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Posts Tagged ‘The Obama Diary’

Well, really  iTunes rocks!  I love music.  Can’t sing but I can hear and I was blessed with an ear for listening.  Every song has meaning.  To my untutored ear, the creator of the music provides one message, the arranger offers another, while the author of the lyrics defines another vision.  When all three meld beautifully, the song will serve its higher purpose of uplifting our spirit with a message of entreaty,  love, hope or all of the above.

Here are two examples of what I consider as my gift of hearing and listening.  By the way, I thank my high school English teacher for instilling in me the need to both hear and listen.

Earlier this year, I was browsing through a variety store at the airport in Jamaica while waiting for my flight.  Mostly, I indulge my love of literature by searching for books but since I was travelling alone my ears were tuned in to all the sounds around me and not the chatter of a travelling companion.  Like most stores today, there was a sound track running.  In the background, I could hear the notes and voices of the gospel song which was playing.  Beyond the sound of the choir ringing out over the speakers, was another lone voice.  I realized that the young cashier was also  caught up in the music, apparently knew and loved the song, and was singing in the sweetest voice I have heard in a long time.

I didn’t turn around but allowed the recorded music from the speakers to flow over me while the voice of the young woman brought a heartfelt emotion to the words.  I couldn’t catch everything but long after I walked out of the store,  the theme stuck with me as well as the final words of the chorus.  ‘he chose the cross instead’.  For some reason, I kept and held everything about the experience.

Weeks later, I still couldn’t forget the song, the words, the music or the voice. Eventually, I knew that  I would have to figure out where to track down the song.  How I was going to do that without a title or the name of the choir struck me as absurd.  To be honest, I spent a lot of time kicking  myself for not taking a moment to ask the young girl for the information.

Recently, I found myself in a similar situation.  My current hero, Barack Obama was struggling though the last days of his campaign.  His voice was almost lost in the rounds of endless appearances around the country.  About three days before the election, I waited online along with others for an appearance in some small town in Ohio because I could never tire of listening to his message of hope, voice or not.

The President was late getting to the advertised venue and I wondered if he had lost what was left of his overstrained vocal chords.  None the less, I waited, keeping one window on my computer opened at  The Obama Diary waiting for notice that he had arrived.

After awhile, I just opened  the C-Span channel and waited since I had nothing else to do and was tired of refreshing my computer.  I went to the venue site and waited.  There was a large crowd.  The music in the background hadn’t started in on the usual  Springsteen or Stevie Wonder tunes, a sure sign that the President’s arrival was not imminent.   I continued to wait.  The crowd was beginning to rock in anticipation.  Suddenly, it wasn’t the crowd anymore but the tune which began to get under my skin and I knew I had to figure out what it was.

Ok, so its not the airport in Jamaica.  My fabulous cell phone is handy.  By the time I was able to pull up my Soundhound app, the catchy song ended and the music moved on to another tune, still nice but not the one which moved me.

Forgetting about the president, who I had heard almost every day for weeks, I went back to The Obama Diary to ask if anyone knew the tunes which were played at the venues to entertain the crowds while waiting for Mr. Obama to appear.  No immediate response.  In desperation, I googled several variations of the words, ‘music, president, venue, etc.’  I finally found the answer under ‘President’s playlist’.

There were several songs.  Some I recognized immediately, others vaguely and some not at all.  After copying the list, I crossed out those I knew then went straight to itunes.  Here my two stories converge.

The complex mechanisms which comprise the  iTunes program make my musical search  missions a very interesting endeavour.  My effort combined with the availability of an awesome list of songs will result in success if I listen and hear.  The 90 second preview is usually enough to figure out if I am going in the right direction.

Finding the match to the words ‘he chose the cross instead’, was the more difficult of the two.  There were several songs with the same or similar words.  I ended up having to buy at least four songs before the wonderful tune by the Crabb family began to play out on my computer.  Indeed the words and music were as lovely as I remembered.  I have since played it on a regular basis when I am on the road.  Recently I also introduced it on my playlist for Gospel night at our healing meditation services.

After listening to the first five of the pieces on the President’s playlist, which were new to me, I heard this wonderful song performed by Ages and Ages, entitled, No Nostalgia.  I have to say, that it was as inspiring through my ear phones as it had been playing  in the background while the crowd of thousands waited for the president.  I can see why that song was on his playlist.

If music, words arranged beautifully can uplift the spirit,  inform and broaden the soul even while it teaches the very practical skills of listen, hear and seek then those songs are surely worth sharing.

I don’t know if there is any value or recongizable skill in being able to track down a song with very little information but I am happy to be able to do that because one uplifting song can make a difference to one hour of my day, one day of my life, one year.  Without music, I couldn’t write, I couldn’t offer hope and healing to those who are distressed, I couldn’t get myself up to make life’s journeys when the spirit falters.

Not every song search is so difficult.  Case in point, listening to Blossom Dearie sing Touch the Hand of Love on the radio, stopping the car to make a note of the information, tracking it down on YouTube then finding a classically beautiful version by YoYo Ma and Renee Fleming, Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer.  Every time I listen to it, I am thankful for having the opportunity to bring it into a moment when I need to remind myself to be thankful for family and friends.

I hope all your songs bring you the same joy.

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