Notes on the music scene

6078f8620a1b73f2c173eb81cfc9404fI drove my daughter and her friend to the Shoreline Ampitheatre last night to see the young female rage, Lana Del Rey. If you don’t listen too hard to the lyrics you can get easily swept into her beautiful, ethereal and trancy voice. Very romantic themes, but also too much talk of drugs, violence and drugs…well, that’s what the kids are into, right? Listen to her.

Do not ever go to the Shoreline: 10,000 people on the lawn with possibly two exits. 8000 cars in the parking lot with maybe one driveway. Never again. Waiting, waiting, waiting…for hours to hear Lana. Fortunately she was fantastic. She reminds me, in a way, of Joni Mitchell. They both share a romanticism and unique brand of feminism, which they both might deny. Neither of them sexualize their bodies on stage, at least Lana didn’t do that last night…which I appreciate. Still no good news about Joni’s illness and current hospitalization. There is a great tribute to her in Hayes Valley, near my office and across from the SF Jazz Center. She just turned 70.

Joni5Listen to Joni sing Carey.

On a different note, I saw Phillip Glass in March playing his piano etudes at Davies Symphony Hall, along with two other pianists playing his work. The concert was fantastic: the concert hall was full, and all eyes were on Phillip. Listen to Maki Namekawa, who was there, playing a section of an etude.  I first discovered Phillip Glass while watching the film  Koyaanisqatsi in 1982. The title is Hopi for ‘life out of balance’. If you haven’t seen it here is a clip. Phillip Glass is a modern American classical composer famous for minimal music. He is extremely prolific and has collaborated with many popular artists like Paul Simon, Suzanne Vega, and Mick Jagger. He also did the soundtrack for one of my favorite movies The Hours.

Glass-PhotoNow I am reading his memoir Words Without Music. Not only is he a world class composer, but he is an excellent writer. In it he describes in detail how he went about inventing his own new musical language. He also describes the arts scene in the 50s and 60s in New York and around the world, as well as his immersion in Indian culture, yoga and meditation, all which led up to writing his opera Satyagraha, based on the life of Mahatma Ghandi.

For most of 2015 I have been inspired by my daughter’s guitar playing and picked up the guitar again for the third or fourth time in life. I started out in high school with the Joan Baez and Bob Dylan songbooks and immersed myself in the folk song world…in my bedroom and occasionally with other kids in my town. I sang the anti-war folk song The Cruel War at my high school’s annual revue. (Little did I know there was a cross-dressing theme to the song…kind of like Mulan.) Now I’m working on alot of the same songs and have added some doo-wop, such as Silhouettes, Blue Moon, Angel Baby, You Belong to Me. And a little Hank Williams thrown in there too. Got my callouses!




4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bibi
    May 22, 2015 @ 05:19:05

    Your post post made me chuckle. I’ve never been a fan of large crowds. Always, I’m looking for the nearest exit, worried about fire, riots, the inevitable stampede, and I cannot fully enjoy the experience! But Philip Glass I can.



    • phernhunt
      May 22, 2015 @ 05:41:57

      Grace was checking out the exits and because of that we left early and avoided the inevitable body crushing. Only to wait in the parking lot for one hour.



  2. tradeswomn
    May 23, 2015 @ 15:52:51

    Phern thanks for keeping us oldies aware of youth culture. You are my lifeline



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: