Sunday, April 22, 2012

... A sudden, irreversible urge to lead a more spontaneous existence....

Bobby McFerrin's instrument is uniquely his own.  His voice, his timing, his improvisation... no one elses.

Last week's concert was unlike any other I've attended.  He called for volunteers from the audience who were serious about dancing to come on stage and perform.  I didn't think anyone would, but four different girls from different parts of Roy Thomson Hall took him up on his offer.  It was improvisational dance and vocals, a spontaneous combustion.

Music for me is like a spiritual journey down into the depths of my soul.  And I like to think we're all on a journey into our souls. What's down there?  That's why I do what I do.
- Bobby McFerrin

When he invited singers from the audience at least ten people rushed to the stage.  People were eager to sing everything from opera to classical arias to rap to jazz.  Bobby would ask people's names, and then depending on their ethnicity, he would become Roberto, Robbie, Bob.  There was lots of laughter as well as vocal improvisation as he played with each. As he said, musicians are one of the few professions that get to play for a living.  Such a generous spirit, he shared the stage and gave the volunteers a night they will remember forever.  

I was half-hoping for 'Don't Worry Be Happy', but didn't expect he'd perform the tune.  That hit was more than twenty years ago.  McFerrin is known as much today for his musical collaborations with Yo Yo Ma and Chick Corea, as well as for conducting symphony orchestras around the world.  Accomplished and diverse, he has won ten grammy awards.

Listening to Bobby McFerrin sing may be hazardous to your preconceptions. Side effects may include unparalleled joy, a new perspective on creativity, rejection of the predictable, and a sudden, irreversible urge to lead a more spontaneous existence.

True dexterity and a taste for exploration. A great sense of humour and joy. What a very uplifting musical evening!

When I came home I popped 'Don't Worry' into the CD player and it became an ear worm for me the rest of the week.

Here's another favourite:

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