A while back, I'd written a piece called "
Stir of Echoes: Haunted Hearts and Healing Memories" where I listed a set of music tracks that reminded me of Mumsie, of her life and of my care-giving experience, and of her life with my wife.
A while back, I'd written a piece called "
And Peace Through Music
How Producer Mark Johnson put it all together.
Morning Edition, May 4, 2009 - Until a video of "Stand by Me" had gone viral on YouTube, Roger Ridley had sung and played guitar anonymously on the streets of Santa Monica, Calif., for years. The video begins with Ridley and then mixes in 40 other musicians from around the world. It's part of a 10-song collection called Playing for Change: Songs Around the World.
Producer Mark Johnson got the idea a few years ago when he heard Ridley's voice on a street in Santa Monica.
"I approached him after the performance and said, 'Hey, if I come back in an hour with some recording equipment and cameras, I'd love to record you, film you, add musicians around the world to it,' " Johnson says. "And he looked at me really funny, sort of thought I was crazy. But he said, 'OK, if you come back, we'll do it.' "..................Rest Here with Video Links to a Couple of the Songs
Brings up the NPR Player to Listen to Discussion
Promoted. Originally posted 2009-01-24 16:09:45 -0500. -- GH
When I was a young, broke but care-free philosopher in the University of Arkansas, hanging out with poets, working at a red-neck bar for beer money, and fancying myself a writer, I worried a lot. The bar had a big red button behind the counter, right above a double-barrel, twelve gage shot gun. I was told it was loaded with rock salt. Pressing the red button killed the juke box and called the cops. I only had to use those bar-back tools once, then promptly quit.
Promoted. Originally posted 2008-11-19 13:01:42 -0500. -- GH
NPR brings another musical treat Exclusive to it's audience, this one about the group known as The Fireman.
NPR.org, November 18, 2008 - When The Fireman released its debut album in 1993 — the instrumental dance and electronica mix Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest — the band's identity was a mystery. U.K. music magazine Melody Maker eventually exposed The Fireman as a duo featuring the bassist and producer known as Youth and, to everyone's surprise, Paul McCartney. Reviewers praised the collaboration as "staggeringly brilliant," but it was a strange and entirely unexpected direction for the former Beatle.
A Comment from the community at NPR:
I was hoping for something more spiritual, but I was not disappointed. It is structured like a live concert so the listerner must give it time to develope to its full. (What musician does not start slowly, except for Dave Grohl?) I wonder if there will be a live version of this. I personally like "Don't Stop Running," because it reminds me of my walk down a different Abbey Road.
And there's a few more as well as abit more of the description at the link above.
Sometimes, it behooves us to take a moment unto ourselves for quiet reflection and contemplation, where we can behold once again the beauty and wonder of a world teeming with brilliant life in the cold, empty void of space. Individually and collectively, it is easy to lose oneself in the day-to-day chaos that envelops us as social beings: the demands of one's life, complicated by the demands of living and participating in a community of social beings who each have their own individual desires and who, together, form organizational structures that run the gamut from basic family, friends and neighborhoods to cities, states and nations -- all competing for a varied, yet limited set of resources.
We develop patterns and follow them; if they were set to music, the beat and harmony would shift and change to reflect the ups and downs, ins and outs of life, and we would be the dancers -- our lives set to the music, trying to move in sync with it. Sometimes, those harmonies skip and stutter. Other times, they become harsh and repetitive, playing the tune over and over and faster and faster until the dancer, exhausted, can do nothing more than run in place or die, unable to break free.
Music and memory are both powerful influences on life; it's not surprising, therefore, that we can often find music and memories mixed throughout human history. In Part I: Stir of Echoes, I reflected upon the passing of my mother-in-law in light of several strange happenings around our house that suggest to us her continued presence and apparent intention to watch over us. I ended by describing how I'd assembled a playlist of music that helped me keep my memories of Mumsie alive by evoking that special stir of echoes that manifest within my heart whenever I hear certain music and melodies. This piece delves into the elements of the playlist and the memories each one embodies. By sharing it, I hope to further share the unique experience of knowing Mumsie as I had come to know her during the twilight of her years.
Sometimes within the brain's old
I hear, far off, at some forgotten
A music and an eerie faint carouse
And stir of echoes down the
-- Archibald Macleish, "Chambers of Imagery"1
Hawkwife's mother -- my mother-in-law -- passed away December 19th, 2007, at the nursing home where she had lived for less than a year. I affectionately referred to her as "Mumsie" and had served as her primary caretaker from the day Wifey and I married until the time we moved her into the nursing home. Truth to tell, I continued the role even afterward, working to ensure due diligence in her care and facilitate understanding and communications between Mumsie, the staff and us.
The house felt quiet, somewhat empty, when we moved Mumsie to the nursing home. I felt somewhat empty, somewhat relieved, and a little as though I had betrayed not just a friend but a person who had grown to depend upon me to be there to help her.
There are so many ways to second guess the decisions one makes in life, regardless of whether it pertains to something major or minor. With major decisions -- those which impact not just your life but the lives of others -- the tendency to second-guess can explode exponentially into a multitude of "what-ifs" and "if onlys" until the mind and spirit strain under the weight.
We were spared some of this.
Some of it.
We missed Mumsie, but were no longer able to care for her at home without assistance, and we didn't qualify for the assistance we needed.2 It was the best thing we could do to ensure the high level of care we'd established for her, albeit at a cost of a level of interaction that I still regret today.
In the aftermath of her passing, as days stretched into weeks and the weeks into months, we've come to believe that she gently lingers with us in both memories unbidden and incidents of awkward recognition -- her life spirit, echoing through the halls of body, mind and abode. It is a reassuring feeling, comforting on several levels even while a touch spooky and otherworldly.