When Ray wrote Lung of Love she struggled to find music to fit the lyrics. Though people so often gravitate towards the heart, she thought of the lung as a the overlooked organ. “We’re all breathing the same air. Some of us are offering by speaking, some of us are singing, some of us are DJs, some of us are poets, whatever. I was thinking, ‘This is what ties me to the greater stream of life.’ And the idea of breath and the physicality of that and the fragility of that kept sticking with me.”
The inspiraton for the new album is heavily rooted in the experience of the body, as both a limiting force and as the place that holds the human experience. “I think I’m caught between what you want to do in life and what you’re limited by," Ray said. "That can be not being able to be in two places at one time, that can be not having the energy to do everything you want to do; it can be when you lose your voice and can’t sing for a week and how that feels. I think I was just dealing with how I hate the limitations of the body because my ideas and what I want to do and my spirit feel bigger than that. I think a lot of people struggle with that and it’s like our humanity that holds us down." ...
Date & Time:
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center
1317 San Pablo Ave
VERY SPECIAL ASHKENAZ IRANIAN SOLIDARITY PERFORMANCE...
Benefit Event $5 donation, proceeds go to support Human Rights Watch & Ashkenaz!
Local Bay Area Iranian musicians, activists and visual artists come together for an evening of Iranian national music and performance of freedom songs in solidarity with the Iranian people's freedom movement.
Shirzad Sharif: (Dutar, Tanbur, Tonbak & Daf)
Kaveh Hedayati: (Vocals, Setar)
& other special guest musicians...
Visual Artist: Neda Sharif
For more information please visit:
Here's a great song from the brother of an old friend of mine.
Troubled by the rising tied of offshoring around the country musician and CSEA Local 2001 member Steve Dube put pen to paper and wrote an anthem called “Mad in America” for his band ETX.
[Dube]: The song was written as a protest basically, just because of all of the engineering and IT jobs going away.
Dube is now trying to bring that protest via song to music lovers everywhere by landing on ITunes top 100 on July 4. How? Dube is calling on everyone to log into their ITunes player on the Independence Day holiday and download the song. If enough people do it, the song should hypothetically find a place among the Avril Lavignes and Fall Out Boys of the world.
[Dube2]: We’d like to just get a grassroots effort going where the song could become like an anthem for American workers just to show Washington in an election year that we don’t want the middle class to go away and we want jobs in the United States.
I've just downloaded the song to iTunes and I can personally and enthusiastically recommend it. "Mad in America" raises important questions about globalization and the outsourcing of American jobs. And it's a great song, too.
Alice Coltrane, widow of the jazz saxophonist John Coltrane and the pianist in his later bands, who extended her musical searches into a vocation as a spiritual leader, died on Friday in Los Angeles. She was 69.
Alice Coltrane was already an accomplished bop pianist when she married John Coltrane in 1965, having played under luminaries such as Barry Harris, Stan Getz, Terry Gibbs and Yusef Lateef. She served as John's pianist in his final year and a half, replacing McCoy Tyner in 1966.
Along with former bandmate Pharoah Sanders, she has done the most to carry and even expand JC's vision of spiritual, free form, Eastern mysticism music that sometimes went well beyond the normal boundaries of what was widely held as being "jazz". She didn't just stick with the piano, but also organ and later, synthesizers. She could also play a mean harp. 1970's Ptah the El Daoud was an early post-John high point for her, which demonstrated that the modal form of jazz championed by her late husband was not quite yet exhausted for ideas.
Remarks. Jazz was always an acquired taste for me, to the extent that I acquired it at all. Of the jazz classics, I learned to love John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk, but it took time to adapt my ears to their abstract sounds. (An exception was John Coltrane's "Blue Train", which I liked instantly.)
Alice Coltrane, though, was another matter. She seemed to be, literally, sui generis - a musical genre all her own. As a teenager in the 1970s my tastes tended toward the eclectic - Yes, Ravi Shankar, and Beethoven. When I discovered Alice Coltrane years later, her music seemed to pick up where progressive rock left off - where Rick Wakeman had provided excitement, Alice Coltrane added subtlety and grace.
I own most of Alice Coltrane's recordings, and if you haven't listened to her music I encourage you to experience it for yourself. My personal favorite (among many) is "Jagadishwar" from Translinear Light; it's probably my single favorite instrumental in contemporary music. Alice won't see the release of her forthcoming album Sacred Language of Ascension but you can be sure I won't miss it.
Alice Coltrane's passing is our loss. Rest in peace, Turiyasangitananda.
James Brown was one of those explosive performer-personalities who seemed as if he would go on and on ... and on. And on.... You know what I mean: as if he were born with a microphone in his mouth and from Day One lay in a cradle shaped like an amp. The proper word for all this is, is it not?, "soul."
JMK knew but little about James Brown, but this I knew and still know: in your lifetime, Gentle Reader, you must listen (all the way through) to Love, Power, Peace: James Brown Live at the Olympia, Paris, 1971 [click it for samples]. LPP is the one James Brown album I have and it is sooo good. For starters, one standout track is a completely overdrive version of "Sex Machine": I want to get up and do my thing! Don't we all.
But, man, what cuts deepest on this album, every time, is "Georgia on My Mind." ...
I heard an NPR interview with James Brown a couple years ago when he was making what appeared to be his fifth or sixth 'comeback'. He impressed me as one of the last Americans who was able to sell his genius without formalism.
Listening to him speak I realized at once that he was illiterate in a literal sense - unable to articulate his own meaning outside of his gift. He spoke of music in abstracts inappreciable to non-adepts. I got the feeling just listening to him that he was completely original in every way and you could tell that there was something deep in him that he never had to change for anyone. He was a self-actualized man in ways that just captivated everyone, because society tells us that such men don't exist. If the man wrote in hyroglyphics or described colors to sightless people it wouldn't surprise me a bit. James had something of an alien mind, his musical creation and his creation of himself into the hardest working man in show business was a kind of inevitability. I think of him as a giant pearl with some incredibly strange, dense and oddly shaped object as its center of gravity. You could never predict how he would roll, but whenever he did it was a rhythmic glowing miracle. All you can do is stare.
They called him the Godfather of Soul. James Brown was more like the Wormhole of Rhythm. Nothing could get close to him without being sucked into his powerful grooves. He punctuates his music with an energy that resists passive listening. You can't just appreciate James Brown music. You have to decide to either get into the groove or get out of the room. There are three transcendent elements to James Brown. The groove, the bridge and the break. Now I'm going to be like James and not even going to try to describe them. They are what they are. You just have to listen to the man.
My favorite James Brown song? That would have to be Hot Pants. It's the one that connected with me on the subconscious level. Like voodoo on the adolescent mind ...
July 11 (Bloomberg) -- Roger Keith ``Syd'' Barrett, a founding member of British rock band Pink Floyd, has died from symptoms related to diabetes, a spokesman for the band said today.
Barrett, who was 60, died on July 7 at his home in Cambridgeshire, England, Doug Wright said in a phone interview. ``The other members of the band will be giving their own statements shortly,'' he added.
Barrett, better know by his nickname ``Syd,'' left Pink Floyd in 1968 just before the band achieved worldwide success. Having founded the band with friend Roger Waters in 1965, Barrett embarked on a solo career instead.
Pink Floyd's former lead singer released two albums ``The Madcap Laughs'' and ``Barrett'' but retreated to his home where he lived as a recluse until his death after suffering a well- publicized breakdown that had been triggered by his usage of the psychedelic drug LSD. ...
Pink Floyd legend Syd Barrett has died at his Cambridgeshire home.
The singer, 60, who suffered from an LSD-induced breakdown while at the peak of his career in the Sixties, died last Friday (July 7). It has been reported that he died from complications related to diabetes, however, other reports suggest the cause of death was cancer.
A statement from Pink Floyd said: "The band are naturally very upset and sad to learn of Syd Barrett's death.
"Syd was the guiding light of the early band line-up and leaves a legacy which continues to inspire."
His brother Alan confirmed his death earlier today (July 11), saying: "He died peacefully at home. There will be a private family funeral in the next few days."
'Syd' Barrett was born Roger Keith Barrett in Cambridge on January 6, 1946, the youngest of five children. A keen musician from an early age, he acquired the nickname which became his most prominent moniker aged 15, a reference to another Cambridge-based musician, also named Sid Barrett. ...
Remarks. Count me among the legions of fans who'll miss Syd Barrett, even though he retired from the music scene long ago. I was a huge Pink Floyd fan, although my enthusiasm for Floyd started to decline around the time of "The Wall". (Is their music getting really lame, I wondered, or is it just me getting old? I mean, I'm already out of high school ...)
Barrett's eccentric solo work was, of course, entirely sui generis. I got a kick out of "Octopus" but was moved to tears by his setting of James Joyce's "Goldenhair". The story of his mental breakdown had a certain romantic, adolescent appeal, I suppose, but I would have preferred that he kept his marbles and stayed in the studio.
Is it better to burn out, or to fade away? Personally, I don't recommend either. Life is hard, but we need each other.
When I woke up today
and you weren't there to play
then I wanted to be with you
when you showed me your eyes
whispered love at the skies
then I wanted to stay with you
inside me I feel alone and unreal ...
(PS - The interview is worth reading in any case, but especially for the image of Ann Coulter covered in purple Crisco.)
This is funny, because I was just thinking about the Grateful Dead this evening. I always enjoyed their music, and I managed to catch a few concerts back in the day. What I loved about the music was that it was spiritual, deeply joyful, and always fresh and new. And, yeah, Jerry Garcia was simply an amazing guitar player.
I think Ann Coulter is on to something when she says "true Deadheads are what liberals claim to be but aren't: unique, free-thinking, open, kind, and interested in different ideas". That was always my impression too.
Would it be trite to say that I wish I'd spent more time listening to the Grateful Dead? It's true. And I think their music captured something precious and beautiful, something that's in danger of being lost in today's world. I'm glad I had the chance to get a glimpse of it in their music.