Ciao Amica Mia,
Here in Arizona we’re so blessed to experience the most glorious sunrises. When I pull open the drapes to my front doors in the morning and the sky above me moves gently from the gray of night falling away; to the yellow, orange and pink of early morning light, I stand in awe. And without fail the title of my ole’ favorite song runs through my head, a “Brand-New Day”. I feel my chest lift and expand as I inhale a breath of hope.
I don’t know about you, but I often look to music to soothe my soul. It doesn’t matter the genre. Anywhere from opera to rock and jazz to country.
Maybe it was because I grew up in a household with a dad who adored music. And, more accurately maybe it was because my dad needed music in order to soothe his own soul.
While generous, loving, funny and kind my dad wasn’t always easy. His childhood wasn’t easy. And I believe that if he were a young man today, he’d be diagnosed with PTSD. But in those days, you just pulled yourself up by your “bootstraps” and got on with life.
So, for my dad, when he realized that he not only appreciated music as the gift it was, but that he had a resonant singing voice that people enjoyed listening to, music began to heal his heart.
My dad sang with a big band for quite a few years and his style was much like the crooners of old. He and my mom enjoyed taking my brothers and me to small dinner venues where we’d sit at round tables covered with white or red linen, in dimly lit rooms, thinking we were really cool. As kids exposed to the likes of Vic Damone, Bobby Darren, Buddy Greco and Jack Jones, we learned to admire their creative expression of song. In those days the artists walked the room after their sets and often they’d stop to talk to us. My brothers and I were impressed that the entertainers knew who our parents were and called them by name.
Most of the time, even as a young girl, my dad and I enjoyed the same type of music. Until the day I fell in love with Van Morrison. It astounded him, “I can’t believe you like him so much. He sounds like he has marbles in his mouth.”
I, on the other hand, couldn’t believe that my dad didn’t get it. Van was the one troubadour we never agreed on. And every once in a while, even in his waning years, he’d tease me by belting out a few lines of Van’s, “Moon Dance”. And pretending his mouth was full of marbles.
The thing is, we never know why certain lyrics, melody or vocalist touches that vulnerable soft spot. It’s as though our hearts are slashed open with the sword of truth.
Is it the time or circumstance of our life? We hear a musical note in a particular key and all of a sudden, we’re alert. The air around us sizzles. The light shines more brilliantly. And in a flash, we’re more cognizant of the world and our place in it.
Music has no limits, walls or barriers.
Music is the infinite world of possibility.
Music is the language of the soul.
I’ll never forget the first time I heard Van Morrison’s, “Brand New Day”. I was about 18 years old and my childhood sweetheart, the boy I hoped to marry, just broke up with me. Sitting close to my dad’s stereo equipment and radio I turned the dials when I heard the first few notes of the piano and I knew immediately whose voice would follow. His unmistakable bluesy rasp pierced my heart and out poured my deep longing, sorrow and even hope.
As he continues to do so today. I call “Van the Man” my personal philosopher. I’ve seen him several times live in concert. His early days, his drinking days and now in his elder sober days. Van remains a constant source of inspiration.
When I damn well want to feel my grief, he’s there. And when I need to feel hopeful, he’s there. And when I simply want to feel into my youthful rock and roll, moon dance, breakaway girl self, he’s there. To soothe my soul in all the phases and stages of my life.
On this Sacred Sunday I invite you to consider who is your personal musical philosopher? What one song is your go to when you need to feel uplifted? Or, when you need to allow the sadness to surface so you can move through it? What type of music and what artist is there to help soothe your soul?