"Overcome with delight or overcome with grief, a person howls. A child listens to the modulations and textures in her parents voice. Life is so good that one person is unable to keep from dancing, and another is unable to keep from joining them with clapping and stomping. Is music making the enactment of the desire to return to those moments? Music - invisible, fleeting and ghostly..." Kerria Locca from the liner notes on "Black Mirror"
A few weeks ago when I was playing up in Victoria, I met a fellow by the name of Kin. He told me of a project that he was working on, "what was the first song?" What an amazing thing to think about. Our evolution .. our music.. our song. What was it?
Certainly this idea brought forth a crazy journal entry involving prehistoric 'Bam-Bams' and Flintstones jokes.. but then I started to take this more seriously... It actually made me wonder about life without music. What if we had never knew or thought about singing, tapping our toes, clapping our hands!? what if there were no dancing? no evolution of emotion though sound and movement? what if life was just a linear day without elevations of tone, breath, or rhythms... wow. what a different world this would be.
As many of you know I am a bit of a global wander in the musical world. I love to listen to songs from far away places perhaps because I can live within the daydreams of one day seeing and experiencing a streetside concert of locals ala Buena Vista Social Club.. or a busker singing his heart out somewhere in Spain, dancing with the locals in Cameroon or Zanzibar... and of course, hearing a local session in some small pub in Ireland. Such dialects in music.. such life songs that keep history alive just like great stories retold over and over and over again...
I went to the library yesterday and, while perusing the world music section, I came across this album "Black Mirror - Reflections in Global Music (1918-1955)" It is a 24 track Cd with tunes from all over the world that have been captured from old vinyl.. It is AMAZING. From an ancient Syrian violin piece to a Ukrainian melody that will capture your soul.. to an actual recording of Burmese musician just 'jammin' in Myanmar. It's great. Most tracks are traditional, so we get to place an ear up to a window into these far away lands.
How grateful I am to have music! To have this mysterious ghost of our ancestors' ancestors reverberating through my ears and soul. How wonderful to have the ability to flash back into another time just by hearing a familiar tune. Joni said it best..."Songs are like tattoos..." Certain songs are like smells, or photographs that transport me vividly to a day in my past... But mostly.. to hear the old tunes.. I mean the ones from say the 12th Century(just a random time frame since I know a few tunes from this time) and much, much before that! To know these songs is to know that these tunes were sung and performed and sung and performed over and over again to make it to us today... musical archeology. wow. what a wonderful idea. perhaps I want to do that when i grow up! :)
what was the first song? perhaps I will never know.. but I am thankful to the one who decided that tone and rhythm could be paired together. I am thankful that it wasn't just a fad and that tunes were created for joy, sorrow, love, prayer, beauty, and battle. I am grateful for the singers and players who kept and keep the traditions alive. Just as I am grateful for the singer I am listening to as I write this. Recorded in 1919 in Greece, I wonder if she ever dreamed that someone in 2010 would be listening to her heartfelt song. I wish she could know that her voice has moved me...
music is a beautiful mystery!
the branch above is this years submission to the RPM challenge. its a mix of songs about the people who have shared little moments in my life.