Tuesday, March 13, 2012

With A Song In My Heart

That’s what I need. A song. Something snappy like Queen’s head bobbing “Bohemian Rhapsody,” or melancholy like the song “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan they play on that ASPCA commercial. Something people instantly know and can get into.

I was listening to Dick Gordon’s “The Story” on NPR last Thursday night when I heard the most remarkable thing that I had heard in a while. Dick was interviewing this delightful young musician by the name of Dafnis Prieto. A Cuban-born jazz percussionist, he received the 2011 MacArthur Genius Grant, and after listening for just a few minutes, I could see why. He was so absorbed into his music, but yet cognizant of everything around it and himself. A true genius at the drums (of several types, I might add, sometimes using multiple drum sticks in each hand!), he was an extraordinary musician who understood and expressed the power of music in a way I had never really heard of before. For him, music was his life and a way to express himself through sound. What caught and stopped me was his brilliant response to the question of transitioning between different types of music – for example, how he could so easily move from Cuban to New Orleans jazz. He said, “The wonderful thing about music is that you hold the whole world inside yourself...you can go from Brazil to Norway in a matter of seconds...there is no limit in time, space...”

Wow. No boundaries. Just ever present. That’s what I want. Something that transcends a door, a state line or an ocean. One sound, one song that binds and strengthens all of us. Imagine! Yes, John, I can imagine that now. Somehow those words really hit me. An “I am ready” song. Ready for today, ready for tomorrow, ready for whatever crisis comes my way.

Yes, yes, I really have to work on better lyrics, but I am imagining that thread of notes, flowing, swirling, gathering us all. In sound. Like Richard Rodgers, I am “with a song in my heart,” and I just need to catch that tune. Maybe if I start by humming...

B flat, please?

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