Admit it: if you don’t recall sitting by the stereo (decades ago) with a Simon & Garfunkel album, playing and singing to tracks, then you’re not in my target market. But, if you feel sentimental just from their mention, hang in a few minutes and let’s build mojo through music.
Are you starting a journey home?
It’s two days before Thanksgiving, and by now you know if you’re among those who are homeward bound for the holidays.
More than any other, Thanksgiving evokes the experience of re-visiting your natal home, the place central to your psychic nest. Lucky you if you can catch a train or a ride to actually go home. But if you’re too far from home, you may have to make due with an invite to someone else’s home.
I’m ruminating on “home,” propelled by emotions stirred during two concerts I enjoyed this past weekend.
The band Aztec Two-Step made me think about what roots are, how powerful it is to conjure memories of family and friends, and especially, who among us can and can’t go home this Thanksgiving. I invite you to view the video of Simon & Garfunkel’s 1967 rendition of “Homeward Bound” and sing out loud, just as they invited their audience to join together in a “group sing.”
Songs of social action demand we do something
To clarify, their performance wasn’t about old favorites. Their folk-rock music is really about intelligent social protest, power-to-truth lyrics overlaid on dazzling acoustic lead guitar and inspiring harmonies.
These times present a lot of parallels with the protests of yore. How many of us will include the disenfranchised at our table, the Occupy Wall Street-types, persons who to this day don’t back down in protesting injustice?
The power of social protest through music is on my mind, this holiday. The power of human outreach — of including others — is my call to action.
A musician on a precarious path: pursuing an exciting and challenging career
KJ Denhert presented luscious urban jazz-like vocals in ways that conjured up a dark and smoky lounge somewhere in the belly of Greenwich Village. It was hard to believe that I was in Ossining!
Sultry and sincere, KJ has a back story that speaks to Mojo40-ers. She left a career at Dannon Yogurt — in Finance Administration — to become a full-time musician in 2003. As she relates, “I didn’t want to wind up being laid off at my age, as I felt sure that I would be. So I planned my escape with as many safety nets as possible, believing that I was taking as much control as I could.”
Now listen to her: sharing her passion, spirit, and verve with us in a way that is intimate, inspiring, and transformative!
Between songs, this courageous woman introduced her band, a diverse mix of individuals in every sense of the word.
Although KJ considers herself an American, her parents uprooted themselves from Grenada in the 1950’s to come to the US. KJ’s saxophonist Aaron Heick and the string bassist Jennifer Vincent are from Washington and Oregon, respectively. The pianist ATN Stadwijck journeyed from the Netherlands. The bass guitarist Mamadou Ba hails from Senegal.
Where does he get the spirit to make a new home in our land, a land to which he must transplant all his energy, since going back is not an option?
Look around you for people who can’t go home, and physically bring them into your circle
Think of the journey of immigrants. Think of those who live too far away, or are too broke or under too much pressure to travel long distances, and can’t go home. In the Thanksgiving spirit, I implore you to reach out to someone who is not homeward bound this week. Invite them to your table. Open your heart. It will bring you more mojo than any other self-centric effort.
Include new friends in your gathering, tighten the circle of caring, and extend gratitude to everyone present for what they do to make your life more meaningful.
- If you haven’t already watched the YouTube video of Simon & Garfunkel’s Monterey concert, do it [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6K8wfyzAJQ]. It’s a 2-minute 53-second clip that will bring your thoughts back to kith and kin.
- Think of someone you can add to the mix, and reach out to them now to invite them to your Thanksgiving dinner.
- Put a few oldies but goodies into your playlist this Thanksgiving and sing ‘em together. It is amazing how much joie de vivre we Old Duffers miss due to fears of how we sound in public. Drop those inhibitions. Sing aloud and celebrate.
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