“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”— Maya Angelou
I love what Maya Angelou writes of here and I wish I had thought of music that way over the past five decades. Instead, I’ve tended to wallow in music. When I am going through tough times – times of loss or sadness – that is when I really turn to music to first create for me a space to wallow, then to lift me out of that sacred sad space. That is all good, though, if you think of it like Angelou – realizing that the writer of the music that resonates so within you must experience something like you experience means you are not alone. A common chord is struck. Someone knows you.
But I also use music to set my mood. Sabbath for me requires restful and/or melodic classical music, such as Satie’s Gymnopedies (favourites), or Debussy’s Clair de lune. Maybe in the mid-day, I’ll move to some Brazilian music such as this Putamayo album. And then in the evening of a restful day, maybe some Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar music or this Hapa album of Hawaiian music. Or perhaps some lovely Italian soft opera likeAndrea Bocelli’s Romanza. And to completely wind down, Shirley Horn’s Here’s To Life.
If I need to clean, I need old familiar music that I can sing to, such as Natalie Cole. Other favourites for this task oriented need are Etta James’ album Her Best and Harry Belafonte’s The Far Side of the Hill and Delia (samples from an album I have).
When I want to raise up childhood memories, I think of my Dad and the albums he would play in the late nights when we lived in Falls Church, Virginia, with the veranda doors opened to the front porch and beyond. Favourites from that era included Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (the original from 1969 – this is just one song from the album), West Side Story, Al Hirt’s Man With A Horn, Joan Baez’s In Concert Albums which included Barbara Allen, Mary Hamilton, Queen of Hearts, Tears in My Eyes, Manha de Carnaval as well as some of her protest songs such as With God On Our Side (which I am sure all my conservative friends will adore, but hey, I’m just sharing the memories). There were many others of hers as well, but not enough space here!
Road trips call for an eclectic mix of keep-me-awake music, such as Poi Dog Pondering (yes, I went through a phase of this kind of Alternative Music), Raul Malo (he also helped me rehabilitate my knee!), Back to the Island (Raggae from Martha’s Vineyard – this is just one song), Joni Mitchell’s My Secret Place and Cool Water, Sonia Dada’s album Lay Down and Love It Live, Zap Mama’s A Ma Zone, Eddie Vetter’s anything (how about Hard Sun just for a start)…..and the list goes on and on. Yup, a broad range on a road trip – want to come with??
One special road trip – my first trip to Edmonton – when I met Christ and committed my life to him found me enjoying music from an album called A Woman’s Heart – Irish women artists. Some excerpts – To Ramona (ironically, a Bob Dylan song written about his relationship with Joan Baez) by Sinead Lohan, Eleanor McEvoy’s Please Heart, You’re Killing Me (no youtube for that song), and Allison Krause’s As I Went Down To The River To Pray.
I’ve always liked gospel music, but after meeting Christ, a whole new world of music was opened up to me! Michael W. Smith’s Cry for Love and Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus were a couple of the first songs I loved in this genre. But I really do gravitate toward gospel music, such as Kirk Franklin’s album Rebirth which has this song on it – Always. I found a group – Red Mountain Music – that found old hymns and put them to music – here is one I adore: My Raptured Soul. When my friend Oralee passed away, a song by Jon Foreman – The House of God Forever – was played – love it! Josh Garrels is an amazing independent artist – I think he is the Christian Bob Dylan – here is his Zion and Babylon. Two of my favourite singers are Kristen Fersovitch and Kennedy Ramirez (sisters) – here they are a few years ago: This is Life. There is a great album of their music called Songs From Home – if you want it, you’ll have to contact North Pointe Community Church in Edmonton, Alberta. Worth it. Another group you will often see at North Pointe is the HOLLE Band – an all-girl band, the heart of which is founded in their service to the King – in real, tangible ways (no youtube videos). Found this next little gospel gem online some time ago and I listen to it on a regular basis – Ride On King Jesus.
We’ll have to save favourite Christmas albums for another day….now you know ALOT about me, but not near everything.
God Bless You.