This is my entry for TrippyContest3: Live to Tell, the Music Trips, hosted by @unnamed / @cannaweedness. The submission deadline has been extended until midnight GMT on Monday, which gives me enough time to put something together after all :).
As a kid growing up in India I was exposed to three different sources of music:
- background Hindi (mainly Bollywood, but also some Lollywood :) film music as well as some Indian classical music. This would be playing on radios everywhere and my familiarity grew with exposure.
- my parents music - a collection of 30-40 Vinyls including Jazz; Western Classical; Scottish folk and dance music; voices like Paul Robeson, The Seekers. There were also songs for kids, especially The Musical Storybook which both my sister and I loved
- Western pop music: mostly mainstream stuff which I was exposed to at boarding school in the 80s - Wham, Michael Jackson, Duran-Duran, Madonna blah blah.
I didn't start smoking pot until I was 19, when I had left India behind and moved to Europe. I had a walkman by this point and a number of tapes that I would listen to, a mixture of what was familiar and this included a lot of 80s 'hits' as well as some sub-continental music. Traveling added some Arabic, Eastern European, French, German and Spanish music to my collection.
At university I began to be exposed to a wider and more alternative range of music. But the process was still underway as I didn't yet know how to 'listen' to music - most of what I 'heard' contained lyrics and I didn't know that I could reach beyond the words themselves. I had still to learn how to feel music with my being, and this I was unable to do because I was numb, blocked off from feeling and alienated from myself. Nonetheless, I listened to music a lot, the lyrics of sadness, pain, alienation, rejection, revolution, despair spoke to me and, by expressing something of what I was not allowing myself to feel, it softened the sharp, jagged edges of life.
In the late 90s I got a tubful of magic mushrooms from the fields around St.Andrews where I was studying. I remember a night of tripping where I was lying on the floor in my room with Pink Floyd's album 'The Wall' playing on an auto-reverse tape-recorder. I had lost my dad when I was 15, and the album is filled with Roger Waters expressing his dad issues. I listened to the album 3 times in succession and I visited the image and memories I had of my own father for the first time since his death. I did not repeat this 'visit' to my father again until 15 years later, after turning 40. The power of music and psychedelics!
In my 30s I was married to a French speaker, which in turn widened my musical repertoire although we had largely different musical tastes (warning signs ignored lol). However, it wasn't until after I got divorced and fell head over heels in love that my heart opened up enough to allow music in to the feeling space.
This is the point - at the age of 40 - that I feel I turned a corner with music. It was a revolution and a revelation to experience music, to ride the waves of energy, to allow the music to facilitate tears, feeling and healing.
Nowadays, I listen to music a lot, much of it lyric-less. I will select 9 tracks to present here, they come from various periods in my life and this list is very contracted indeed. Some of this music may not be familiar to you, but I hope you may enjoy it nonetheless.
Thanks for reading
The Gladiators - 'Sweet So Till'
Starting off with some sweet reggae music :)
The Stranglers - 'Golden Brown'
Mystery, Magic, Romance, Reaching 'beyond' : there's always been something about this song for me. In my 20s this was my 'getting drunk quick' song, necking a half-bottle of cheap whiskey and cola.
Paul Robeson - Ol' Man River
An acceptance of pain and suffering in life. Robeson's music resonated with my father, and it does with me.
Ikarus - Deep Inside
Deep ambient sounds.
Ali Akbar Khan - 'The Emperor'
Classical Indian music.
Abida Parveen - Soufi Hou main (I Am A Mystic/Sufi)
I love this one.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - 'Nit Khair Mangan Sonia Mai Teri' (I ask for Your well-being, my beloved, I pray for nothing else).
The spiraling magic of the Qawwali, performed by the Maestro himself.
Ralph Vaughan Williams - 'The Lark Ascending'
My go-to track and a gift from my mother. The entire cycle of life is here, from spirit, through birth and the pomp of adulthood to decay and death, followed by rebirth as spirit once more. Utterly priceless!
Anuradha & Udit Narayan - 'Ae Mere Hamsafar' (Oh My Companion)
A smooth Bollywood tune with subtitles and some romantic action :)
Bonus Track - 'Kundalini Awakening'
2 hours of psychill that I think you will like.