Listen to My New Favorite Song

I get chills when I hear this song. It’s so powerful, it permeated my dreams after listening to it a few times yesterday. That’s a pretty major deal.

How do I explain it? There’s a moment as each chorus begins that raw heart is conveyed. I can capture her emotion. I am moved by her passion. This will go down as one of my favorite songs of all times.

I’m reminded of how I was affected the first few times I heard The Fray’s “Cable Car”.

Click the link below to listen. It’s worth it.

ADELE – “Set Fire to the Rain”

Changing What You Listen to Could Change Your Life

I came across this blog post today via Twitter. It so closely mirrored the heart of what I wrote yesterday that I had to give you a taste here. JBMavrich writes of how he spent his daily commute to and from work (read his entire post here):

I turned my sights to music, revisiting albums of my youth. I once again found no life in the secular music that I had so many times before sworn off. I was singing and declaring words of death, or at least nonsense, over and over. I found that this, much like my attempt at listening to the news, was bleeding me slowly.

I know this feeling. Life is passing you by and you’re not making as much progress or growing as much as you think you should. Your mind feels murky and “full”. You wish you had more faith, but you are overwhelmed and engulfed by whatever Media you are tuned into.

But something miraculous happens when we carve out emotional and mental space for the Lord. Our minds are quieted and calm. We have far fewer sparkly, shiny, barking advertising things floating around in our minds, looking for a place to settle. There is room for the Lord to speak, and room to listen.

In short, changing what I fed my spirit has shown dramatic and swift results. My prayer life has increased; my intimacy with the Lord has grown; my revelation and discernment have developed; my heart has tenderized. I have even increased in visions and dreams. I say this not in pride, but to encourage you that these results are only the beginning and possible for us all.

And that’s point of all of this, after all. Intimacy with the Father. Experiencing His love and acceptance. Finding the capacity to believe His Word.

*A special shout out to @jbmavrich for writing and tweeting this encouraging post.

Musical Tastes as a Sign of Increased Sensitivity

What is this? Is this what it means to get old? Everywhere I go, I cringe at the sound of conflict. The music I listen to has even changed. Where once it was Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam, and Korn, I now listen to now Dave Matthews, Sade, Coldplay, Dallas Green, and Andrea Bocelli. I used to think my dad was nuts because he insisted on having peaceful music only in his home. He couldn’t see why I called the angry, heavy stuff “music.” Well, it turns out that some of it wasn’t. But ssshhh… don’t tell him I said that.

I was watching the press conference after the Dallas Cowboys lost to the New York Giants on Monday night, and I couldn’t help cringing as the press asked Tony Romo their heartless questions. I felt bad for the guy, and I felt bad for Drew Bledsoe. Once upon a time, I wouldn’t have cared who asked or said what, but no more. When the press asked Romo boldly if he was taking Bledsoe’s place, I was a little angry. How do these people ask their questions without caring at all how Drew and his family feel?

Yeah, I know… It’s a sign that I’m getting soft. But, truthfully, I don’t care. I like being soft. I like caring about other people’s feelings. I prefer to handle other people’s fragile egos very gently. I don’t want to crush anyone. That hasn’t always been true, by the way.

So, in true Daniel-like fashion, I have developed a theory on this latest introspection. The theory is fairly simple and basic. It goes like this: the more wounds a person has that are getting bumped into, the more likely he or she is to have a hard heart for “protection.” The hard heart is what allowed me to like certain music back in the day. I was fully of energy, anger, resentment, and bitterness, and the music allowed me the chance to express it without punching someone.

My tastes have slowly changed over the years. I still haven’t arrived at the point of enjoying most classical music. I own quite a few classical and baroque cds, but most of them just don’t speak to me. The greatest change in musical taste for me has been the onset of world music fascination. I love world music. I have several of the Putumayo albums, and some random stuff from around the world including Egypt, India, France, West Africa, and New Zealand. I’ve found that beautiful music is what I’m after, and the lyrics being sung in a foreign language is an added bonus. That way I don’t have to focus on the words, and the voices become just another instrument.

It all expresses my changing tastes, both aesthetically and emotionally. I’m sure that some of you can identify. Music is now something primarily set in the background of my life, not at the forefront to express my emotions. It adds flavor, like a movie soundtrack, with an occasional concert thrown in the mix.

Paranda: Living Music Nearing Extinction

paranda musician

No music relaxes me like Paranda, except perhaps the Gipsy Kings. Something so organic. So natural. As natural as sitting on the banks of a muddy river in the jungle, watching the sun set over the palm trees. As natural as a little village with dirty children running around, kicking a can or playing some other game while the old men with dark faces like gnarled oak sit idly by, smoking and contemplating something infinitely beyond my comprehension.

According to Dan Rosenberg:

“Centuries ago, a slave ship crashed near the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. These African men and women, and some escaped slaves from nearby islands (and even some Pre-Columbian Africans living in the Caribbean) lived in St. Vincent for some generations. They mixed with native Carib and Arawak Indians. The Garifuna language is a mix of African tongues and Carib, and to this day, is one of the only languages spoken by Africans in the Americas that is not derived from a European language.

In March, 1797, after a war over land (to make room for more tobacco and sugar cane plantations), the British exiled the entire Garifuna population from St. Vincent to Honduras. Half of the 4,000 Garifuna died in the passage. Since then, the Garifuna spread along the Caribbean coast of Central America, and if you travel in the region, you can find small Garifuna villages in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and a few in Nicaragua.

Visiting Belizean Garifuna coastal villages like Dangriga and Hopkins feels like Africa. The scent of coconut milk, seafood, rice and beans is everywhere. In the evenings, the local bars are filled with Punta Rock, a mix of Garifuna traditional drumming rhythms and pop music that has swept the country to such an extent that Punta has become the national music of Belize. In the churches, you can hear drumming. The Garifuna religion, like the language, is a mix of African and Carib, combining the communication of ancestral spirits, living in harmony with nature, and the use of drums during religious ceremonies.

Paranda is both a Garifuna rhythm and a genre of music. The basic rhythm can be heard in Garifuna traditional drumming styles that date all the way back to St. Vincent and West Africa. The Paranda became a genre itself in the 19th century, shortly after the Garifuna arrived in Honduras. It was there where they first encountered Latin music, and incorporated the acoustic guitar, and a touch of Latin and Spanish rhythms into the music. The Paranda reached its prominence in the early part of the 20th century, and has changed little since. Its instrumentation is totally acoustic, ‘Garifuna Unplugged’: large wooden Garifuna drums called ‘Primero’ and ‘Segunda’, shakers, scrapers, turtle shell percussion, and acoustic guitar.”

Contributing Garifuna musicians include Junie Aranda, Paul Nabor, Jursino Cayetano, Aurelio Martinez, Andy Palacio, Lugua Centeno, Bugu X Jones, Simon Moreira, Gabaga Williams, and others. The producers of this album travelled through and recorded in Garifuna (African) villages in Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala.

Sadly, only a few artists like Paul Nabor still live to share this beautiful music. This album was recorded in part to encourage further generations to pick up the art of the Paranderos. When you are recommended beautiful music full of history and rich in culture, you would be a fool not to stop and investigate for yourself. Paranda is available in Virgin Megastores and online atAmazon. If you want more information about the Paranda project or other Garifuna artists and recordings, visit www.stonestreetrecords.com and www.cafeint.com.

This album was the first album in the “world music” genre that I ever purchased. It holds a special place in my collection because it was that first step into a new world of music. I had begun to love the listening stations at Virgin Megastore which always contained at least one world music station featuring different artists each month. No friend or commercial led me to them. I happened across them, listened, enjoyed, and brought them home to fill my speakers for weeks without interruption.

Some people don’t listen to music unless they can understand the words being sung. I enjoy both for different reasons. American and British songs are great for when I want to sing at the top of my lungs or set some types of moods. But world music is untouchable when it comes to background music that lifts the spirit. I can suddenly feel pure and carefree, as though standing on a bright, majestic African plain, eyes resting on the wind blown grass. World music has the power to transport the mind to places the body is not presently able to reach. Call it a vacation in a box. I can hear the ocean’s waves, the rushing rivers, the screeching eagles, the melodic call to prayer.

I guess you could say that world music was my first step toward defining the world traveler deep within. I love experiencing cultures. I love music from all nations. I have traveled to a few places, but my heart is set on the nations of the earth. There is so much beauty out there. I want to catch a glimpse of it everywhere I go.