never heard them. Directed by Danny Boyle ( Slumdog Millionaire ), Jack finds fame and risks losing everything he loves. Sounds pretty lame, right? Not so fast.
Across the Universe proved Beatle’s music more powerful than quaint skips down memory lane. Those who didn’t get Across the Universe likely described it as a frivolous love story. Here’s hoping Boyle’s Yesterday delivers an equally surprising gift. Scheduled for general release on June 28, 2019 we’ll have to wait and see if Boyle delivers. Until then I’ll avoid media contamination. No reviews, hype, praise, condemnation or analysis of Yesterday shall touch me until seeing it for myself. Stay tuned…..
Tonight I discovered The Dead South, a Canadian folk/bluegrass band based in Regina, Saskatchewan. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dead_South
Oh man, they’re so good!
Ponder Passenger ( British musician Michael David Rosenberg ) covering The Sound of Silence. You’re welcome and happy Sunday.
Taylor Swift has a secret power, the ability to fill a dance floor with wedding guests. Obscure as it may be, that’s no small feat. Her 2014 hit “Shake It Off” joins Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars and Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline in the wedding DJ hall of fame. Don’t argue with me, I speak from experience – it’s a fact.
Today Taylor Swift released her song “Me”, I doubt she realizes how it will impact the wedding world. Mark my words – within a few weeks “Me” will serenade newlyweds on their entrance to ballroom head tables, solidify itself as first dance tune of choice, fill dance floors and elicit boisterous drunken sing-a-longs.
Kudos Taylor, weddings thank you for injecting fresh air into the DJ hall of fame.
Music is a powerful drug, a mischievous elixir capable of elevating spirits you didn’t know were worn out. Sometimes it takes a infectious Fionn skeleton to set things right.
CBC Radio provided background chatter for this afternoon’s drive home from work. Traffic, weather and politics morphed into a monotone loop. When was my last day off? How many hours have I worked this week? Never mind, doesn’t matter, I’m so tired. Suddenly shoulders lifted and toes tapped as red light turned to green.
Exhibiting signs of full blown infection, I cranked the radio, gliding home on a Fionn Skeleton cloud. Go figure.
Music history regards 1982 as the year American rock band Toto achieved its greatest success. Mainstream radio saturated airwaves with Top 100 Toto hits – Roseanna, Hold the Line and Africa. You didn’t have to like Toto, I changed the station when they aired but still knew every word by heart. Toto hits were a fact of life, songs destined to occupy supermarkets and customer service hold lines 30 years later.
Fast forward to the continent of Africa, Namibia to be precise. Namibian artist Max Siedentopf recently created an ode to Africa in his nation’s desert. Seven stark white pedestals, each with a solar powered mp3 player constantly looping Toto’s Africa. Siedentopf freely admits that despite using the most durable materials available, his dream of Africa looping for all eternity could be stymied by harsh desert conditions.
As I write my neighbours’ 16 year old son loops Sex Pistols Anarchy in the U.K. at high volume. Young neighbour prompted my speakers to blare Sex Pistols in solidarity. Truth is, neighbour kid made my day.
I was 16 in October 1976 when Sex Pistols recorded Anarchy in the U.K. Sex Pistols didn’t register in rural Canada, small town AM radio played top 40 mainstream rock sprinkled with Country & Western hits. A friend’s older brother home from university introduced me to punk rock, I was transformed. Anarchy in the U.K. expanded sheltered perspectives, broadened horizons, made every neck & arm hair stand at attention.
Over 40 years later another 16 year old discovered the Sex Pistols. Different time, place and circumstance, but no less impactful. Kudos to you neighbour kid, play music as loud as you like.
In 2011 Toronto visionaries Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman launched Choir! Choir! Choir! Twice a week, Clinton’s Tavern in Toronto opens its doors to anyone wanting to participate in a sing-a-long. Goldman and Adilman teach arrangements for one song, then film the performance. The results are magical.
When I watch Choir! Choir! Choir! videos my heart sings in harmony.
Choir! Choir! Choir! transcends race, religion and politics. Voices of everyday people erupt in inspiring song.
In May 2016, 1,999 voices filled Toronto’s Massey Hall to remember Prince with When Doves Cry.
On October 11, 2018 Choir! Choir! Choir! gathered at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto to mark the first anniversary of Gord Downie’s death. Led by Goldman, Adilman and surviving members of Tragically Hip, Grace, Too enveloped the night.
For those who might not know Downey, the Hip or Grace,Too – I conclude with the Tragically Hip performing Grace,Too at Woodstock 1999.