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netmouse: (Life)
This morning I was feeling better than I have for a long time, and found myself singing in the shower. "Somewhere that's Green" from Little Shop of Horrors, the jazz classic "Four", followed by "We'll be Together Again" (this is how you sliiiide your voice, kids), and finally a bit of fun scatting! Mike Grace and Betsy King (my high school Jazz and Voice teachers) would have been proud. And I bet Mike would have been surprised. He really had to twist my arm to get me to scat improv in class.

The ability to sing, and yes, to improvise, has been a treasure, and for me it's also something I grew up with. Music has just always been a big part of my life. As I was reminded when, half an hour later, I was looking for a file on my computer and came across one titled "Essay on Music" from 2004. It was written like an email TO someone that I saved, but I no longer remember to whom, and anyway I thought I would share it more generally. It's about me in 2004, not me now, but these little glimpses of my past self are interesting.

a bit of an essay on Music...

You asked me a couple times this past weekend what music I like, and I never really answered. I was thinking about it this morning and thought I would type up those thoughts. It's not a simple subject, as my tastes in music are as diverse as my interests in everything else.

I was raised on a steady diet of Rush, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, The Doors, U2, Talking Heads, Yes, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, The Pointer Sisters, Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Mozart, The Beatles, Paul Simon, Paul Winter, Fleetwood Mac, ZZ Top, Janis Joplin, Lena Horne, Billy Holiday, and of course Bill Cosby, included because the music of laughter is one I most miss in the seasons when it is rare, and we had more of his albums in the house than we had of any other single artist.

Oldies such as are compiled in the soundtracks to The Big Chill, Stand By Me, and Good Morning Vietnam were also popular around the house and are still favorites of mine. When I say steady diet, I mean it - there is rarely an occasion or meal when the family gathers together when there is not music on, and often loudly; we might use Aerosmith to wake the house during the holidays, for example. Every birthday or other occasion sees gifts of music; there is a lot more jazz and classical material than I have suggested so far, and other material harder to classify, like Blue Man Group.

In my family, all of us sing and all of us dance. I danced a hundred times to the soundtracks of Footloose, Fame, and Flashdance, to Michael and Janet Jackson, Depeche Mode, and other artists named above. WHAM, Billy Joel, Phil Collins, Pat Benatar, and Huey Louis and the News also come to mind. I enjoy Musical soundtracks, and can sing a lot of songs from many of them. Favorites include Chess, Blues in the Night, Les Miserables, Free to Be You and Me, The Sound of Music, and Peter Pan (I don't know that much about taking care of kids, but I can sing to them). My dad played self-taught piano of the boogy-woogy and jazz varieties, and rock and roll on the drums. My feet could keep up with any rhythm, more facile than my hands even, sometimes. I never got that far learning any other instrument than my own body and voice.

As I headed into college, I further developed tastes for Queen, They Might Be Giants, REM, Sarah Vaughan, Indigo Girls, Tori Amos and Loreena McKennit, Santana, Cake, Chopin, and others. I learned to sing Rachmaninoff and several bawdy ballads, and continued to be touched by the soundtrack of The Color Purple. I really like driving to the soundtrack of The Matrix.

I have become particularly fond of certain selections by Joan Osbourne, Greg Brown, Randy Newman, Boiled in Lead, and The Proclaimers, and I appreciate the musical taste of Quentin Tarantino. Steven Brust did a song called "Neil Gaiman Pastiche # 27" that I like a lot...

Currently, I most commonly dance to Pat Benatar, Shania Twain, Music from Moulin Rouge, and Pink. I think you might like some tracks from Pink: Try This. I was pleased to discover that Right Said Fred: Up and Shania Twain: Up! are both sexy, danceable albums. Seems appropriate, what with nearly the same name and all.

When I try to think of a favorite, Paul Simon comes to mind. I never got into Simon and Garfunkel but rather prefer his solo albums, especially Still Crazy After All These Years, and Graceland. Simon probably laid down the base of whatever spirituality I have, since I was raised by two slightly pagan agnostics, and he gave me some of the language with which I relate to love. I once used "Goodbye" to split up with my boyfriend. He's really been very influential on me...

This is the story of how we begin to remember.
This is the powerful pulsing of love in the vein.
This is the dream of falling and calling your name out --
These are the roots of rhythm, and the roots of rhythm remain.
netmouse: (Life)
I was recently telling another parent about how much Rosie has enjoyed the work of Laurie Berkner, so I was just reviewing some of her videos to pass a link to said parent. This song is so simple, yet so beautiful and fun. (Song starts at about 30 seconds on the video).

One Seed,
Two hands,
Dig a Hole;
Start to Plant.

Watch it Grow.
Pass it Down.
One Earth
Spins Around.

netmouse: (Headphones)
Rosie was restless tonight, asking me to tell her stories from when I was a little kid. So finally I told her the story of how her Aunt Sarah´╗┐ and I used to share a long room, with our beds in each corner of one side of the room. On the other side of the room, I told her, was a shelving unit, and on a shelf in the middle of that was where we kept our record player.

When we were really having trouble falling asleep, we would put on a record. And then when the song was half done, the record would stop and one of us would have to get out of bed and go flip it over, because a record has the music recorded on both sides, unlike a CD, but the record player could only play one side. One of us would turn the record over, and we would listen to the rest of the music on the other side.

And the record we would play, I told her, was the Moonlight Sonata. And then I brought it up on YouTube on my phone, started it playing, and put the phone face down next to her on the bed. She started to sit up, wanting to look at it, but I told her there was nothing to see, just lay down and listen.

After a few minutes, she said, "It's making me sleep, mama."
"Good." I said.

A short while later I heard her breathing deepen, and she really was asleep. I turned the music off, and snuck out of the room.

Living in the future can be amazing sometimes, especially when it can connect you with the past.
netmouse: (Headphones)


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