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.

3 responses so far

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.

4 responses so far

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 (http://www.myspace.com/jasonarimoto) 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
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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Dec 17 2008

Video & Music: The Lark Ascending, by Vaughan Williams

Published by under Music,Videos

A member of the Poetry Chaikhana forwarded this to me in response to Mary Oliver’s poem, The Lark. Worth sharing with everyone…

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Nov 11 2008

Video & Music: Miriam Makeba “Mama Africa”

Published by under Music,Videos

Pata Pata

I just heard that Miram Makeba “Mama Africa” died a couple of days ago. Her music, emerging out of South Africa, touched the world…

Amampondo

A brief summary of Miram Makeba’s life, art, and work for social and racial justice…

Miram Makeba is one of those transformative artists whose vision transcends the world of her art and career. Through her music and her personality, we encounter the expansive possibilities of the human heart when it is fully applied to the struggling world.

Do yourself a favor and track down more of her music.

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Jul 02 2008

Video & Music: Suburban Harmony by Telemetry Orchestra

Published by under Music,Videos

The animation hearkens back to the work of Peter Maxx in the 60s and 70s, a la Yellow Submarine. But this comes with a sleepy, casual groove. Gives a sense of the easy, overlooked magic of the world.

Break out the flared pants and enjoy!

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May 22 2008

Music & Video: Green Children

Published by under Music,Videos

A lovely video montage set to music. Produced by The Green Children Foundation which supports microcredit, education, and healthcare.

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Apr 30 2008

Music & Video: Snatam Kaur Khalsa

Published by under Music,Videos

This lovely video was recommended by Cinza. Moving meditative kirtan in the Sikh tradition by Snatam Kaur Khalsa. From a London performance. A nice pairing with Guru Nanak’s poem…

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Apr 16 2008

Music & Video: Manose

Published by under Music,Videos

Manose is a world-famous flute player from Nepal. Soaring notes carry you to a land of flowering mountain fields and clear skies.

This video is a nice sampler of his music and bright personality.

Manose
Suskera Solo Bamboo Flute

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“Offering three mesmerizing pieces for solo bamboo flute, each based on a different Indian scale, this leads the listener deeper into a mood of serenity.”

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Mar 12 2008

Music: Lisa Sangita Moskow and Mihai Manoliu

Published by under Music

Lisa Sangita Moskow and Mihai Manoliu
Yakshi

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“Sarod and guitar music that is a sensuous blend of Eastern lyricism, unique rhythms, and meditational celebration…”

The music on this CD is lyrical, introverted, meditative. Mixes eastern sounds with something that almost feels like the lead-up to an American folk song. Take a listen.

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Mar 10 2008

Music & Video: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Published by under Music,Videos

I first encountered the amazing voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan through a fortuitous accident about seven years ago. Up until that point, I had not heard of the great master of ecstatic Muslim/Sufi music of Pakistan and India known as Qawali music. At the time I was living in Hawaii, and I wanted to purchase a gift for my wife. I noticed a music store that was going out of business, so I walked in to see if I could find an interesting CD. Most of their shelves were bare, except for some miscellaneous world music CDs. I didn’t recognize any of the names. Most would have been difficult for me to even pronounce. But the photograph of this large man seemingly glowing with “rapture” grabbed my attention. I bought it knowing nothing more. When my wife later opened her gift and we sat listening, we were spellbound. I’ve been a fan ever since.

Rapture: An Essential Selection (Music CD)
by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Watch the following video clips for a taste of a live performance. Continue Reading »

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Mar 07 2008

Music: Konarak Reddy

Published by under Music

Konarak Reddy
Solar Avatar

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“Finger-style guitar accompanied by tabla on compositions that push the boundaries of time signatures and harmonies.”

Konarak Reddy’s music is sweet for the soul. Drowsy finger-style guitar blended with vibrant tabla. The combination seems much more natural than you might think.

If you like this CD, you might also want to check out Nadaka and the Basavaraj Brothers.

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Mar 05 2008

Music & Video: David Hykes

Published by under Music,Videos

David Hykes and The Harmonic Choir
Harmonic Worlds

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“By THE legendary original overtone-singing/throat-singing pioneer, composer-mystic David Hykes, with The Harmonic Choir. David Hykes’ visionary music, Harmonic Chant, helps us find deep harmony and healing. It transforms our abilities to listen to ourselves, to each other and to the universe.”

The music of David Hykes is beautiful and otherworldly. I find I slip almost immediately into meditation as I listen. Some aspects of his vocalizing reminds me of something I heard several years ago that was described as Mongolian throat singing. It’s like chant, but somehow more primal, getting down beneath words and concepts. Really beautiful work.

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Mar 03 2008

Music & Video: John Trudell

Published by under Music,Poetry,Videos

John Trudell
Bone Days

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“Spoken word that weaves from Native to rock to middle eastern-twinged, with traditional vocals underlying John’s intense, forthright message.”

I love the spare guitar that often accompanies him on this recording. And the native chant. Creates a feeling of big spaces, plains, wide skies… wide, heartbreaking questions. John Trudell asks fundamental questions of what it means to be a human being, and the craziness that passes for “normal” in the world. I consider him to be a cultural healer, a prophet of sorts, someone who brings us back to ourselves, even when it’s painful. Worth a listen.

More Music Selections

To see the full playlist of videos, visit the blog’s Video Channel tab.

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Feb 29 2008

Music: Primitive Heart, by Peter Ross

Published by under Music

Peter Ross
Primitive Heart

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“Passionate and hypnotic world music played on the Shakuhachi and ethnic bamboo flutes.”

I was lucky enough to hear a master shakuhachi player several years ago in Hawaii. Shakuhachi is the elegant Japanese bamboo flute. This CD combines the meditative currents of the shakuhachi with more primal rhythms and sounds. Very nice.

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