Monthly Archives: September 2011

while the Sitar gently sings

A Sitar conjures up childhood memories of living-room soirées in India where someone would play to an entranced audience of family and friends. At the time I did not know that this ancient Indian instrument had already been introduced by George Harrison of The Beatles to a huge rock-n-roll fan base in the West.

My family moved to the US in the late 70s. I’ve heard the solemn riffs of The Sitar in many popular Western songs and attended classical Indian concerts where the Sitar played a key role. Last Friday, however, when Rob Myers of the Thievery Corporation plucked the strings at a live concert in Oakland, I felt an unanticipated resonance. Listening to the sounds at a rock concert connected me back to the childhood memories and to the distance I have traveled literally and figuratively.

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Posted by on September 23, 2011 in 60s music, classical, listening, memory, Sitar, sound


listen and dance

A man slouches in a wheelchair. His body is still except for his hand which covers some switches on the right side of the wheelchair. Not far from him, directly in front of the stage, two young girls are jumping up and down, their hip-length hair making wide arcs around their back.

I recall seeing the women three hours earlier and they were doing the same exact dance. I wonder about their experience of the music and that of the man in the wheelchair. I consider my own night.

The headliners now playing, Forrest Day, bring a range of jazz/pop/rap/rock sound to the club. Sometimes I just listen to their lyrics and sound and sometime I move if the music powers my body. I’m impressed enough to consider looking them up later on YouTube.

The previous band, Oona, was more about danceabilityand and connecting to the audience than the lyrics. The lead singer had stylish bottled blonde hair, an off the shoulder shimmery shirt and sexy shorts that focused the attention on her. She connected to the audience by talking in-between sets and by going off stage into the audience. I don’t remember any of their songs or music but I had a great time dancing and enjoyed the show.

The opening act, Lavish Green, was more about sound than about lyrics as I couldn’t decipher the lyrics despite the club being somewhat empty when they came on. I sipped my gin-and-tonic and danced but I also wished that the volume was lower so that I wouldn’t feel so overpowered by the sound and need to yell so that my friend could hear what I was saying.

I look over to the man in the wheelchair, the women jumping around, the rest of the audience listening or dancing or doing both. Everyone is transported, somehow. And that’s all that matters.

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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in sound