In no particular order….
- Look At All The Love That We Found *A Tribute To Sublime, Various Artists
Jack Johnson starts the mix out with a sweet little tune of Badfish and Boss DJ…one the best pieces I have heard from Jack. Not a huge fan of his…but we love his interpretation of Bradley’s songs. G Love twists and beats a heavy version of Greatest Hits. Mia especially loves Micheal Franti and Spearhead sharing the mike on What I Got. And her mama likes it better than the original (I know, blasphemy) because it is much CLEANER (guess that’s the difference between a dope user and a ganja user). I am not one to censor music in my house, unless it is truly violent and degrading, which I rarely find anyway. Growing up at my house I was surrounded by much older siblings who were hard-core rockers in the 70’s and 80’s. Before I could walk I was learning how to put a needle on a record. I fell asleep as a babe to my big sisters blaring The Stones and The Who. Tom Petty. The Sex Pistols. Bruce Springsteen. Black Sabbath. The Grateful Dead. The Velvet Underground. My mother never censored music (or books… I read The Catcher In The Rye and The Hotel New Hampshire by the age of 10) . I am so thankful for that freedom. Although she often complained under her breath about the “noise” (her idea of music is the elevator station on the AM dial…she calls it ‘heaven music’) my mother never once told us not to listen. She just let it happen and expected us all to play instruments at some point in our lives. I owe my parents for loving music, encouraging music and allowing us to turn up the volume. I hope to be the same way. Right now I just play a variety of music for Mia and she tells me what she likes. So far she’s into ost everything…except over-produced rap and sadly she is not into the Beatles. I try and try and she always asks for something else when I play them. Regardless, Sublime has a pretty intense lyrical quality and Mia picks up the words to songs almost by the second listen…so Micheal Franti’s version of her favorite Sublime track is a welcome.
- Demon Days *Gorillaz
Mia’s good pal Seamus brought this CD over for her and she is constantly asking to listen to it. Just now, in the car on the way home from her dance class we listened to track 2 about 5 times. She especially likes it in the morning when she is rocking her tinkerbell underwear and cowgirl boots, her hair all matted and wild while I am making her walnut banana pancakes or mush with honey. She puts on a morning yoga/dance show for me and I tell ya, it’s better than a cup o strong Cuban coffee to start your day with, folks. Track 2—Last Living Souls—her fave, is pretty popular on the radio. She is a bit of a top 40 pop girl at heart, I think
- Now *Bhagavan Das
Mia is pretty familiar with Sanskrit singing. I am not sure when she realized it was a different language than our primary one. Being in utero while I owned a yoga studio, she heard kirtan and mantras everyday. The other day while listening to Now, Mia asked me what Bhagavan Das was singing. The song that was playing was Ode To Ganesha, which mixes Sanskrit and English. I told her he was singing about a little boy with an elephant head whose name was Ganesha and that when we sing to Ganesha we can move big rocks that block our path. She liked that. Now she asks to hear the “elephant song that rocks move.” This CD was produced by the one and only Mike D from the Beastie Boys. Kalimba meets keyboards. Tabla meets turntables. Bhagavan Das sings from the inner most cave of his center. You can hear the sound awaken in the root and rise all the way up to the crown.
We had General Smiley over the other night to record two dubplates in her papa’s studio. He recorded over the riddems “Diseases” and “Real Rock”. Both of which were rhythms from Smiley’s hits, Diseases (the rhythm, which was produced by the Junjo Lawes, got its name from Smiley’s song title) and Nice Up The Dance. Smiley moved to Phoenix last year from L.A. Somehow this great reggae musician ended up in our small studio and we got him to sing for us. He loved Mia and Mia loved him. She was mesmerized by his outrageously large blue tam on top of his head, stuffed with a lifetime of dreadlocks. She stood outside the studio door and listened to each and every take (and in between she came and sat with me and tried to watched a Poo DVD, but was infatuated, asking questions about Smiley’s song and hair and also making nice with Smiley’s lovely wife, Francine, who was at our house as well). When Smiley was done he came out and sang to her a bit, trying to get her to giggle and open up…she was acting rather shy, or should I say coy. He began saying in his deepest, smoothest patois, “take a smile, Rosie, take a smile.” She fell in love with him. Blowing him kisses. Dancing for him. And now she can’t get enough of her General Smiley Dubplate Specials. Someday soon they will be heard on dance floors everywhere.
- Collaborations *Sinead O’Connor
Sinead combines her flawless voice with modern dub producers like Asian Dub Foundations, Jah Wobble, Bomb the Bass and Ghostland. There is also a fabulous track with the Afro Celt Sound System, dub meets Celtic sounds…electric. Mia loves the track Vampire with Bomb the Bass. Is it okay that my child sings, “Vampire, you feed on the life of the pure heart, vampire, you suck the life of goodness, yes.” Sinead is so spiritually and politically driven and her songs mirror her heart and her blood. I can only hope that her amazing energy and golden-goddess-like voice transfuse into my daughters soul…and eventually she will understand the importance of creative expression for the transfer of angst.
- Yellowman Mega Mix by Great Stone Sound System
Mia’s papa just finished an oh-so-very-danceable mix of Yellowman. Anyone want a copy? Let me know. I think it’s only like 1/2 hour long, but 1/2 hour of dancing to Yellowman in your space will shake off the blues and the butt. As soon as we get in the car Mia speaks loud and clear: I want Yellowman, Mama. Yellowman, pleeeeease.”
- Champion DJ’s *From Studio One
In Jamaican music, a DJ is not the one playing the records. A DJ is the singer/or MC. Either they are singing with a band or they are deejaying with the selecta (the person working the turntables/soundsystem). This is a compilation of Studio One bouncy, toasty, roots/lovers dancehall songs. They remind me of a life I haven’t yet lived— in my straw house a few feet away from a trail that leads me to the salt-white sand and blue topaz waters. This music playing, the waves flapping, the sea rolling through the air while we cook up some fish, crack open some fruit, and eat and laugh and dancec in our bathing suits and sun hats. Mia likes Love Bump from Lone Ranger best on this record.
- Teach Me Italian *by “teach me…Tapes, inc”
For a glimmer of a moment there was talk about perhaps moving to Italy. Outside Milan. A dream coming true?. William was working for some Italian architects and a job possibility was there. If we pursued it we’d still be poor trying to survive in a very expensive metropolis, renting a small place, knowing only bits of job-site Italian. In the end we decided it would be best to pursue this venture at another time, a time where we’d have a bit more leverage, experience and cash. Actually, I didn’t really decide that. My husband did (i still have not forgiven him completely).I had already applied for duo citizenship as all my grandparents had been born in the Old Country. I had already starting getting passports for my kids. I was buying Italian CD’s to learn the language. This one in particular is a great kids CD. It has versions of old favorites and new world ditties. It combines Italian and English and it comes with a coloring book that is in Italian, relating objects and situations with words. We love it. We listen to it every couple days. I love it when Mia sings Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes en Italiano.
Our dub records are sacred. Dub has been said to be the once and future music revolution. Dub music is what we played for our children immediately following their births. Dub is like church in a song. When Mia wakes up from her naps all grumpy, shaky and confused, we lay down on the studio floor and play dub music, specifically this record these past days, and let the sounds vibrate our blood. She loves the track Peace And Love In The Dub and Exalted Dub. King Tubby’s “discovery”* of dub music was a key that unlocked some ancient healing sound. Cypriano, our partner in music said it best: “Dub is the only music I’ve experienced with frequencies that parallel the natural frequencies of the human body“. All music is sacred, but this music comes from the heavens, the seas and the winds. It is so precise (like the late great Tubby) yet echoed and layered, dripping and oozing.
- It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll) *AC/DC
It’s not an album, just a song, but Mia has gone buck wild for it. She heard it on School of Rock (the movie) like 5 months ago just started singing CONSTANTLY. She puts a pretend mike under her mouth and begins the sound and by the time she gets to the words rock n roll, she has her fist in the air, hair tossing headbanging. It’s true, I tell her: it is a long way to the top when you wanna rock and roll. But she’ll find out.
*King Tubby sort of discovered dub music by accident. He was playing around with the version (the b side of the record…the instrumental) side of a record when he took the backing track outs, faded vocals in, stripped it down to the bass…pulled some knobs on the effects…and waaa-laaa…the granddaughter of reggae music was born. It’s basically songs that already existed, but re-layered/re-constructed/re-engineered in ways where it becomes nonlinear and expansive. It’s mystical, magical, moody and mysterious.
Peace. Music makes the world.