Thursday, January 28, 2010

Music ~ a universal language

The 19th Century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once mused, "Music is the universal language of mankind." Although his words pre-dated the iPod generation by about a hundred years or so, I think the poet was onto something.

In an age where understanding the new models of music and media changes by the day ~ if not by the hour ~ it is music that has shaped the world around us. No matter what language it is sung ~ English, French, Spanish, Afrikaans. No matter if you don't speak or understand the language. You can still understand ~ and appreciate ~ the voice, the beat and the sound of the music.

A perusal of recent additions to my "Morning Becomes Eclectic" playlist (500+ songs) on my Apple iPod reflects the universality of my expanding multi-lingual and multi-genre music tastes:

"Prayer in Open D" by Emmylou Harris from Spyboy.
"Waiting for a Miracle" by Bruce Cockburn from Anything, Anytime, Anywhere.
"Xango Te Xinga" by Fabiana Cozza from The New Brazilian Music.
"July Flame" by Laura Veirs from July Flame.
"Seya" by Oumou Sangare' from Seya.

Let's break it down: There's alt country sung by an American (Harris), indy rock by a Canadian (Cockburn), bossa nova (sung by Cozza, a Brazilian), indy folk (sung by Veirs, an American), world music (sung by Oumou Sangare, a Malian). Added up: Music has no borders; its themes are shared.

Yes, music is indeed its own universal language. And, after all, doesn't everything in life go better with music?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A debut and a time for sharing wisdom

Welcome to my blog, A Tuesday Night Memo, musings about a life filled with music, sport and urban travel. While it is still Tuesday in the Western Hemisphere as I write my first post, I do not plan to limit my blogging to Tuesdays only ~ so, feel free to return to this space often.

As many of you who know me personally or who have gotten to know me through Facebook over the past year realize, I am an avid reader ~ newspapers and periodicals, books and blogs ~ with a "hungry mind" for gaining new insight, knowledge and wisdom. Sometimes, it's found through sport, in music, from politics, on the stage, at a cathedral or, simply, from enjoying a glass of fine wine.

As we are nearly one month into the new new decade, still busy setting personal goals and hoping to make good on New Year's resolutions, I would like to share with you a pearl of wisdom from the late Jim Valvano. You remember him, don't you?

Jimmy V, as he was known to most in the sporting world, coached underdog North Carolina State to a basketball national championship in 1983. The stage for delivering this pearl of wisdom was not a basketball arena, but rather came on a theater stage where Valvano gave an acceptance speech in receiving the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award on March 4, 1993 at the ESPYs ~ a mere 8 weeks before he died of cancer at age 47. His words of wisdom and courage carried a lot of weight back then and now, nearly 17 years later, they maintain a relevance and passion we can all appreciate. I know I do. If you're undecided about what your New Year's resolution should be, maybe this one's for you.

"To me, there are three things we all should do every day," Valvano said. "We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special."

Cheers for a safe, healthy and happy 2010!