One song for the rest of your life

Stephen Colbert periodically confronts his most celebby of guests with the fifteen carefully selected questions of “the Colbert Questionert”. See Bradley Cooper’s answers below:

So, I’ve watched pretty much all of the episodes in which these questions are presented to some superstar and there is this one question that bothers me every time I hear it:

You get one song to listen to for the rest of your life: what is it?

That’s such a confusing question. The answer most people give, reflects what their favorite song of all time is. But that’s not the question at all.

Also, I feel the question is carelessly phrased. Are we talking about a situation in which you would hear the song 24/7? Or is it simply the only song you can put on when you choose to press play on the jukebox of life?

Hearing your favorite song played back to you over and over again would turn into torture real quick, don’t you think? In this case, the song you should really want to choose shouldn’t be your favorite song at all, but rather one that can blend in with the background, like a trickling stream, without distracting nor annoying you.

If on the other hand you are granted silence throughout your life but allowed only one song to choose from on at your moment of choice, then maybe yes it should be the most complex and awesomely inspiring thing you know. Right?

So, in either of these scenarios, what would I choose?

Scenario 24/7

If I could only listen to one single song and it would be played back to me constantly I think I would choose something instrumental. No trumpets, no violins. Something like Agnes Obel. Or some chilled out acoustic guitar song. Preferably a long piece of music, so that it doesn’t get too repetitive.

If I were to choose something with vocals I would probably go for Sade, who I’ve been listening to very often throughout my life without getting bored. Any song from her ‘Lovers Rock’ album would do (and the whole album if I were granted that), but ‘ All about our Love’ has to be one of my all time favorites.

Jukebox scenario

If I were allowed to live my life in silence, with only one song in my playlist, I would choose something quite different.

Coldplay’s ‘Adventure of a Lifetime’ is a song that always manages to pick me up when I need it. Many of Queen’s songs have a similar effect. Other candidates would be songs by Jamiroquai, Sia or Nothing but Thieves.

However a song that never goes by without giving me goosebumps is Stevie Wonder’s song ‘I’m New’:

I don’t listen to it often. But when I do, it gives me all sorts of feels. It deserves more credit and yes, I wouldn’t mind it being the only song I would ever hear again (whenever I press play).

The second song that fits in the same category for me, is Mercedes Sosa’s version of Gracias a la Vida. I think I have shared it on my blog more than once, but here it goes again.

It’s such a tender reminder of how beautiful life is, which in a way is also what Stevie’s song boils down to.

So, looking back, I guess I’m actually not following my own advice at all. I thought I would choose something more upbeat and energizing.

In the end I guess I’m just glad I don’t have to make such a choice and am allowed to cruise through all my guilty and proud pleasures whenever suits me.

Three historic dinners

Who in history would you dine with?

This question was asked (and answered) in last week’s post on “Why evolution is true”-blog.

I started coming up with a couple of names, but got lost in semantics at some point. I mean, I think most people would answer that question by naming interesting characters they would like to have a chat with… right?

But the question is “who would you dine with?”

So then I ask myself, are there people with whom the specific setting of a dinner table would make the meeting more worthwhile? I suppose that would be the case with someone from the culinary world. But then again, I don’t care much for cooking myself, so I wouldn’t know what to ask a top chef or dietary guru anyway…

So then I turned it around: Are there people I would love to have a chat with, but would prefer not to do so over dinner?

And I guess there the answer would be yes.

gandhi eating

Take Mahatma Ghandi for example. I can imagine meeting him would be amazingly inspiring. Life changing maybe. But the guy hardly ate at all, and if the food is tasty and plentiful (like Indian food can be) I tend to eat like an absolute pig. The food would just make me look like a shitty individual and make me feel so self-conscious that any chances I had of saying something smart would’ve evaporated in seconds. Just like the food placed in front of me.

Or what about Stephen Hawking; super duper interesting guy, who I’d be super honored to meet. But over dinner?? I think I might have to pass on that one… Or actually no, I think he would have to.

And then there’s Donald Trump and his off putting dietary preferences. But I’m actually not really worried about this one, because I would never really consider putting his name on my dinner invitation…

I asked my boyfriend just now who he would invite and he actually didn’t have to think very long. His answers: Aleister Crowley, Copernicus and Michelangelo. He didn’t mind not speaking their exact languages and was sure he would find a way… He’s so much braver in these things than I am. 😛

So, I’ve probably given this way too much thought, but here goes:

 

Mary Magdalene

I was named after the very first woman, according to most mainstream Christian sources, Eve. A lot of women came and went after that but none has been so controversial as Mary Magdalene. I am not a religious person myself, but I do believe that many of the events described in the bible and other holy scriptures are based on true events and historical figures.

mystery-images-0-ivanov-38_1008_post_media_1VKB-998x734

I can imagine a visionary man named Jesus of Nazareth walked this earth at some point and I can imagine he did not stay single. I can imagine Mary Magdalene was his spouse and I can imagine that she was demonized after Jesus’ death for all sorts of reasons, earning her the title of “prostitute” in many tellings.

I would love to hear her side of the story. Break some bread, drink some wine, you know how it goes…

 

Sylvana Simons

Another demonized woman. I have written about Ms Simons and her tragic position in Dutch society in previous blogs. Cruel jokes and racist remarks are still part of her daily life, proving her point that Dutch society has something rotten at its core but not really getting her anywhere close to fixing it.

sylvanabuitenhof

She still fascinates me. Or rather, the fact that she has managed to get nearly every single Dutchman and -woman to dislike her, fascinates me. I have done my research and am no longer completely in the dark as to why and how this situation has come to be, but I would still love to look her in the eye and hear her out. Over dinner, sure.

 

Mercedes Sosa

La negra, which translates to “the black woman”. To most of us, she would not be considered to be black at all. It is actually a very common nickname given to those  friends and family members in not-so-black circles that have slightly darker or thicker hair or a slightly darker skin.

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I have written about Mercedes Sosa in several of my music related blog posts. Her voice just never ceases to amaze me. The chills she manages to send down my spine, every. single. time. can not be ignored. I love her.

Her death was a slow process that happened in plain sight. She suffered from a parasitic disease called Chagas; every backpacker’s worst nightmare. As her body lost its strength so did her voice, all though she sang and recorded until the very end.

I don’t know what I would say to her if I had the chance to raise her from the dead and enjoy a meal with her. I would just want her to feel my appreciation for her. I don’t really know that much about her nor feel I need to. She is not even human to me. She is just that voice.

Yeah I know, sitting at a table with her would be super awkward…

So there you have it. Three dinners. Three women. Two dead. I’m ready!

The soundtracks of my life.

I’m feeling guilty about neglecting my blogbaby, so it is definitely time feed it with something new. And when lacking inspiration, making a “top ten” is the way to go.

While listening to one of my playlists on grooveshark today, I realized there are quite a few songs that have been on my playlists for years now. So I decided to present you all with these soundtracks of my life.

Intertwined with my very first memories are two songs, or as a matter of fact, the LPs they are a part of. The first one is Paul Simon’s Graceland. Homeless is one of my favorite songs of all time, as is “Under African Skies”, thanks to the stunning performance of Ladysmith Black Mambazo in both songs. The one I am going to share here is another of my favorites, because there is no denying that I know what I know!

1.

The second album I hold very fond childhood memories of, is Tracy Chapman’s selftitled album, that came out in 1988. This woman’s voice is amazing and I wish she would have made more albums like that first one, all though I can imagine it was kind of difficult to top that masterpiece… It’s hard for me to choose just one song from that album but it will definitely not be “Talkin about a revolution” or “Fast car”. Amazing as those songs are, they are just too well known and I think there are other songs on that specific album that are at least as good, that deserve attention. This one for example:

2.

All though I am sure my parents played this music during my early childhood as well, my love for the next artist  grew exponentially a little later on in my life. Known as la negra, Mercedes Sosa is the one artist that manages to give me goosebumps every time I hear her voice. Her song “Gracias a la vida” is without a doubt the greatest rendition of that song, which in itself is one of the most beautiful songs ever. The songs I am sharing here though, is one that moved me to tears after I left South America as a kid, as it recalls the beauties of this continent and how their peoples should unite as one. I still miss her enormous presence in Latin American music. RIP Negra:

3.

As I mentioned above, I grew up in South America and the following band is therefore unavoidable. Maná is the U2 of Latin America and I was a giant fan of theirs throughout most of my life. I still kind of am, all though their songs have become a little too preachy and mushy in recent years. The old stuff still pops up in my playlists every now and then and even some of the newer stuff is pretty good, when I’m in the right mood. Their repertoire is enormous, and all though the lyrics to this particular song are kind of depressing, it is definitely one of my favorites:

4.

If I listen to the mixes I listened to during my high school years, there are obviously some things I am not particularly proud of (yes, the Spice Girls were on there and all though it’s kind of scary to admit it, I think Wannabe might still be one of my guilty pleasures. 😛 ). Some of the bands from that era kind of stuck with me though, and one of these bands is K’s Choice. A Belgian band, with Sarah Bettens’ amazing husky voice as the main attraction. All though the song I am posting is not particularly representative for their style (it’s usually a bit more rocky), it is just so hauntingly pretty I have to share it. If I run out if ideas before I reach ten, I might post another one…

5. 

The song I am putting on number six conquered much of Europe back in 1996 and anyone who doesn’t understand French (like me), and has never looked up a translation of the lyrics, should do so. Do it  now. Actually, I’m going to check if I can find a youtube version with translated lyrics so you guys can appreciate its full glory… I love this song. It is amazing and Cheb Khaled is a hero for having sung it, when he did.

6.

In comparison to the previous songs, the next one is relatively recent (2009). It is a song I had on repeat for a while when I first discovered it. All though I’m not completely sure what it’s actually about, I always imagine it is some Tower of Babel reference. It is a beautifully tender song for quiet moments or to wind down with after a long day at work.

7.

I wish I could make this transition less rough… but I can’t think of another song to squeeze in between these two right now and I guess it does kind of reflect my musical palette. So… Peter Fox! German ginger rapper with amazing talent for good beats and catchy tunes. His lyrics are pretty cool as well, but I won’t bug you guys with that right now. In the following song he is on his own, but he is also part of a band called Seeed (yes, three e’s), with a more reggaelike flavor to it, that is worth checking out!

8.

OK, only two more to go… Must. choose. wisely…

I guess my list wouldn’t reflect me properly without a song by the Cat Empire. The lead singer is such a walking, dancing, jumping, smiling hormonebomb that just listening to them just makes me blush sometimes… He isn’t handsome in a conventional way… but so friggin sexy… But we were talking about music, I believe. They do that too! And quite well, as a matter of fact. All of their music is really optimistic and happy, but with pretty profound lyrics here and there. Love them. Love them! Ch-ch-check it out:

9.

Hmmm, this last one is tough…

I looked at my recent youtube searches to see what my last song should be and I realized I have been listening to a lot of youtube cover artists. Kina Grannis, Boyce Avenue, Hannah Trigwell and of course, the one and only: Walk of the Earth (WOTE). All of these artists also have posted their originals online but their covers are what they are best known for.  WOTE in particular, excels in making other artists’ songs their own and in many cases making them so much cooler. We all know their “Somebody that I used to know”-rendition on one guitar, but they are just so awesome, I have to post something of theirs here. They have a lot to choose from, but I think I’m going with this one:

10.

And that wraps it up! I got some inspiration along the way for future blogs, and I’ll try to be better at blogging more regularly.

I am sure I am going to wake up tonight and realize I should have put in this or that other song, but that will just have to wait for a #2 of this post then. I’m off to bed!