“If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.”
― Charles Darwin
How do you like your music served: big-name stars at stadium concerts, via radio as you make your way through midtown traffic, dance club pulsations where you hear the bass in your heart, alone in your living room with Nina Simone and a glass of merlot?
If I could choose my favorite way to have music served up, it would be an open mic night. I love those random gatherings, of often mismatched musicians, putting it all out there. I love the vulnerability of small venues and amateur musicians. Those kinds of performances demand that you be in the present moment and reveal a genuineness which is hard for big stadium performers to capture. Given the incredible popularity of shows like The Voice and The X Factor, I am clearly not alone in wanting a side of vulnerability with my music. And buskers, I really like buskers, especially in the subway.
I am not a fan of background music. It seems as if there is a constant stream of noise everywhere you turn – they pipe it into stores, elevators, even the yoga studio I favor on my trips up north now uses music in most of the classes – some weird mix of 90s aerobics and enlightenment. Could anyone ever reach enlightenment listening to an acoustic remix of Justin Bieber?
The truth is my favorite noises are the ones found in silence … I long for silence. Be still, be quiet, put your phone away and listen. I hear the tweeting of a bird, voices in the distance, the whirring of my office fan and the gentle hum of my computer as I write. Silence is so rare and elusive – even as you get close your breath will interrupt with the crescendo of your inner music.
This month our writers explore music. From opera to Son Jarocho, music is a language that transcends boundaries of geography or status. I love imagining Deborah Van Hoewyk listening to country music and Julie Etra dancing in Cuba. Great music plays to the commonality of human emotion that lives within each of us. I loved all the articles this month and they enlightened me to new types listening pleasures. Music’s power is evident when explored as a form of protest in Kary Vannice’s piece ‘Rhythm and Resistance.’ If you are going to be on the coast in November be sure to check out Mazunte Jazz Festival, Leigh Morrow has written about the fabulous and diverse line-up.
See you in November,