Tag: music

…driving while learning Italian

Before I traveled to Italy last year, I had moments where I thought it best that I brush up on my Italian. At the time I had no idea I was going when I did, I just thought it would be a good way to improve on what I knew already. I wrote this to myself:

I was shopping in Barnes and Nobles (yes, there are still some standing stores!) for a friend’s gift the other day when I came across a cd set in the bargain section for learning Italian while you drive. I immediately snatched it up!

I’ve been playing the cd’s for the past week now, and I must say I’m impressed with myself. The instructions and sample dialogues have songs to assist you, and it’s actually quite helpful. So helpful that I find myself breaking into song at random moments in my day! My colleagues giggle at me because my outbreaks are really quite random – I could be in the middle of filing and start singing “Un momento per favore” or “Gli daró un messaggio”, or even the entire Italian alphabet. Most of the material is a review for me, but since I haven’t practiced much since I took my first class several years ago, I feel like it’s still one step closer to fluency.

Alex the security guard, whom I drive pass each day, heard the music one morning and thought I started listening to the Disney archives. Funny that he didn’t think it was odd since he’s heard all kinds of music coming from my car on any given day.

Who knew that learning Italian through song would be fun?  Because I”m on the tail end of that party. When I first began, I would constantly miss letters in the pronunciation of the alphabet in Italian. I’d struggle with some words here and there, or think that I heard one word when it really was another.  I’m proud of myself now that I can recite it without pausing. In song though, only in song.

It’s time for me to break out those cds again. Practice and repeat. Practice and repeat. Pratica e ripetere.


Gary Clark Jr.

Have you heard of him?
I had not, before yesterday. And now I’m in love.

With his sound.

This man is on repeat. Rhythmically caressing my soul’s ear.

His site: http://www.garyclarkjr.com

…on gratitude

Gratitude has been a ever-present aspect of my life. Some days I’m more grateful than others. I work on being grateful consistently, since it opens my world up in so many ways.

I was thinking about this when the Ryan Murphy/Kings of Leon twitter beef popped into my head. Ryan Murphy is co-creator of the television show Glee (I am a Gleek and proud!) and Kings of Leon are a rock group with some current mainstream hits. Supposedly Glee asked Kings for permission to use their music in the show and Kings immediately said no, supposedly because it was for a tv show, which to them is probably akin to having their music as background for a car commercial (yes, I’m looking at you, Black Keys, – just kidding, I still love you dearly). Somewhere along the line Ryan sent an insensitive tweet basically calling them out for refusing permission, which lead to the Kings replying with an equally insensitive tweet. Back and forth. According to the Kings, they had no idea about this show Glee, and really didn’t know how huge it had become.

However, I digress from the main point of this post. Gratitude. Instead of being lead by gratitude on the blessing of having a hit show, or having several hit songs, both parties’ egos sort of jumped in the fray and experienced a little beating. Ok, Kings of Leon don’t watch tv for a living, they practice and play and record music for a living. Not much for tv watching there.  But their music has a hit a note (pun intended) and is desired by many. Be grateful that people love your music, and be flattered that folks love it so much that they want to use it in a tv show.  Which might give it even more exposure — more exposure, more love for your music! And Ryan, you have a HIT show! I mean, how many shows currently on the air can say that? Maybe a handful? In the entire country. Blessings all around.

If Kings said no, so the heck what? There are so many more artists to chose from. Some that aren’t even well known but who have luscious material, ripe for Glee.  Now I enjoy a Kings song every now and again, but why choose to be offended? It’s not like you can’t ask again later. Puhlease.  Life is short and there is music aplenty.

Be grateful for your blessings. Be appreciative of all that you have. Choose not to entertain those that don’t fit into your vision. Stand your ground and realize that you have a


…somebody that i used to know

Ummmm…I’m quite obsessive when it comes to music. So if I hear something that I really like, I will track it down on the net and play it over and over and over and over again. Obsessively. And I’m not even a music fiend! I have an array of tastes, as I’ve mentioned before.

Listening to a radio show a couple of days ago I came across a bit of a song and I thought that it had a nice melody, good rhythm. All I remembered was “now you’re just somebody that I used to know” — the song came and went. I heard it again tonight, and then I did some skipping on the net. Gotye featuring Kimbra.  Ok, who? I can’t even pronounce this man’s name. However, he is Australian and he’s singing in English, so I gave it a go.

Love it! Yep, I’m playing it obsessively now. Outside of the fact that his chorus sounds eerily similar to Sting, whom I’ve adored since high school. Although the song is slightly depressing. I don’t even connect to lyrics in an obvious way, I’ve never had the experience he speaks about. But I connect to his feelings, and his feelings are exposed and eloquent – especially when Kimbra begins to sing. I love how poignant the lyrics are. And I love how expressive he is in this video – the slight wince, eyes quickly remembering a vision of the past and then forgetting, his painful plea.  I love it when men are so expressive! I know it’s the reason why I enjoy Spanish and Italian music so much — both men and women are so demonstrative of their feelings — they’re not hiding behind some facade of stoicism. Oh, the drama!

Tell me if you see what I see/hear/feel — presenting Gotye featuring Kimbra “Somebody That I Used To Know” — Enjoy!

…on music

Music soothes my soul.

I love all kinds of music, I find peace in it. Or sometimes anger, frustration, elation, love, or joy. Depends on my mood. I remember my mom telling me once that she always knew what kind of mood I was in by the music I played. I remember thinking, yeah right! Of course, as an adult, I now know that she was definitely right.

Recently they’ve been playing a Target commercial that features some young people playing bocce ball with some elders, and the elders kick their butt. Love it! What I realize is that I enjoy watching not only the fun of their interaction, but also because the music makes me want to be there with them. Marlena Shaw, thank you! Music does that to me. I love music in film for the same reason — it takes me someplace that I’ve never been, and allows me to become a voyeur to some imagined event. I love how music can ascend and then crash, become light and then return with full bass, how it accelerates in and out and swirls all around. I can feel it.

Lately I’ve been playing Florence and the Machine. She has an ethereal voice and I like her lyrics as well as the musical arrangement of her songs. Last week I saw a world hip-hop concert featuring Blitz the Ambassador, and a group Marthin Chan and Malverde who closed their set with a Spanish version of Dead Prez’ “It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop” — yes, that was hot!  Blitz was amazing – I’ve never even heard of him before. He and his band gave us a little musical history lesson as an intro.  But that’s what I love about music – you could discover new music every day for the rest of your life and never be able to listen to all that the world has to offer. The possibilities are endless.  Since I watched part of American Idol this past season and Scotty won (go-Scotty-go since I knew you were going to win from the day you auditioned – yes, ask my co-workers), now I want to explore some country music. I like certain songs but I’ve never actively sought it out until Scotty.

Raise your expectations and release your assumptions when it comes to music.  If you see me driving on your street, I might be blasting Achi Lagti Ho or something from Khaira Arby’s musical trove. Or I may be in a Florence kind of mood… Happiness hit her, like a train on a track…

Varied, ’cause that’s how I do.