As an avid reader of Lorna’s Voice I am awakened every Thursday with a regular entry of hers titled “Lighting Up the Blogosphere – One Flicker at a Time”, which is part of a campaign aptly named “Occupy the Blogosphere” started by another WordPress blogger, Soul Dipper. It is a rather refreshing and optimistic counter to all the stress and negativity that manages to creep into our lives, and being the eternal optimist, it strikes a resonant chord in me.
Since I’m away in a totally different time zone, and I’m wide awake due to my internal clock telling me morning should be long gone even when dawn is only now breaking into my window, I thought I’d try my hand at this uplifting kind of thing and showcase someone who really does light up the world in his own magical way. Have you guessed yet that it will probably be a topic about music? I know, so predictable sometimes, but hopefully you’ll be surprised.
Music is the universal language of mankind
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
So very true. In order to demonstrate both the universal appeal of music and the joy it can evoke from everyone, I have selected a few short videos of one of my favorite people on this planet when it comes to music, Bobby McFerrin, doing what he does well – playing the instrument that is his voice, and likewise playing the audience, engaging them to create magical moments through music.
Bobby McFerrin was born with mad vocal abilities. The son of Metropolitan Opera Baritone Robert McFerrin Sr. and regional opera and Broadway singer and Professor Emeritus of Music Sara, he certainly had the genes for vocal abilities. He is most famous for his 1988 hit, Don’t Worry, Be Happy done entirely a Capella with only his voice. But his real gift is how he shares that gift and joy with his audience.
I dare you to watch the following videos and not manage to crack a smile or feel a bit of happiness sweep over you, if only for a moment while you forget all else in the world:
The past few days on the East Coast have been nothing short of a steam bath, with temperature in the 90’s and humidity at the saturation point. Waves of rainstorms have done little to relieve the heat, but instead have managed to pump up the humidity even more, just when you thought it could not get any more humid. It’s the kind of weather that makes most adults rush into the home for shelter, yet I couldn’t help but notice a couple of neighborhood children just having a ball in the middle of a torrential downpour, soaked to the bone, and laughing as they belly flopped in makeshift puddles the size of small ponds.
There is nothing like experiencing the world through children’s eyes to lift the mood. We could all use a bit more whimsy in our lives. So inspired, and with no real plan in mind, I thought I’d rustle up a few Youtube links in honor of this stormy weather just for fun and to lighten my own mood.
First up is Billie Holiday cooing her way through Stormy Weather. I just love the way she phrases the lyrics musically. (I know, I know, this was a Lena Horne standard… sue me!)
Ah, now that you’re all relaxed, I thought I’d liven it up a bit with a song and dance number from the 1943 Classic of a movie titled (what else?) Stormy Weather. This clip starts off with Cab Calloway and Orchestra singing Jumpin’ Jive, and early into the number introduces the Nicholas Brothers in what might arguably be one of the single best dance performances ever captured on film – all in a single take to boot! The Stairway Jump Splits in the finale are breathtaking. I know I would have lost my breath, as well as my manhood and consciousness, if I ever tried a stunt like that – OUCH!!!
I need to relax after watching that! Let’s keep with the theme and pick another from the Billie Holiday songbook as a way to wrap up this blog entry. Here she is, Lady Day singing Stormy Blues.
Storming or not, I hope you enjoyed your day.