Category Archives: Music

Day 119 – My Mexican Mom’s Cooking Skills

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I am extremely grateful for My Mexican Mom’s Cooking Skills.  She is the reason why for the last two months half of my blog posts have been about food.  The dishes she creates make everything else fade away.  It is ridiculous.  She has the incredible talent to turn the most simple dishes into a culinary festival and let me tell you this: My taste buds have been partying a lot lately.  It is amazing and so beautiful to watch her cook with all the passion she has.  How she caresses every tomato, worships every pepper and gives a single onion so much more meaning, attention and respect.  It’s admirable and inspiring.  I love helping her out with preparing food and during one of our encounters in the kitchen we naturally combined our talents, which led to our concept of the ‘Cucina Cantante’ (Translation: “The Singing Kitchen”).  I don’t want to go into too much detail, but let me tell you that cooking can get even more fun if you do it while singing.  Thank you Mamá for all the wonderful moments together, that I truly cherish.  Spending time with you, talking, cooking, listening to music, watching a movie, getting groceries,…  it is something I deeply enjoy and something I am eternally grateful for.  Te amo.

Day 115 – The xx

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I am grateful The xx.  They are an English Indie Pop band consisting of a group of talented young men.  So far they only released their debut album entitled “xx” and I think it such an amazing record.  The guys also produced the album themselves and it is very impressive to hear the sound they created.  Just like ‘Passive Me . Aggressive You’ by The Naked And Famous, it is one of those albums that completely blows me away.  To me it is one of those concept albums in the sense that the entire album just fits perfectly together.  There is no other possible way this album could’ve been constructed but the way it is now.  I find myself playing it regularly, not realizing I put it on once again.  The music just feels good, it feels right.  It’s exactly that kind of music I enjoy most.  I feel like it helps me find my balance and I feel how it naturally connects with my inner me.  So thank you very much to The xx for creating such a wonderful work of art.  I am so grateful to be able to play “xx” over and over and over again.

Day 105 – Aldo’s Guitar

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I am grateful for my brother Aldo’s Guitar.  While he is studying in Vancouver, Canada, I not only get to occupy his room, but I also get to play his guitar.  I have been teaching myself and I truly enjoy the process.  I love to learn new things.  The fact that I have been playing the piano for years helps me to understand music, but still it is such a different process.  For instance, piano doesn’t hurt my fingers like Guitar does.  It is finally getting better, but the first few days it felt like I was never gonna be able to feel anything anymore with my fingertips.  Anyway, I really enjoy the process of learning how to play a new instrument and I think Guitar is a good option for me.  Just like piano it gives me the opportunity to sing and accompany myself while doing so.  It is also a great option to just play with chords, which helps a lot not only to learn songs, but also to write new ones.  I feel like I am growing as a musician in many ways and I am excited to see what inspiration the Guitar will bring to my music.  I obviously wish Aldo was here with us, but in the meantime I am making sure to take good care of his Guitar.  Thanks, brother.  And thank you Guitar.  You bring me a lot of joy in my daily life and it feels great to see the evolution I am making.  Thank you.

Day 96 – Sade

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I am grateful for Sade.  After writing about Ozark Henry, my favorite male artist, it is only fair to honor my favorite female artist as well.  Sade Adu, the lead singer of the group Sade and obviously the person the band is named after, has everything I look for in an artist.  She has always been part of the entire production process of her music, contributing to the writing, arranging and producing of their – in the meantime already – six studio albums.  What makes their music so strong is not only the sweet jazzy-R&B-soul-soft rock style of the musical part, but also the amazing lyrics.  Sade actually writes almost all of the band’s lyrics herself.  Some of them are poems on music.  And as if all of that wouldn’t be enough already, the icing on the cake is her heavenly voice bringing this wonderful work of art to life.  Her voice is just sublime, with a richness in color and timbre that often grabs me by the throat and takes me on an emotional roller coaster only to keep me dangling somewhere between extreme bliss and the utmost anguish.  Saying that I sometimes become emotional while listening to some of their music would clearly be an understatement.  Thank you, Sade, for al you’ve given of yourself to this world.  You really are a Soldier of Love and your music is the sweetest of weapons.  When I listen to Sade’s music, I know that Leo Tolstoy stated it perfectly, when he observed that:

Music is the shorthand of emotion.

Day 83 – Florence + The Machine

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I am grateful for Florence + The Machine.  I think they make gorgeous music.  I’m amazed by how they create a carpet of sounds with so many layers I could drown in it.  Because that is exactly what I want to do when I listen to their music: turn off the lights, lay down on my bed, turn up the music so loud that all there is is their breathtaking music and drown in it.  Feel the music all around as if there’s nothing else.  The instruments they use, the wonderful melodies, the smart lyrics sung by her angelic voice.  It’s such a perfect combination.  Here again is the proof that music is art and that it can be original.  Thank you so much, Florence and thank you, Machine, for creating something so enjoyable or sometimes just so overwhelmingly beautiful.  It rips me apart while filling me with wholeness and joy.  Wonder.  Bliss.  Gratitude.

Day 76 – The Naked And Famous

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I am grateful for The Naked And Famous.  They are one of those groups that absolutely amazed me from the very first moment I discovered them.  And their album ‘Passive Me . Aggressive You’ is one of those unique ones, since it is awesome in its entirety.  I have this strange hobby of ratings songs on iTunes in all seriousness.  Like when I get a new album, I actually sit down and listen to it and rate every song after it’s over.  It’s not easy to get a four star rating as a song and it’s basically unheard of to get five stars.  It really has to be one of those songs that just takes me breath away, makes me forget where I am, who I am and what life is all about or on the total opposite makes me actually feel alive and realize what I am here for.  Anyway, I guess I just wanted to paint the picture of how selective I am with things like music.  So albums may have a few good songs – and with that high iTunes ratings – but for the most part they consist of just regular songs.  Well in this case, with this album ‘Passive Me.  Aggressive You’, The Naked And Famous totally blew me away.  Every song is just perfect, it sounds exactly the way it is supposed to sound and even better.  It’s incredible.  I had to try to be critical and hard in my rating, because I just love the entire album.  And it just looks bad in my head to give an entire album high ratings.  But with this album, I had no other choice.  It’s just that good.  And I am so grateful for the album and obviously I am so grateful for The Naked And Famous, for delighting the world with such magical music.  Thank you, guys.  So much.  I can’t wait for a second album…

Day 71 – Leonard Bernstein

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I am grateful for the genius called Leonard Bernstein.  He is an incredibly talented composer that got mostly known for his wonderful work West Side Story.  I however am so thankful for his unbelievably beautiful Candide, with a musical style as versatile as the composer himself.  This picture perfectly demonstrates how passionate he is about his music and about conducting it.  Watching him as a conductor is sometimes even more entertaining than watching what is happening on stage.  With regards to Candide, I truly enjoyed reading the original work by François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire and often laughed at the wittiness of the author.  Still, there is nothing like the brilliant adaptation by Bernstein.  Candide is an absolute joy to the ear and time and time again I am amazed by the stupendous work Bernstein accomplished.  The music is so rich, sometimes light, funny and amusing, whereas in other parts it is deafeningly moving.  I am so grateful I got to perform in a production of Candide myself and I will always keep warm and cheerful memories of the many rehearsals and performances.  What bliss to be part of such art.  Life is happiness indeed!