Thursday, November 21, 2013

Joy’s repertoire is expanding

Since late 2008 when I began working on my bluetry series, beginning with I Sing The Blues For You, which to date, has been published 5 times, I have been incorporating music into my performance poetry. More recently I decided to expand my repertoire by adding song to my performance and also to give listeners a break from my rants and raves which are very sad and sometimes overwhelming.

My neighbor, Wren Harrington, has been kind enough to take me on as a student. Ms. Harrington is a very accomplished singer and teacher. The first lesson consisted of breath exercises along with scales. I then begged her to help me with my first song that I had been miming alone and with Dubblex. Wren proclaimed that I improved greatly just in my first lesson.

I am so excited! I can't wait for lesson two.

In the meantime, here I am playing sing song all by my lonesome, plodding along.

Here below is the first song, Turning Point, that I know from listening to Nina Simone. If you click on the link you can watch at youtube.

Turning Point

The second song below can also be watched at youtube.

I Wish You Love

Gloria Lynne made the song I Wish You Love famous. According to what I read, Ms. Lynne, who recently passed on a few weeks ago, recorded this song thinking it was no big deal. It wasn't even one of her favorite numbers to perform, but audiences fell for the way she performed this number and it hit the top ten list quickly and became a hit.

For a while, Ms. Lynne was homeless, as she never received any monies from the records of most of her recordings. When asked why she continued to sing when she couldn't make a living, she replied, that singing was what she lived for. I am certain all of you artists can relate to that. It's certainly welcome to earn income for our art, but whether we earn or not, we continue to be artists. It's just so sad that so many artists during her time period were taken advantage of in this manner, and not given proceeds for the albums they made that sold.

The day after Ms. Lynne passed, I happened to be at a music jam on the lower east side, at University Of The Streets, and a woman sang this song in memory of Gloria Lynne, and did it justice too. This inspired me to move myself to the next level to add to my performance. It was also a sad moment for me because Mohammad, the guy who originally founded the University Of The Streets, was someone I'd met back in 1977. During that time Mohammad had many type programs at the University for the community. I happened to be walking by, looked up and saw the name of the organization and walked in. After that, I met with him frequently. My discussions with Mohammad was a focusing impetus in my decision to enter Columbia University, where I was a student in the Higher Education Opportunity Program, made eligible through poverty status and being disadvantaged educationally. I was the only white one in the program the entire 5 years I spent undergrad there.

I went to the music jam at University of the Streets with Demetrius Daniel and his friend Mark. Mohammad's photo sat large on a wall. Only the lady singing knew what I was talking about when I said the University used to be around the corner from where it currently was. She informed me that Mohammad had died a few year ago. This made me sad because I had always intended to stop by and see and thank him for our talks and now I can only thank him in my heart.