I used to shrug and ignore people who listened to the likes of country music, “boeremusiek” and pop music, before I aged into a more tolerant mind-set. Not to say that I like it any better today, but I've learnt that as with most differences we as humans have, choice of music definitely is also one of them. This is probably why I don’t wonder what some people feel when Justin Bieber is at the top of his adolescent pitch in “Baby” anymore. Supposedly the same can be said of Bles Bridges, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Ludwig van Beethoven or Led Zepplin, for a wide variety of folk. I found it very weird when someone has no feeling when I play “More than a feeling”, but I've made peace with my stunned mind, and kept a straight face. You can be Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Agnostic or Atheist, if the tune doesn't grab you, the human has left you – or the feeling has (not specifically referring to Boston).
Music has been around since before all of us were born, and it will play at our feasts, anniversaries and funerals. We experienced it before we saw the first light of day, hammered our little fists to it in the high chair and shaped a part of our little brain to the rhythm of nursery songs sung by mothers, grand-mothers and caretakers. From live concerts to the little transistor radio, booming clubs to candle lit fairy gardens, big Mardi Gras carnivals to the street corner sax player; we cannot escape the soothing or elation of the tempo and tune. Music is the background, feature and the one accompanying experience through ecstasy and sorrow, pain and joy, fun and boredom, war and calm.
From the initial teenage spark, we grab music to transport us into adolescence and carry us through the wild twenties, find an even space in the thirty zone and mellow the spikes of the forties. By the time we reach a half century we are accustomed to our sound and will probably carry it until our demise. We dance the wedding opening to Barry White, freak out with air guitar on AC/DC, cry when Eddie Vedder’s rough voice throws a score on a romantic film and dose off to dreamland on the wings of Tchaikovsky. The way music interacts with our emotions is simply astounding.
With the technology we established, the ultimate Pink Floyd concert comes to life on a volume of 80%+ in our own living rooms; with surround sound, crystal clear audio and a 60 inch screen to ensure the lighting matches. We can lose ourselves in the sweet acoustic tunes of Collective Soul or freak our minds with a live Metallica marathon; there is just no end to the possibilities of our interaction with music. We rise to radio, travel to work on a favourite, complete our daily grind on a background of pop and get home to relax with our escape tune.
The one night I took my girl to the little restaurant on the corner, there were five guys having a little jam session with brass and strings. I just had a passionate feeling of completeness while they performed a jazz tune I still treasure to this day. Jazz just makes me smile, in fact, good music does it every time.
That one “off” day, I decide to play Muse – and “off” it was no more. For you it may be Kurt Darren, Russian Red, Leonard Cohen, U2, Neil Young, Slipknot or Tracy Chapman; we are really spoilt for choice these days. The emotion we can muster out of our choice is simply amazing.Sitting in traffic and selecting a Van Halen rocker called “Don’t tell me what love can do”, at volume before distortion, sends goose-flesh up to my earlobes, brings tears to my eyes and has me hammering the steering wheel; no matter what the taxi passengers next to me think – This boy is a rockin’!
I get home after a heavy week and clean a seat under the tree; shove a pick of T-Bone Burnett, vintage Joe Satriani and some mellow Mark Knopfler into the player. Soon the week has faded, soon energy returns, soon my mind is clear.
Music – the doctor of life.
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