Moving Forward by Looking Back (The Sankofa Effect)

Art is life. Very necessary to existence of an artiste. Some of us enter this world through the maternal canal knowing the purpose for the Earthly visit. Others take a long while, maybe never realizing the meaning of their life. Fortunately, we possess a soul connected to willpower that provides the push to see things manifest.

There has been a strong correlation between social ills and great artistry. These external difficulties have made for internal genius output.  I wrote a song called “Journey Through the Present” that speaks on the aforementioned subject-matter.  Life is serious.  Life is fun.  Life is poignant.  Life is breezy.

There are two vintage video clips that have changed my life.  First is a live performance of Billie Holiday singing “Strange Fruit”. Her eyes, facial contortions, emotional pauses and soulful delivery equates to true artistic expression.  Second is a live performance of John Coltrane and his band performing “Naima”.  The pianist (McCoy Tyner) and the saxophonist (John Coltrane) performed in an otherworldly space in time.

In addition to this stellar performances, it is always great to hear/read a backstory to an artiste who is considered the master of their craft.  For example, I have always loved skillful and creative vocals.  This is how I KNOW that Jazz Vocalist will be studied in many schools posthumously.  The world is not ready for the gift she possesses.  Many considered the Late Luciano Pavarotti as the best Tenor that ever performed.  Operatic singing is quite difficult and highly technical.  The minimal training I’ve had in Classical Voice helped me to realize the importance of knowing what you are doing without hurting yourself (your vocal chords).  I thought Luciano was very good, until I heard Tenors from the 1920’s-1970’s.  Those guys sang from the bottom of their diaphragms WITHOUT fancy technology.  The Tenor that inspired Pavarotti was the Late Great Jussi Bjorling.  This guy’s phrasing, breath control, voice, range and focus was/is untouchable.  He is the first and only Tenor that I have heard perform “Nessun Dorma” without a slide into the highest belted note of the aria (“….vincero, vincero”).  Take a listen!

I strongly believe there is a fight to prove who you are, no matter the path or expression thereof.  The legendary artistes mentioned in this blog are great in their own rights.  They have persevered many obstacles to reach the point of greatness.  Let us do the same!!!

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