Archive for the 'Music' Category

Jun 26 2009

Stephen Levine – In the realm of the passing away (Michael Jackson Tribute)

Published by under Music,Poetry,Videos

In the realm of the passing away
by Stephen Levine

This is the realm of the passing away. All that
exists does not for long.
      Whatever comes into this world never stops sliding
toward the edge of eternity.
      Form arises from formlessness and passes back,
arising and dissolving in a few dance steps between
creation and destruction.
      We are born passing away.
      Seedlings and deadfall all face forward.
      Earthworms eat what remains.
      We sing not for that which dies but for that which
never dies.

— from Breaking the Drought: Visions of Grace, by Stephen Levine

/ Photo by tipoyock /

Whatever comes into this world never stops sliding
toward the edge of eternity.

Yesterday was a strange day of famous deaths. I woke up and found out that Ed McMahon had died the day before. Then I heard about Farrah Fawcett’s passing. In the afternoon, checking out friends’ comments on Facebook, I started to see messages about “Michael” and “Thriller.” Were they saying that Michael Jackson had died too? A few searches on the Internet, and I found out that, yes, Michael Jackson had unexpectedly died. To add to that, I then was told that the actor Jeff Goldblum had died by falling off a cliff, only to find out later that he had been injured but did not die.

Now, I can’t say I felt a really strong personal connection to these famous figures, but by the end of the day I could feel the world’s shock, especially over Michael Jackson’s death. It would seem strange not to mention such a significant death in today’s email.

In his personal life, Michael Jackson seemed eccentric and haunted, and accusations raised troubling questions. But frankly I don’t know enough about the private man to comment or pass judgment. His genius as a singer and dancer can’t be denied, however. I remember his performance at the Motown awards, singing “Billie Jean” wearing a single sequined glove, and sliding a smooth moonwalk across the stage. A revolution exploded in music and dance at that very moment, the repercussions of which are still reverberating through pop culture today.

Michael Jackson is one of those rare figures, like Bob Marley, Elvis, John Lennon, a defining figure for the entire world. There is a reason that we call the ultra famous “stars.” They are like the planets in astrology; they embody for the world a certain archetypal energy. But that makes normal human relationships next to impossible for these people. We relate to the archetypal aura and not the person. Culture bearers are adored by millions and intimate with none.

This archetypal role they play is also why their deaths are so traumatic to the world. Archetypes are, by their nature, eternal energies of the soul. So when a person embodying a particular archetype dies, the world feels a rupture, the planetary psyche feels disoriented and fragmented. How can that which we instinctively know to be eternal disappear from our midst? But what really happens is that the archetypal energy is released, returned back to each of us. Having seen it enacted outside of ourselves, we are again reminded to look within ourselves for those same qualities.

So, today, sing! Hooo! And dance! Maybe try a moonwalk in socks across the kitchen floor…

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Jun 22 2009

Music: Tabla & Taiko

Published by under Music,Videos

The great tabla player, Zakir Hussain, accompanied by Japanese taiko drums. Hope you enjoy.

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Apr 11 2009

Video & Music: Stand by Me

Published by under Music,Videos

Stand By Me from David Johnson on Vimeo.

I came across this video just this morning, and trust me, you’ll be moved by this patchwork performance of “Stand by Me” with singers and street musicians from all over the world.

A good reminder too to keep a little extra change in your pocket for the next time you pass by a musician busking on the street corner. They fill our world with music.

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Jan 27 2009

Video & Music – Hendrix’s Little Wing… on Ukulele

Published by under Music,Videos

“Little Wing” was always my favorite Jimi Hendrix song. There’s something so dream-like to its words and soft groove, but with the quiet growl of Hendrix’s guitar that threatens but never quite roars.

Well, this is not your typical version of Little Wing. Jason Arimoto ( gives us a quiet, almost meditative version, but still just that hint of something bigger rumbling beneath the surface — and only playing ukulele. Give it a listen. You’ll be surprised. I guarantee a smile on your face.

Well she’s walking through the clouds
With a circus mind thats running round
Butterflies and zebras
And moonbeams and fairy tales
That’s all she ever thinks about
Riding with the wind.

When I’m sad, she comes to me
With a thousand smiles, she gives to me free
It’s alright she says it’s alright
Take anything you want from me, anything

Fly on little wing,
Yeah yeah, yeah, little wing

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Jan 16 2009

Music & Video: Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

I moved to Hawaii a few years after Israel Kamakawiwo’oli — IZ — died, and he was still greatly mourned. Bruddah IZ was a big man with a big heart, and a soaring falsetto voice that could bring tears unexpectedly to your eyes. He was in many ways the voice of the Hawaiian nation. His songs expressed his love for the aina, the beautiful land of Hawaii, and he gave voice to the sorrows of the Hawaiian people and their delightful playfulness.

When I think of my years living among the islands, I hear IZ’s songs playing among my memories of water, sky, and green…

Mahalo nui loa, Bruddah IZ!

Facing Future (CD)
by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole
Alone in IZ World (CD)
by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole
Wonderful World (CD)
by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole
E Ala E (CD)
by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole
IZ in Concert: The Man and His Music (CD)
by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole

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