Nyepi, A day of silence


Nyepi, A Day of Silence by Olafur Arnalds

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

True story: One summer, years ago, I went tubing…The sun was blazing, and the water was cool. It was a perfect day to close your eyes and let the current carry you. I was enjoying myself, until we rounded the final bend and saw the parking lot. I leaned back to get my arms in the water and I started to kick and paddle. In a froth of churning water, I passed my mom, my sister, my boyfriend and my brothers, and as I reached the dock, I shouted out, “I won!”

That’s me. All my life, I’ve made lists and set deadlines, never content, or even able, to just glide.

That kind of drive has served me well when aimed at challenges within my control, like writing a novel…I never stopped hoping that if I worked hard enough, wanted it badly enough, I’d finally get the acclaim that I craved…

That did not happen. And my brain, which had propelled me toward so many successes, could not push me past disappointment. Instead of focusing on everything that had gone right, including how lucky I was to make a living as a writer, it got stuck on what had gone wrong. Let’s think about it! my brain suggested, like a Roomba endlessly butting itself into a corner. Let’s think about it a lot. Especially at 3 in the morning. Let’s go over every single choice. Let’s dwell.

I tried yoga. I attempted meditation. Nothing helped. Instead, each spiritual setting and inner-growth-focused class presented new opportunities to compete: I held that pose for longer than anyone in the class. I’m way more Zen than she is. Finally, I remembered reading about how learning something new — creating new neural pathways — was a way to send your thoughts in different directions.

And so, after a 35-year hiatus, I started taking piano lessons again.

I had been an indifferent piano student as a kid…By high school, I had bumped up against the limits of my natural abilities. So I quit. I turned my attention toward activities at which I could excel…


Photo: videvo

How wonderful life is while you’re in the world

John Lewis’ 2018 Christmas advertisement tells the story of Elton John being gifted a piano as a young boy. The story begins in present day and works backwards chronologically through Elton’s life and musical career, leading to the moment he received the special present of his grandmother’s piano that changed the course of his life. (Source: The Telegraph, November 15, 2018)


Thank you Lorne

“The most beautiful music I’ve heard….”

Bob Boilen — “It’s as if the pianos were haunted. Somewhere about midway through this Tiny Desk, as Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds performed on his electronic keyboard, two upright pianos were playing lilting melodies behind him, absent any performer at the keys. And yet these “ghosts,” along with Ólafur’s band of strings and percussion, put together some of the most beautiful music I’ve heard at the Tiny Desk, made all the more mysterious through its presentation…”

Nuit Blanche


Thank you Nan Heldenbrand Morrissette for sharing “Nuit Blanche” (Sleepless night) by the Tarkovsky Quartet.

This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you

James Blake sings a cover of Don McLean’s “Vincent” which was filmed and recorded live at Conway Studios in Los Angeles in December, 2017.

Sunday Evening


Jóhann Jóhannsson, 48, performs “The Drowned World” with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble in this clip.  He was born and raised in Reykjavík, where he later went on to study languages and literature at university. He started his musical career as a guitarist playing in indie rock bands. In 1999 Jóhann co-founded “Kitchen Motors”; a think tank, art organisation and music label that encouraged interdisciplinary collaborations between artists from punk, jazz, classical, metal and electronic music. His own sound arose out of these musical experimentations.


Note: Find entire music video here. (I’ve clipped the back half above). Find Jóhannsson’s web site here.

Mozart. People compare you to Mozart. What do you think of that?

It takes Alma Deutscher just four notes and forty seconds to improvise an impressive short piano sonata right before 60 Minutes cameras. That alone is remarkable – but she’s also just 12 years old…Alma, a musical prodigy who, by the age of 10, had composed a full-length opera. She’s also a virtuoso on the violin and piano, where the music flows from her fingers as effortlessly as the breath from her body.

Scott Pelley: There is another composer who had an opera premiere in Vienna at the age of 11. Mozart. People compare you to Mozart. What do you think of that?

Alma Deutscher:  I know that they mean it to be very nice to compare me to Mozart.

Scott Pelley: It could be worse.

Alma Deutscher: Of course, I love Mozart and I would have loved him to be my teacher. But I think I would prefer to be the first Alma than to be the second Mozart.

~ Scott Pelley, Watch a prodigy create – from four notes in a hat (CBS 60 Minutes, November 5, 2017)


Having trouble viewing video, try this link.

Lullaby (110 sec)

Blackout

23 year-old Londoner Freya Ridings released her debut single Blackout in May 2017.

Liked this? Don’t miss Freya Ridings’ hit single: Maps

Find her on Facebook. 

Find her 2017 album on iTunes: Live @ St Pancras Church

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