Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Slice of Life Tuesday

For Father's Day, I got my dad the 25th Anniversary Edition of Paul Simon's Graceland. Included in the package was a CD of the original album with some bonus tracks, as well as a DVD documentary called "Under African Skies" about the controversy surrounding Simon's recording the album in South Africa in the 80's in the height of the Apartheid struggle. As I sat watching the documentary with my dad, what rose above the racial conflict was the idea of the spirituality of music. It was present in the background music of the film, in the footage of recording sessions, as well as in poignant statements made in interviews. One recent interview between Paul Simon (noticeably aged) and Quincy Jones really made an impact on me. The statements reached out of the TV and just grabbed at my heart. Quincy Jones said, "We all have the same 12 notes. Music is the great equalizer. Music is the voice of God."

It made me emotional to hear, and makes me emotional now, recording the words here. Music IS my spirituality. I am not a church-goer, but music is my soul. It brings me home, back to earth. It centers and grounds me. When I look back on periods of my life when I wasn't creating music, it feels like a dark time in my life. Music sheds light, warmth on me and on my life.

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with my high school band director at a ceremony that recognized the most influential teachers in graduating seniors' school careers. It was a full circle moment, being recognized by a former student, when there, also being recognized, was MY most influential teacher. I told him how I had recently been taking my flute out to play and regain my stamina, and he told me that this summer, for the first time, our district would be organizing an alumni summer band. It was exactly what I had been missing. Playing with other musicians and creating art in the form of music is like therapy for me. It fills up the empty parts and makes me whole again.

I like the idea of being a lifelong musician, as my band director always wished for his students. One day, I will be looking noticeably aged like Paul Simon, but I know that creating music will keep my heart, soul, and spirit young.

(Even if the documentary doesn't tickle your fancy, the DVD is definitely worth checking out, if only for the music video of "You Can Call Me Al" featuring Chevy Chase. Possibly the best lip synching job ever.)


Deanna H said...

It's great that you get spirituality through music. Music is so powerful and can touch people so deeply in a way that nothing else can. Great post!

Dana said...

What a powerful reflection, "Music IS my spirituality. I am not a church-goer, but music is my soul. It brings me home, back to earth. It centers and grounds me."