I'm back in London but my blog's still on a sabbatical. In the meantime here's what my mp3 players has on offer for you today.
Alice Russell arrived by surprise. One night I was jumping from clip to clip on youtube (as you do!) and I suddenly stumbled upon 'Hurry on Now'. From there I went on amazon and got a couple of her albums. Haven't looked back. She deserves more recognition. Proper British soul.
You know you've arrived at that mid-point in your life, not when your kids grow up and leave the nest, or when you can't tie your shoelaces anymore because of the size of your belly, or when you think of Saturday night and the first image that pops into your head is a pair of slippers and a cup of hot chocolate. No, you know that you've hit middle age when you've come full circle and start appreciating and listening attentively to the music you grew up with and which you unconsciously "liked". You didn't really, it's just that it was there, in the background. That's what happened to me recently with the Brazilian singer Roberto Carlos, the soundtrack of many a Cuban of a certain age. I gave up on his music when I became a teenager, but a couple of years ago I found an album with his greatest hits and a trip down memory lane beckoned. What I discovered that night was that I'd never really gone off his music. Amazing voice and extraordinary arrangements, I began to see Roberto Carlos in a different light. Straight from my mp3 to you, "Qué Será de Ti".
This is one of the few pieces from the classical canon to which I can listen when I'm out jogging without pressing the "forward" button. To hear this melody coming on my mp3 player as the sun rises in London whilst I'm running up a hill is possibly one of the most sublime instances of pure synergy between human sensitivity and nature's delicacy. "Air on G-String" by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by Sarah Chang on violin.
And we finish this section off,(at least for the time being) with one of the more eccentric frontmen rock's ever produced. There is a handful of singers whose dancing style leaves me clutching my sides, not just out of pure mirth, but also amusement. Prince, Mick Jagger and of course, R.E.M.'s very own Michael Stipe, to name but three. Together with Eddie Vedder's powerful growl, "Begin the Begin" goes up a couple of notches in the scale of musical grandiosity. And this was already a great tune. It just got better. I hope you enjoy it. I'll be back next Sunday. Have a great week!
Next Post: "Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music", to be published on Sunday 11th September at 10am (GMT)