1. Some of my favorite childhood memories come of front-porch conversations and church potlucks, where quiet conversations turned to songfests. Not the auto-tuned, polished and synthesized music you hear today. No, I'm talkin' about that old-time, raise-the-roof, glory-hallelujah gospel singing! Like this, minus any whiff of commercialism:
It's memories like this inspired me to rename this blog Joyful Noise. It's also why I'm taking voice lessons. Slowly but surely, I'm learning to make my own kind of music (thank you, Mama Cass); to sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops, ala Walt Whitman; to embrace the polished and imperfect, equally. Joyfully. And blessed be, all this noise-making is finding its way into WITNESS.
2. Writing (life itself) is all about singing from your heart, isn't it? It's about choosing fresh over stagnant, about translating the tried-and-true into something original. That's the premise of the movie, JOYFUL NOISE, which I saw last weekend with a friend. Even if you're not of a mind to watch the whole movie, I highly recommend this clip (Higher Ground, via YouTube). It's an uplifting medley of contemporary songs*, remastered with gospel stylin's. * "Higher" (Sly & The Family Stone), "Yeah" (Usher), "Forever" (Chris Brown), and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" (Stevie Wonder).
3. Thich Nhat Han once said, "If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today." I suspect this is why our ears perk and our hearts beat faster, whenever we hear the opening strains to certain songs. For me, it's gospel choruses and spirituals. They reach the very depths of my soul. Old becomes new, and personally meaningful. (Oh my gracious, when Queen Latifah sang Fix Me Jesus, I was wringing tears from my shirt sleeve!)
4 and 5. I want to tell you about SAY AMEN, SOMEBODY, which we also saw last weekend. But I need to declutter the house for a special weekend guest, so I think I'll save that story for next time. I'll leave you instead with these harbingers of spring, joyful noises in their own right.