this guy’s voice. it just touches me. the simplicity of the song is quite refreshing and heightens sonic engagement. maybe you’ll enjoy it like i do.
i have to thank the amazing penelope for introducing me to him. this year has been pretty extraordinary thanks to travel. it hasn’t always been fun, easy, or happy, but it has been amazing. i’ve crossed paths with some really wonderful people who have enriched me and my growth process and i’m just feeling really grateful for that. music is a great connector. she mentioned being “kind of obsessed” with his music and it’s so different for me right now, i gather the same might happen to me too. that’s cool.
This is the fifth #notetoself letter, originally sent on March 5, 2012.
Henry David Thoreau said, “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” He lived in the first half of the 19th century and yet those words still contain truth today. It’s sad. Quiet desperation kills the spirit.
Before this trip, I realized how discontent I’d become with my life. My work didn’t matter to me. I wasn’t even sure what I was doing with my “work”. I never knew how answer the “what do you do?” question. I don’t know. Live. That was the response I wanted to give.
I’m a great starter. My starting energy is fresh, empathic and certain. Then, slowly but surely, it’d wane and I’d quit. I’m also a great quitter. My attention usually shifts gears to something else equally engaging.
That’s a pattern I’m really sick of.
A few nights ago, I happened upon an Alicia Keys’ song called “How It Feels to Fly” that’s feeding my soul. With such ambiguous lyrics, I don’t know exactly what she’s talking about in the song, but for me, it makes me think about reaching for my dreams.
“I am riding high, don’t wanna come down.
Hope my wings don’t fail me now.
If I can touch the sky, I’d risk the fall
Just to know it feels to fly.”
How many of our goals are our own? Whose definition of success drives our actions? I can criticize corporate America all I want, but I was a part of the rat race, even if I didn’t have a 9-5. The discontent I feel is the result of not doing things I wanted to do, for whatever reason. There’s so much I want to do, and have wanted to do but have neglected to. This trip is the perfect example of a dream deferred. I’ve always wanted to travel and stay somewhere for a longer period of time. That’s just now happening for me. On the other hand, I appreciate it just the same because I can receive so much of this experience differently than I might have in the past.
Being here has awakened me to my desire to do things I’ve neglected to do, things I let sit in the recesses of my mind and my heart. They were there, alive, but unattended. Living a life with meaning, passion and fulfillment are of incredible importance to me.
Earlier last week, one of the people I’ve been blessed to meet on this trip asked me if I wanted to hike one of the two volcanoes on the island. Of course he wanted to do the larger volcano, Volcan Concepcion, the one we look at everyday. Without hesitation, I said yes. Sure. Why not?
Emily King has slipped under the radar for far too long. Before even knowing what the words are, the song takes listeners on a nice little journey that feels so good, not knowing the words doesn’t seem to matter that much. Feels good. Enjoy.
Emily King – “Radio”
i’ve been listening to a lot of jazz. it’s taken over my life, and i couldn’t be happier about it. it started with the ipod shuffle to a robert glasper song. made me realize i needed a live show in my life. this was a tuesday night. the first venue i looked up was the jazz standard. how about the robert glasper trio is playing there the following thursday to sunday?
now i’m experiencing an amazing domino effect. look at robert glasper’s twitter feed, find an interview of his bandmate, trumpeter ambrose akinmusire. fall in love with akin musire’s music. on a youtube search for akinmusire’s “ruby”, i find about a trio called pascal’s triangle, led by pianist pascal le boeuf. looking at pascal’s work, i discover he’s a twin (being a twin, i have a special affinity for them. ). he has two albums with his brother, remy, and they’re both pretty cool. the composition is really interesting and emotive. they’re incredibly talented in their arrangements and playing, especially to only be in their early twenties.
the le boeuf brothers’ first album was house without a door and the video above is the title track. the one below is “wetaskiwin”.
absolutely. friggin. insane. not just these songs, but the album in its entirety.
Ambrose Akimusire’s Blue Note debut album, When The Heart Emerges Glistening, is a meditation. It’s pensive. It’s honest. It’s heartwrenching. It brings you into the present. It’s gorgeous. He’s a super promising young musician whose work excites me.
“Confessions to My Unborn Daughter” is my absolute favorite song right now. It makes me want to start a journal to eventually give to my (currently nonexistent) children after I use it as my own parenting guide. Listening to it may not necessarily make you feel like doing the same, but it will make you feel, if not feel good. Enjoy.
The rapper is Silas Zephania. The producer is Politiks. The combination is beautiful. They have an album together called War Begins Where Reason Ends available on iTunes for $9.99 or on bandcamp for £3 GBP, which is about $4.65 USD.
While hardly a frequent theater attendee, I appreciate greatness in various forms. I found it in FELA! the musical. Fela Kuti was quite an interesting person. Dedicated. Visionary. The show is on tour now. If it’s coming near you, give yourself the distinguished honor of seeing it. You will thank yourself.
Below is a video of him performing “Teacher Don’t Teach Me No Nonsense”. You may not know what he’s saying, but you feel the music and understand the vibe from the title.
The Robert Glasper Experiment
The beauty of the iTunes shuffle feature is discovering music you’ve owned and forgotten about and being catapulted back into that “I love this song!” feel good space. Thanks, Apple.
Tonight I shuffled upon a little reminder about life, and I’m grateful for it. Please enjoy this selection, “Open Mind”, from The Robert Glasper Experiment, composed of pianist Robert Glasper, bassist Derrick Hodge, drummer Chris Dave and keyboardist/saxophonist Casey Benjamin. As you listen, remember, it is experimental.
The Robert Glasper Experiment – “Open Mind” featuring Bilal
“As a man thinks, he is.”
Photo credit: Jati Lindsey
My music sharing friend, Rodrick, told me about Mara Hruby a while back. I downloaded the album, put it on my iPod and went about my business. Recently, I’ve been giving her EP, From Her Eyes a lot of play. She’s got a pretty voice and does well handling men’s songs. Looking forward to more Mara.
This Van Hunt cover, “Character”, asks a very important question we should all reflect on. Enjoy!
Mara Hruby – “Character”
Where is your character, the one that keeps you going?
Who are you when heavy weather is blowing?
Where is your character, the one who keeps you going?
Miles Davis is the man. When I was in college, my mom gave me the bestselling jazz album of all time, his Kind Of Blue, and I fell in love with the mood of his music.
“Flamenco Sketches” is one of my go-to songs when I want to relax.
Miles Davis – “Flamenco Sketches”