Find Your Beach

zadie-smith

Here’s English author Zadie Smith in The New York Review of Books with an essay titled Find Your Beach:

[…] Now the ad says: Find your beach. The bottle of beer—it’s an ad for beer—is very yellow and the background luxury-holiday-blue. It seems to me uniquely well placed, like a piece of commissioned public art in perfect sympathy with its urban site. The tone is pure Manhattan. Echoes can be found in the personal growth section of the bookstore (“Find your happy”), and in exercise classes (“Find your soul”), and in the therapist’s office (“Find your self”). I find it significant that there exists a more expansive, national version of this ad that runs in magazines, and on television.

This woman is genius and can write.  Don’t miss her full essay here: Find Your Beach


Notes: Find her award winning book on Amazon here: White TeethPortrait of Zadie Smith: oprah.com. Bio at Wiki here: Zadie Smith 

Freed

woman-bliss-breathe-peace

“Maybe poems are
made of breath,
the way water, cajoled to boil, says,
This is my soul, freed.”

- Dean Young, from “Scarecrow on Fire,” in Bender: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2012)


Image Source: Black and White

Ignite it. Let it come out to play.

face-paint-color

[…] Not just offering an object,
but the soul,
your life’s mission ignited and on fire,
burning with a thousand different flames,
all blazing and sparking together
in more than a lifetime
of sleepless nights and saturated days.
Your soul has something to say.
Let it come out and play.

~ Quaglia Cocco

 


Credits: Poem – Thank you makebelieveboutique.com. Photography: ThePalette.  About Quaglia Cocco.

Yes.

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”

~ Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays


↓ click for audio (“Ruth and Sylvie” by Daniel Hart)

[Read more…]

Suzannah Espie


From Suzannahespie.com:

Suzannah Espie is a Melbourne, Australia based singer songwriter who has been casting spells over audiences ever since she first took to the stage with her alt-country pop band, GIT, in 1997. A woman of compelling beauty — statuesque, with piercing blue eyes framed by golden curls — she has a voice to match, an intoxicating mix of country, soul, blues and pop. A gentle, sweet trill that can move grown men to tears one moment, or an Aretha-esque hellcat belt that can raise the roof the next; however she sings it though, it’s still unmistakeably Suzannah Espie. It is as a solo artist Espie has truly come into her own…

It’s hard to believe now that, despite her prodigious talent, Espie was beset by self-doubt and shyness early on in her career, which she moved to Melbourne from Fremantle at aged 18 to pursue in earnest. She tells of forcing herself to get up at Fitzroy’s Rainbow Hotel to sing once a week. “Then I’d go and have a cry in the toilets afterwards because I thought it was so horrible.”

Collard recalls the first time he went over to Suzannah’s house to play some music together. “Absolutely nothing happened,” he says with a laugh. “She was too nervous to sing a note.”

While Espie’s confidence and profile have grown over the years, she remains as earthy and honest as the music she writes and performs.  “I still don’t think I’m a good songwriter. Occasionally I’ll pull a good one out of my arse,” she says in typically straight-talking Suzannah fashion.

Find her album on iTunes: Sea of Lights


 

 

I’ll take you there

Mavis Staples (born in Chicago, Illinois) is an American rhythm and blues and gospel singer, actress and civil rights activist who recorded with The Staple Singers, her family’s band. This tune reached #1 on the charts in the U.S. in 1972.


Do You Feel


José James, 36, is a singer songwriter from Minneapolis, and is best known for performing and blending modern jazz and hip-hop. James joined the Blue Note roster in 2013 when he released his breakout album No Beginning No End to wide acclaim. With its irrepressible lead single “Trouble,” the album release found José making national TV appearances on ConanLate Show With David Letterman, andTonight Show With Jay Leno.

The New York Times praised his “cool and confident” album, adding that it “sounds like the result of the black-pop continuum, jazz and soul and hip-hop and R&B, slow-cooked for more than 50 years.” NPR Music raved that “James makes utterly contemporary music,” noting that he “skirts categories with ease, fitting in with current R&B innovators like Frank Ocean or Miguel, yet maintaining a strong awareness of a lineage that stretches from Ray Charles to Marvin Gaye to Lou Rawls to Maxwell.”

Find this tune on his 2013 Album titled: No Beginning No End

José James official site and his full bio can be found at: josejamesmusic.com


Don’t Let Me Go


Jarle Bernhoft, 38also known as Bern/hoft, is a Norwegian singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer and lyricist. Bernhoft is from Nittedal in Norway, but currently lives in New York.

what he [Bernhoft] did with those few tools was quite extraordinary. Using them, and via a process of instant recording, looping and layering, he was able to create the sound of a full band – including all the instrumental parts plus backing singers on rich harmonies – and it was all just him.”  – The Guardian

Find his website here: Bernhoft.org

Find his new album released last month here: Islander / Bernhoft


We are finite, separate and neurotic. We strive and go crazy to become more important.

cute-girl-baby-elephant-hugging

“We tend to think animals are lower than us, but all the scientists in the world couldn’t design and operate a bumblebee’s wing. We can’t jump or run very fast, and we can’t carry vast weights like an ant can. We can’t see in the dark and we can’t fly except crammed in a noisy tube like sardines, which doesn’t count. Humans compared to animals are almost totally deaf, and we can’t smell a fart in an elevator by their standards. We are finite and separate, and neurotic, while the consciousness of an animal is at peace and eternal. We strive and go crazy to become more important. Animals rest and sleep and enjoy the company of each other. We think we have evolved upwards from animals but we have lost almost all of their qualities and abilities. The idea that animals don’t have consciousness or that they don’t have a soul is rather crass. It shows a lack of consciousness. They talk, they have families, they feel things, they act individually or together to solve problems, they often care of their young as a tribal unit. They play, they travel, and medicate themselves when they get sick. They cry when others in the herd die, they know about us humans. Of course they have a soul, a very pristine one. We humans are only now attempting with the recent rise in consciousness to achieve the soul that animals have naturally.”

- Stuart Wilde


Credits: Photograph – Themetapicture.  Poem/Quote: Sensual Starfish


Johnnyswim


Johnnyswim is a folk, soul, blues, pop music duo consisting of singer-songwriters Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez. The duo formed in 2005 in Nashville, Tennessee.  Sudano spent summers touring the world as a backing singer for her mother Donna Summer. Ramirez and Sudano first met after Sunday service at a church in Nashville, Tennessee. Four years later Sudano attended a songwriting workshop held by Ramirez and became interested in writing songs with him. Sudano and Ramirez were married in 2009.

Find their new album released on April 29, 2014 on iTunes: Diamonds


It’s never too late to be what you might have been. It’s never to early, either.

being-perfect-Anna-Quindlen

“Someday, sometime, you will be sitting somewhere. A berm overlooking a pond in Vermont. The lip of the Grand Canyon at sunset. A seat on the subway. And something bad will have happened: You will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something at which you badly wanted to succeed. And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for some core to sustain you. And if you have been perfect all your life and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where that core ought to be. I don’t want anyone I know to take that terrible chance. And the only way to avoid it is to listen to that small voice inside you that tells you to make mischief, to have fun, to be contrarian, to go another way. George Eliot wrote, ‘It is never too late to be what you might have been.’ It is never too early, either.”

 – Anna Quindlen, Being Perfect


Source: Thank you WhiskeyRiver from Anna Quindlen’s book: Being Perfect

What still pulls on your soul?

athena-red-hair-Thomas-Dodd

What in your life is calling you,
when all the noise is silenced,
the meetings adjourned,
the lists laid aside,
and the wild iris blooms by itself
in the dark forest,
what still pulls on your soul?

— Rumi

 


Poem Source: Stalwart Reader; Photograph – Athena by Thomas Dodd. See bio here.

Valerie June


Valerie June, 32, is an American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from Memphis, Tennessee. Her sound encompasses a mixture of folk, blues, gospel, soul, country, Appalachian and bluegrass.  After self-releasing three albums, her debut album as a signed artist, Pushin’ Against a Stone, was released in August, 2013. The album was so titled to commemorate the story of her life. June said “I feel I’ve spent my life pushing against a stone. And the jobs I’ve had have been fitting for getting a true feel for how the traditional artists I loved came home after a hard day to sit on the porch and play tunes until bedtime.”

Find her album “Pushin’ Against a Stone” on iTunes here.


Mindi Abair


Mindi Abair, 44, was born in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is an smooth jazz saxophonist. Mindi started playing the piano at age five, and started playing alto saxophone at the age of eight, when her elementary school band instructor laid out instruments on the first day of band class and instructed each student to pick the instrument they most wanted to play. Mindi has toured and/or recorded with the Backstreet Boys, Duran Duran, Mandy Moore, Josh Groban, Adam Sandler, Keb’ Mo’, Lalah Hathaway, Lee Ritenour, Teena Marie, John Tesh, Bobby Lyle, Jonathan Butler, Peter White and Rick Braun. She toured with Aerosmith in 2012. In 2003, Abair moved from pop to jazz. (Source: Wiki)


Rhye


Rhye is an R&B musical duo based in Los Angeles, California. Its members are Canadian singer Milosh and Danish instrumentalist Robin Hannibal.  Milosh’s voice and the band’s instrumentation are likened to those of British-Nigerian singer Sade and to those of Michael Franks. Mike Milosh was born in Toronto, Canada and is an electronic musician and vocalist. He was a classically-trained cellist from age 3 and had become a jazz aficionado. He later moved to Berlin, Germany to pursue music as a vocalist and a producer. Robin Hannibal was a member of the Danish duo Quadron an indie pop, electronica, soul, jazz and rap formation.

If you liked this tune, check out “The Fallhere and “3 Dayshere .

Rhye’s debut album titled “Woman” was released in 2013 and can be found on iTunes here.


Ruins


Liam Bailey, 30, born in Nottingham, England, is an English musician who is noted for his soul, reggae, blues vocals. He has been compared to Otis Redding, Dennis Brown, Jimmy Hendrix & BB King.

Tom Peter Odell, 23, was born in ChichesterWest Sussex, England to an airline pilot father and a primary school teacher mother. He studied piano classically to Grade 7. He began writing his own songs at the age of thirteen but told no one, because he felt it was “uncool.”

Liam Bailey’s Website here.
Tom Odell’s Website here.


Repeat after me: “Hanibaram”

hanibaram-winds

toska-melancholy

[Read more…]

The outcome of my days

black and white

“The outcome of my days is always the same; an infinite desire for what one never gets; a void one cannot fill; an utter yearning to produce in all ways, to battle as much as possible against time that drags us along, and the distractions that throw a veil over our soul.”

~ Eugene Delacroix, “The Journal of Eugene Delacroix


Credits: Image – Your Eyes Blazeout. Quote – The Hidden Abyss


Friday Night: Laura Mvula


Laura Mvula (née Douglas), 27, is a British soul singer-songwriter from the U.K. Her debut album Sing to the Moon was released in March 2013. In 2005, Mvula sang with an a cappella group set up by her aunt. In 2008, she formed a jazz/neo-soul group called Judyshouse, singing lead vocals and wrote material for the band. She is also Director of a Community Gospel Choir, founded by Black Voices. While she was working as a supply teacher in a Birmingham secondary school, she started writing songs on her laptop. She was working as a receptionist when she sent out two demos to several people in the music industry. The Guardian described her music as “gospeldelia”, calling it a new musical genre.  In December 2012, Mvula was shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice award at the 2013 BRIT Awards. In December 2012, she was nominated for the BBC’s Sound of 2013 poll, and finished in fourth position.  (Source: Wiki)

 


Cherub

costa rica

His name tag said Antonio.  He wore creaseless khaki shorts.  An olive green polo shirt.  Spotless white shoes.  The hotel staff uniform.  And, I’m guessing he was in his early 30’s.

Cherub.  That’s the word that immediately came to mind.  I looked it up after returning home from vacation.  “A chubby, healthy-looking child with wings.  A cherub is a type of spiritual being usually associated with the presence of God.”  A message to me?  A message from “Above” to the Believer of Convenience?

From late morning until late afternoon, he’d walk the beach with a wooden tray offering complimentary plastic shot glasses of mango smoothies, cappuccino ice cream coffee shots and strawberry shakes.  Every few hours, he would offer to clean your sunglasses – – and would do so with such care you would think he was holding a caterpillar.

He offered a perma-smile.  The man radiated Light. [Read more…]

Friday Night with Florence


Florence + the Machine are an English indie rock band, consisting of lead singer Florence Welch, Isabella “Machine” Summers, and a collaboration of other artists who provide backing music. The band’s debut album, Lungs, was released in 2009 and was one of the best selling albums in 2009 and 2010.  The group’s second studio album, Ceremonials, released in October 2011, debuted at number one in the UK and number six in the US.  Lungs won the MasterCard British Album award at the 2010 BRIT Awards. At the 53rd Grammy Awards, Florence and the Machine were nominated for Best New Artist. Additionally, the band performed at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, and the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Concert.

Florence Welch, 26, was born in London.  She was educated at Thomas’s London Day School then went onto Alleyn’s School, South East London, where she did well academically. Welch often got in trouble in school for impromptu singing. Welch has been diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia. She is the daughter of Evelyn Welch, an American Professor of Renaissance Studies at King’s College London and Nick Welch, an advertising executive.  Her British father, Nick, contributed a “rock and roll element to the family mix”; in his twenties he used to live in a West End squat and attended the Squatters’ Ball organised by Heathcote Williams where The 101ers played regularly.  A self-confessed “frustrated performer”, if Nick, as he put it, “nudged Flo in any way, it’s only been to listen to the Ramones rather than Green Day”. Evelyn had an equally strong yet completely different influence on her daughter. A visit to one of her mother’s lectures left teenage Florence deeply impressed. She explained, “I aspire to something like that but with music. I hope that my music has some of the big themes—sex, death, love, violence—that will still be part of the human story in 200 years’ time”. (Source: Wiki)


 

Charles Bradley


Charles Bradley, 65, was born in Gainesville, Florida.  He was raised by his grandmother until the age of eight when, while meeting his mother for the first time, she told him that she wanted him to come live with her in Brooklyn, NY.  In 1962, his sister took him to the Apollo Theater to see James Brown perform. Bradley was so inspired by the performance that he began to practice mimicking Brown’s style of singing and stage mannerisms at home.  When he was a young teen, Bradley ran away from home and lived on the streets and in subway cars for two years. Later, he enlisted in Job Corps which eventually led him to Maine to work as a chef. One time while working, someone told him he looked like James Brown. Yet when asked if he could sing, he was too afraid to admit it. Eventually he did, however, overcome this fear and performed five or six times with a band. But after his band mates were drafted into the Vietnam War, the act never re-formed.  Bradley worked in Maine as a cook for ten years until deciding to head west, hitchhiking across the country. He lived in upstate New York, Seattle, Canada and Alaska before settling in California.  There, Bradley worked odd jobs and played small shows for 20 years before he was discovered by Daptone’s Gabe Roth…and then, as they say, the rest was history.


References:

Friday Night: Mario Biondi


It’s hard to imagine how I could not have heard of Mario Biondi prior to tripping into this video on Nia‘s blog.  BIG voice on his rendition of this classic tune (Close to Me) which was composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and originally recorded by The Carpenters in 1970.

Mario Biondi, 42, is a jazz-soul vocalist born in the Sicilian city of Catania in Italy.  He was born of artistic stock.  His great grandfather was a respected painter, his grandmother a singer, and his father a popular songwriter.   Biondi sang throughout his childhood, first performing in public at age 12 in church, and soon singing in public squares before hundreds of people. From there he competed in the Festival della Canzone Siciliana, taking third place. Biondi’s musical pursuits earned him the opportunity to perform alongside such Italian vocal greats as Califano, Bongusto, and Fiorello, as well as American legend Ray Charles. As word of his talent and skill got out, Biondi found himself collaborating with groups like the Change, Mario Brothers, and Funky Company on recordings and tours. Given his powerful and unique voice, it was not long before Biondi was encouraged to pursue a solo career. Featuring material inspired by American R&B artists like Lou Rawls, Luther Vandross, and Donny Hathaway, Biondi’s debut record was released in 2006.  (Link to album can be found here.)


Source: Thank you Nia for pointing me to Mario Biondi (via Sempreventophoto).  Bio -iTunes.

acappella anyone?


4 minutes.  36 songs. Something for everyone.  And I mean everyone.  From Beethoven to Hammerstein to Johnny Cash to Aretha to Queen to Gaga to Psy.  Evolution of music from 11th century to today.  Curious about the song list?  Here it is: [Read more…]

Lead Me Home

During his last school break, my Eric hooked me on the AMC Series The Walking Dead. (A wonderful, uplifting and nurturing series on humanity. Sarcasm dripping.)  This song, “Lead Me Home” by Jamie N. Commons, premiered on the show.  Commons, 23, is a singer-songwriter who was born in Bristol, England.  He relocated with his family to Chicago at the age of six where he was immersed in Chicago Blues.  He returned back to the UK at 16.  Raspy like Tom Waits – gothic like Nick Cave…amazing young talent.  His new album, Rumble & Sway, was released last month.

Jamie N Commons – Lead Me Home from Jordan Bahat on Vimeo.

Friday Night: Melissa Forbes

musician, vocalist,singer, song writer,artist

You’re My Alter Ego / Nothing Else Matters

click for audio


Melissa Forbes is a Australian musician, performer, educator and researcher.  She was originally trained in jazz and improvisation.  She has also studied contemporary vocal pedagogy extensively, and hopes to complete a PhD in the area.  She is Associate Lecturer in Voice at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, Australia, where she leads a merry band of young vocalists in their quest to reach their fullest potential through singing.  Melissa also has her own private studio, The Contemporary Voice Studio. Melissa released her album No More Mondays to critical and popular acclaim. (Source: Melissa Forbes Website)


Love the entire album – – check it out at iTunes link: No More Mondays.  Image Credit.

Peace


I have come from so far away…Down the road of my own mistakes…My soul renewed, and my spirit free…I’ll find my peace.

~ Michael McDonald, Peace

Said and Done


I sourced this from musictouchesthesoul.  And this Nils Frahm music video titled “Said and Done” did exactly that… (And don’t give up on this one too early)


Related Posts:

The Gift

Here’s Glen Hansard with The Brooklyn Youth Chorus singing Hansard’s new song titled “The Gift.”  Be sure to also check out Hansard and his co-star Marketa Irglova in the movie Once which earned them the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Falling Slowly” along with 10 other major award nominations.  Great song and great flick.

This gift will last forever
This gift will never let you down
Some things are made from better stuff
This gift is ready to be found
Just you believe it now 


Source: jungleindierock via gene-how

Related Posts:

Sunday Afternoon with Amos…

colors

Here’s Amos Lee with Norah Jones singing “Colors.”  Lee was born in Philadelphia.  He was a former schoolteacher and bartender before pursuing a career in music.

↓ click for audio (Colors: Amos Lee with Norah Jones)


Image Source: My Divine, Cloud Number 9 via marcdesa

Related Posts:

I’d Rather Go Blind…

Michael Grimm, a Mississippi Southern Soul singer/songwriter, was the winner of America’s Got Talent in 2010.  Grimm sings a blues and soul classic, “I’d Rather Go Blind,” which was a song first recorded by Etta James in 1968.  LOVE his rendition…



Related Posts:

Things that soothe my soul…

I came across a post this morning on a blog that I follow called Making Things Happen – and then proceeded to poach the graphics and twist the idea a bit for the weekend.  (I wasn’t looking to “get fired up” this morning.)  What was a bit of a head scratcher is that I had to work to get to 10. (There’s a message to me in that pondering as well.)  Here’s my top 10.  Your top three would be???

 

 


Related Posts:

  1. You are not your body.  You are not your mind.
  2. Thirty Lessons For Living…Profound
  3. Think Small
  4. New Research on Happiness…Not One Big Thing…Sum of Hundreds of Little Things

Image sourced and idea adapted from Making Things Happen