Music Archives

“Life is a lot like Jazz… it’s best when you improvise.” George Gershwin

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Photo courtesy, Hailey E. Herrera, available on Flickr, under Creative Commons.

 

There comes a moment when you begin to grasp how to live your life. Maybe it is not so prevalent all the time, but you have got a glimpse.

You know.

You are present in the moment, totally aware of it and absorbed by it. You are in the unity of what is and what is going to be. This is the feeling of flow. There is the expression. And there is the sensation of an inner sound.

Your own voice.
Your own rhythm.
Your own music.

It dwells in you waiting to let it be free.

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As a small girl I fell in love with rock music. It was easy, indeed. And the times of change made it all possible.

On the other hand, it took me years to appreciate jazz. This love was slowly born out of curiosity and built through experience.

The experience was not always easy. I remember a time when I sneaked out from a jazz performance on a big Jazz Festival, because the music was totally and utterly disturbing. It was horrible, to say at least. I couldn’t stomach it, so I had to escape. 

The music was totally awkward, impossible to listen to, blowing not only my mind but shattering my body, too. The main guy, the conductor, seemed in trance. He led the musicians to create sounds that were not only disharmonious to my ears, but making my body shake with disgust. Yet, to my shock, many people in the audience seemed to enjoy it. It was a perplexing experience.

But there were many good ones, such as listening to JazzyFatnastees.

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It takes time to appreciate jazz, while rock music seems easily lovable.

The foundation of rock is security. There is the beat, the cyclical rhythm and the assurance. You know what is going to happen next. This feature has an attractive pull to the masses because rock offers stability. One can easily identify with the music to express the bottling emotions.

Rock music offers grounding. To hear it, listen to the piece below:

The foundation of jazz is uncertainty. This uncertainty permeates the music in all levels and forms.It creates tension. There is the surprise, the unknown behind the horizon and the unexpected. This feature is attractive only to the ones who are eager to wonder and wander. One can identify with the music when one is ready for an opening.

Jazz music offers exploration. To hear it, listen to the piece below:

Many can play and sing rock music but only some can play jazz.

Jazz is good when a musician who plays it, does with courage. He must flow with the music, so that at some point music is not being created any longer, but it is creating itself. Music is an elemental force, which searches expression. Jazz rides on exploration into the unknown.

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Follow your own rhythm. Listen to your own music. Sing it.

If you can’t find it, start listening to jazz. It will lead you into exploration and encourage you to take a path of genuine curiosity. Listen to the piece of Możdzer, Danielson and Fresco:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kC5XhqUgY38

If you listen to jazz long enough, you will get comfortable in dealing with uncertainty. Even more, you will become curious and interested in all aspects of life. Once you welcome the unsettling, the unknown and the unpredicted, you will begin to appreciate the life for its richness of experience.

If you listen to jazz long enough, you will begin to realize that everything is interconnected. Any false tune, any off-sound or any lie will distort the whole piece. If you deceive in one area of life, it is going to permeate all your being. Your song is distorted.

If you listen to jazz long enough, you will be invited to play with uncertainty, summon your courage and become creative. You will learn to express your authentic self. You will learn to joyfully improvise.

Immerse in life. Feel it. Love it. Indulge in it.

Jazz in you searches an expression in the world.

 

“Jazz is one of the best things that you can find in your life, it can always be your friend.”  George Gershwin

 

let_it_go

This year is perhaps seeing a comeback of a powerful vocal duo – JazzyFatnastees. Two Ladies with incredible voices. Voices that penetrate and crush the hardened hearts.

I saw them live, many years back, and they made a huge impression on me. They were humble and infamous, yet their performance was one of the best.

They had a chance to sing on a huge Jazz Festival, just as one of the many adds-on. 

The conditions were unfavorable, to say at least. Imagine a corridor with a very low ceiling. Disgustingly hot, close to fainting. Stuffy. Bland. Uninteresting. The space was dense, filled with cigarete’s smoke (yes, you could smoke there at that time). And, now, the Duo was to make their gig in one of the corners. 

They made it!

They filled the space with depth and structure. They made it interesting. The vibration in the air was thick, nearly touchable. The spiraling energy was there, the one that inspires for action.

I had no idea how they could sing when even breathing was uneasy.  

Yet…

The Ladies were there.
Focused. Centered. Energetic. Joyful.
 Prepared to touch people’s hearts. 

They radiated a unity of thought and action.
There was a harmony. 
There was trust and understanding.
There was an invitation to join them.
 
So, we did it.

From such a trust, creativity sparks in joy and laughter. We could experience that, the flow of creative energy. The contagious power of inspiration. 

Let it go

I like JazzyFatnastees for their amazing vocals and the harmony between their souls. 
If you need a powerful kick, they are the ones to listen to

They are ambitious. They write good lyrics.
Hopefully, they will create more music after 11 years of silence.

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Appreciate the lyrics. Listen to these amazing voices:

 

 

Let it go

Crying, tortured,
Wishing for some four leaf clover
To free you from the chains that bind you
Fleeing from yourself,

In time you’ll figure out
We search a whole life
To seek what’s inside
You run but can’t hide

Begging strangers to try
To shield us from pain,
Hoping we’ll change
Nothing stay the same…

Why do you defeat you?
Let the past mistreat you
You don’t wanna let it go…
Let it go, let it go…

No one else can help you
Only you can free you
But you gotta let it go
You gotta let it go…

This’s your circle
frozen by the fears that lurk
You’ll wind up in the place you run to
Find you’ve lost your way

But in time you’ll figure out
We search a whole life
To seek what’s inside
You run but can’t hide

begging strangers to try
To shield us from pain,
Hoping we’ll change…
But we remain in the hame…

Why do you defeat you?
Let the past mistreat you
You don’t wanna let it go…
No-o…

No one else can help you
Only you can free you
But you gotta let it go
Let it go…

  

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Photo copyright by Moyan Brenn. Photo available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.

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music_of_thew_spinning_earth

Music feels like magic

Music awakens us to the truth that life is so much more than the petty details or daily struggles.

Music is universal. It reaches us at the depth of our intuitive existence. It speaks to the senses directly. It touches us profoundly and perhaps more deeply than we would like it to admit.

Music is a great mystery that begins with vibrating air. Because … music is vibration, after all, isn’t it?

Who created music?

I don’t know. Perhaps it has always been there. Omnipresent. Since the beginning of the Word.

We will hear the music

When you walk in a forest, you will hear the sounds of nature. Rustling leaves, crusting pine cones, walking bugs, flying insects, jumping grasshoppers or singing birds. Knowledgeably or not, they make an orchestral performance for you.

When you walk down a street, you will hear all the man-created sounds.Passing-by cars, opening and closing of the doors, heavy footsteps, voices of joy, heated conversations, laughing kids or barking dogs. There may also be the sounds of trams, trains, bikes, rain, snow or splashing paddles. This is a different performance.

When you close your eyes and focus inwardly, you will hear the sounds of your diligently working body: arteries, veins and organs. Hum internally the sound of “a” or “o” for a while. Do you feel how your inner parts seem to join the same vibration?
 
We feel and experience nature, people, machines, and structures. The music exists in them and through them. We hear music of all kinds. Then we enter the realm of harmonies between the plantes, comets and celestial bodies.

Perhaps one day we will hear the sound of the spinning Earth.
Perhaps one day we will hear the music of the Spheres.
Perhaps one day we will hear the sound of our own Beings.

music_of_spinning_earthI can’t wait to hear all these. What about you?

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Music is neither a by-product nor a result of culture. While we think that music is being created, it is in fact creating itself through various media, be it people of talented voices, nature or instruments.

Music is a living thing, an everlasting orchestral vibration from which we filter out a combination of frequencies. Be them pleasing, uplifting or disturbing – they serve a purpose.

When you really listen

When you really listen to the music, you spend the time alone with yourself. And then, music can touch you deeply. It can bring hidden memories or open the doors you have even forget they existed.

When you really listen there is a chance you realize that you are stuck in a matrix. It may be a castle crafted from your own convictions or false beliefs. You may begin to feel that your castle is tiny dot on the whole map. There is so much more outside your assumptions. You may begin to notice how much you are beset by imposed norms.  Are these your own?

Perhaps you have not been courageous enough to become yourself. To learn to appreciate who you are instead of being impressed by the greatness or authority of others. Music is there to point you this out.

Music!

Music is an elemental force. Primary force. Yes, a wild one at times.

It can make you uneasy, uncomfortable and even confused. It can easily discover when any dissonance is present in you. Music will open something up in your head and in your heart. It will inspire you to seek, explore and change.

If you listen to music long enough you will recognize how you have become fragmented and compartmentalized. Everything is interconnected. When you choose shortcuts or decieve yourself in one area of your life, all of them are affected. No exception. The false notes sound loudly everywhere. Just listen to.

Does it happen with all music? I don’t know.
For sure it happens when the music is great.

To know it, listen to this piece by fantastic guys, Możdżer, Danielsson and Fresco:

When is the music great?

When it is pure and deep, coming from the abysmal yet perfect creation of the given moment. It is authentic and you just know it. It reaches you directly at your heart. It sends thrills down your spine.

In such a moment you feel secure and harmonious. Yet this state does not come from your flesh and bones but it results from your trust to delve into yourself. Yourself, carefully crafted from high energies and impressions which resonate with the sound.  

There are no shortcuts in life.
Music will make you aware of this.
Pay attention.

There is only one way to live – in truth with yourself.

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Top photo copyright by Moyan Brenn. Photo available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr. Middle photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Creative Commons on Flickr.

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strange_world

Photo credit Leandro’s World Tour, available undrer Creative Commons on Flickr.

I look around and I see people.
I look closely and I recognize the unbalanced self.
I look at the world and I perceive gossip, curses and unkindness.

They stand out.
They shout.
They paralyze.
They hurt.

Yet …

Love is stronger than hatred.

It shines continuously in spite of everything. The rays of love are there, as always. Beautiful and strong. Just become silent and notice them. On your face and in your heart.

When you listen to and understand others, love comes naturally as the recognition of yourself in the other person.
Her struggles are your struggles.
Her challenges are your challenges.
Her blessings are yours too.

Let us pay attention.
Let us respect each other.
Let us be kind.

And by changing ourselves we will change the world.

***

Music comes strongly to me at times and it is such a time now. The music of a great Polish composer and musician, Czeslaw (Cheslav) Niemen, has been with me for some weeks now, especially the song “Strange is this world”. Niemen was hardly known outside the Slavic countries, yet he was a very special guy. I’ve grown up with his songs.

 

Strange is this world

How strange is this world
where still it seems
there is so much evil.
How strange it is
that seems so long
man despises man.

How strange is this world
of human affairs,
sometimes I’m ashamed to admit
a man can kill a man
with a bad word
as if with a knife.

Most people are of good will,
and thanks to them
I believe strongly
that this world
should never, never, never die.
And now the time has come,
the final time
for hatred
hatred to destroy in oneself.

 

This is the original Polish version from 1967:

 

 

This is an English version from 1973, a very different interpretation

 

 

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And finally, the latest interpretation of this song by his daughter Natalia. It sends shivers down my spine.

 

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hope

I am nostalgic at times and it is happening right now.

I observe how fast our world changes. Daily.
I observe how stability is an illusion. Daily.
I observe how fickle our economy is. Daily.

Time of transformation

This all reminds me about the transformation years back in Poland, when Poland was to become free. These were the times of illusion of stability, brotherhood and equality. Life seemed peaceful at a surface but it was boiling and steaming underneath. There was a huge desperation for the freedom of expression, freedom of choice and freedom of being.

Even as a child and a teenager I could sense tension, unease and delusion. The parody of various layers in life was ever present. I felt uneasy. I had a strong impression of more important things beneath the surface yet I could not grasp them.

In the late 80′ the change was in the air. The raise of consciousness was in your breath. You could nearly touch it. It was to come.

In the times like this, music helps you to express what seems inexpressible: fears, hopes and expectations. Music helps because it touches you in simple words, tunes or metaphors. Music can be like a sword piercing you fast and deep, straight to your essence of being. It is shocking sometimes but overall, if in effect, you go through a catharsis. You are purified. The emotions are acknowledged and released. There is a flow.

In the times of fears, you only whisper what you believe. Or you keep silent. You are afraid to speak too loud about transformations, as if somebody will overhear it and push things away. You want to touch these intensive feelings in yourself, but you are afraid to face them as if they may not become the reality. Music makes it happen.

One of the songs that kept me hopeful as a teenager was “Don’t give up” by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. It is written at time of a high unemployment in Britain and the unstable economy in the country. It is about fears and hopes, lack of work, being a looser and rejections. But the message is universal and it is strong:

There is a place where we belong.

There is a place for us to evolve and become who we really are.
There is a place for us to live and work, to develop, to cherish, to contribute and to grow.
And this place is a place of friends. Of deep connections.

We can create this place.

And I have played this song back for the last few days. Kate’s vocal is fantastic. Listen to it.

 

Don’t Give Up

in this proud land we grew up strong
we were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail

 

no fight left or so it seems
I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
I’ve changed my face, I’ve changed my name
but no one wants you when you lose

 

don’t give up
‘cos you have friends
don’t give up
you’re not beaten yet
don’t give up
I know you can make it good

 

though I saw it all around
never thought I could be affected
thought that we’d be the last to go
it is so strange the way things turn

 

drove the night toward my home
the place that I was born, on the lakeside
as daylight broke, I saw the earth
the trees had burned down to the ground

 

don’t give up
you still have us
don’t give up
we don’t need much of anything
don’t give up
’cause somewhere there’s a place
where we belong

 

rest your head
you worry too much
it’s going to be alright
when times get rough
you can fall back on us
don’t give up
please don’t give up

 

‘got to walk out of here
I can’t take anymore
going to stand on that bridge
keep my eyes down below
whatever may come
and whatever may go
that river’s flowing
that river’s flowing

 

moved on to another town
tried hard to settle down
for every job, so many men
so many men no-one needs

 

don’t give up
’cause you have friends
don’t give up
you’re not the only one
don’t give up
no reason to be ashamed
don’t give up
you still have us
don’t give up now
we’re proud of who you are
don’t give up
you know it’s never been easy
don’t give up
’cause I believe there’s the a place
there’s a place where we belong

 

The double message

What is really curious about this song is the title, “Don’t give up”, which becomes the repeated phrase or the motto. Interestingly, we know that our subconsciousness has difficulty to process the don’ts. (Check out a great explanation by Paul on why negativity turns your subconscious mind against you.) Basically, in order to imagine the lack of something (the don’t) we have to first imagine the exact thing we should avoid. This comes back to the famous “Don’t think about pink elephants!”. Of course you need to think of pink elephants before you can start thinking about everything else. This is the basic knowledge of NLP, i.e. neurolinguistic programming in which values, beliefs and the use of language determine the quality of our lives. Learn more if this is new for you.

So, actually when we keep repeating this very message “don’t give up” in the song, our subconsciousness reads like “give up” , “give up”, “give up”. This means “stop or  “cease making an effort”.

Despite that the song had a very positive effect on me. I felt energized, accepted and powerful. I was a believer in the transformations to happen.

How is this possible despite the negativity statement (don’t)? There are two important observations.

1. Being non-native

If you are a non-native English speaker like me, “giving up” with the added word “up” is not naturally perceived as a phrasal verb with the meaning it conveys. “Giving up” sounds cheerful and positive thanks to the little word “up”. This combination of words suggests progress or improvement. And at first the meaning that one reads in it is of “submissing” [your problem/challenge] “up” [i.e. high to God or a higher authority] [with the faith that it is going to be solved]. So, even though my subconsciousness gets imprinted with “giving up”, I perceive it as a positive message.

2. The hope of letting go

On the other hand, another effect comes into a play. When you keep fighting for freedom or you work very hard to solve an important problem, you get tense, overdo it and become fixated on a single path to the solution. The problem becomes then like a hunted nightmare.

At such times, the right way is to stop actively participating in the problem; the smartest choice is to give up. What happens is that you relax and stop forcing things to happen in a limited view you have. You need to leave some freedom and handle uncertainty to allow more space for things to sort themselves out. This is especially important when you did the initial work and the time is ready. Giving up is then about honoring your own feelings, accepting what is and letting go (and letting God take care of events).

And there was indeed the time in Poland when the ground was fertile, the season was right and there was raining. We stopped to fight for a moment. We let things happen and a miracle has occurred. It was a prepared miracle, of course, nevertheless it comes back to the basic principle:

“Focus intensively (prepare the ground) and let go.”

I find it pretty cool. Despite the message my subconsciousness “should” have perceived about giving up and loosing hope, the message has become double powerful. All thanks to my non-nativeness.

On the emotional level, the words sounded positive and energized me, while on the logical level I saw it was OK to stop the fight and let things go. I was reassured that there was a place for me. A place where I am accepted, appreciated and where I belong.

There is a place to live in a freedom of choice.

Yes, I’ve created it!

What about you?

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Photo courtesy Cobalt123, available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.

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