Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Music - from trombones to Bjork...

I have always been intimately connected to music. I started playing the trombone when I was 7, and was pretty good at it. While in high school, I auditioned each year for the regional band playing a different instrument each time (trombone, baritone, tuba, trumpet). I also played in our church’s CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) band for 10 years. The most exciting part was being honored as the first chair trombonist for the Central Mass. Youth Symphony Orchestra. I guess you should add chorus and high school musicals to the list as well. I might have gone to Berklee College of Music in Boston, but that is a tale for another time.

I begin with the musical history of my youth not to try to impress you, but to give you a feel for how important music was (and is) to me. My musical tastes are eclectic – the cd changer in my truck is as likely to contain Mozart as it is Dean Martin as it is Cake as it is the soundtrack from The Music Man.

Sometimes I wonder if I wasn’t born a generation too late. I have a real affection for some of the biggest names of the 1950’s and 60’s, and I don’t mean Elvis or the Beatles. I’m thinking more like Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima, Sammy Davis Jr., Dino, Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, and many others. Songs from what is now called the Great American Songbook, classics crafted by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, the Gershwins, and so many more. To listen to this music on line, go to Martini in the Morning for the best internet music station.

Identifying with more modern music is sometimes more difficult for me. But there are several modern artists whom I find very enjoyable.

But only one, really, touches me deep inside, for reasons I can’t begin to explain. And that artist is Bjork.

Bjork is from Iceland, and it is difficult to fit her music into a single genre. In fact on Wikipedia it lists them as:

Electronica
Alternative Rock
Pop
Experimental
Trip-Hop
Ambient
IntelligentDance
HouseJazz
New Age
Contemporary
Dance
Downtempo
Folk
A Capella
Industrial Rock
Punk Rock

Her music touches me internally. It is not a pop song quickly forgotten, but something to be savored and explored over time. She first grabbed me with the song Hunter. She has wonderfully expressive vocals, a diverse and deep musicality, and seems to exist for the sheer joy of her music. She has her own record label, and although she has sold 15 million albums worldwide, she probably would not consider herself a commercial success. I heard her say once that the money she earns only serves to help pay for the next project.

And her next project is amazing. Her new song, Wanderlust, would serve as a good introduction to Bjork as any other. And she just spent $100,000 of her own money to produce a video for it. Several months in the making, filmed in 3D, it is amazing. I’ll insert it here. (You might want to listen to it the first time without trying to ‘get’ the video. Just listen. Next time through you can watch)

(updated April 4th - The video has been removed from YouTube, but if you search around you will find the audio and/or video - jim)

Let me know what you think….

jim