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Archive for the 'The Sound of Music' Category

Tabla Is My Soul

Monday, November 19th, 2007

It's no surprise to me that John Foxx would be the person that brought tabla into my life; my dear friend and a talented musician with whom I share many musical tastes.

On a trip to San Fransisco in early 2007, John was drawn into a small shop on Haight Street where a beautiful, melodious sound had piqued his keen musical ear. Once inside, he asked the shop owner what this amazing yet unique music was, and if it was for sale. It was Midival Punditz, and John immediately bought a copy. Upon returning home, he offered to let me listen - not sure I would like the unique sound. To the contrary, I was enthralled and immediately entranced. It was all I listened to for weeks on end.

The sound led me to find similar music...and I was soon drawn to anything involving the soul-tingling beat of the tabla drum. I - on a whim - purchased Tala Matrix by Tabla Beat Science; an outfit pieced together with amazing artists like Midival Punditz, Bill Laswell, Karsh Kale, Zakir Hussain, and more. I would be lying if I didn't say that - to this day from its purchase in March - I have not listened to that CD repeatedly nearly every single day.

Not only did I fall in passionate love with the sound of the tabla drum, the music on this album led me to purchase CDs by a number of now-favorite artists...Bill Laswell, Karsh Kale, Zakir Hussain, Lumin, DJ Cheb I Sabbah, Azam Ali, Bombay Dub Orchestra, Talvin Singh, Niyaz, and many more. My musical repertoire has been forever enhanced and enriched because of this beautiful music and these talented artists.

I cannot begin to describe my love for this music, and the many beautiful Indian instruments I have the pleasure of hearing now - especially and foremost, my beloved tabla drums.

These days, in heavy rotation, the only things that have been gracing my computer's CD drive have been Bill Laswell's Asana OHM Shanti, Sacred System, Chapter One: Book of Entrance, Sacred System, Chapter 2, ROIR Dub Sessions, and Tala Beat Science's Tala Matrix and Live in San Francisco at Stern Grove.

It changes and rotates, in August I listened non-stop to Azam Ali and Niyaz, but this music - as it spins in my computer's CD drive is like nothing I've ever experienced. The combination of ancient Indian or other instruments, folk songs, and rhythms, mixed with modern instruments, electronic equipment, or evenĀ  scratching makes my ancient soul and modern spirit soar.

Friends, the Family You Choose

Tuesday, November 25th, 2003

It's good to have goals in life. I've just made up a new one for myself. It is my goal to own the entire Future Sounds of Jazz and Om Lounge CD collections. I got the original "Future Sounds of Jazz" back in 1999 and it's still one of my favorite CDs.

I've been noticing an alarming trend on TV lately. There is an abundance of commercials aimed at teaching parents how to be...well, parents. Let me repeat that - they have commercials teaching parents how to be parents. It's utterly obvious that parenting skills in this day and age aren't what they used to be (damn that no-spanking bullshit that started it all!), but you know it's gotten out of hand when the gov'mt feels the need to make public messages on TV offering up good parenting skills. That's just bad.

This life has taught me many things, but one of the more important lessons was that you don't have to be blood to be family. Mrs. Elsie and her brother, who we called Beep-Beep, lived across the street from my grandparents all of my life. They lived there when my mother and uncle were growing up as well. Mrs. Elsie and Beep-Beep were our family - they came over every holiday and we loved them like we would have any other family member. When they both went to live in separate nursing homes a few towns away, we still went to pick them up and brought them to spend the holidays with us. When Beep-Beep passed away a few years ago, it was my family who saw to all the arrangements and paid for his funeral. It was we that put "Beep-Beep" on his headstone, and we that lovingly bring flowers on the important holidays. Now Mrs. Elsie is very ill and in the hospital. We go to visit her, and she sometimes cries telling us how much she loves us. The nurses always ask, "Are you family?" Well yes, and no. We are in every way that counts, but my grandfather still had to lie to one nurse and say he was a cousin to get information on her condition.

The point of all this is that your friends and close loved ones are sometimes more your family than the one you were born into. I have always believed that these people are the "family you choose". Think about all of the people that are special in your life who are not blood related. This is the special family you have chosen - the people you have in your life because they make it a better place. Maybe you should give some of them a call.

With that, I'm outta here for the evening. Hope you have a nice one.