Letter to Patti Smith

Dear Patti Smith,

Let me just start off by saying that your work as both a musician and poet is inspiring. As a writer myself, I have found that art is the single most important aspect of self-expression for writing any piece there is out there. I, too, started out as a poet and drew often. While I may not have had a prolific and beautiful muse like Robert, I found other inspiration in the little things like music and photography. Growing up, I was fascinated with the art world, as well as the written one. I grew up listening to the sound of your voice echoing through the alabaster pink walls of our tiny house. At such a young age, you ignited a fuel that powered not only a need for lyricism and art, but sound as well. Reading your memoir, Just Kids, made me realize that art exists everywhere- and not just in the physical sense, but in a spiritual sense as well. Your memoir gave me a kind of hope that is rarely given in such an elaborate number of pages.

For any writer out there, inspiration is usually hard to come by. Often, I sit for hours on rickety chairs, tapping my fingers against wooden desks hoping that each staccato knock would inspire such beautiful writing such as yours. I’m often dumbfounded and frustrated thinking about the infinite possibilities of how to even begin a paper. After reading your memoir, I found that inspiration exists everywhere from the birds in the trees to the laughter that surrounds you. One of my favorite passages in your book was how you begun your memoir. It began in death and ended in death. It was so poetic. Robert obviously meant a lot to you and it shows. He made you think about life in a way that death never could. In a way, it made me think about life and a lot about what even determines our lives. “Why can’t I write about something that would awake the dead,” that is a pursuit that burns me most deeply as well. Writing is not just some form of emotion that you put onto paper; rather it’s the tiny slices of our own soul that we spoon-feed onto paper in the form of rich, thick, black ink.

Writing is something that needs careful preparation, as well as thought. Much like a painting, there are certain tools that go into making such beautiful art. And while it may seem like paper and pen are the only tools of writing, there also has to be some sort of undying passion that exists within the artist. Reading this wonderful memoir made me realize that even the most precious of art, sacred of writings, genius of artists have extreme flaws no matter the effort. In this world of complete and utter turmoil, it is the artist in all of us that still grasps onto the hands of God, praying someday that we too experience a life painted in elegant colors of the canvases we leave behind. Your words meant the most; I am forever indebted to you.

Sincerely,

Shaquana Desiderio

Daily Dosage of Music Festivals

I’m not a huge fan of festivals. Something about being in close proximity with thousands of sweaty, red-eyed, flailing arms of off-key audience members really turns me off about the whole idea. But if I were to attend a festival- it would probably be Lollapalooza.

Not only is this a huge festival with thousands of screaming fans, but it’s also jam-packed with a lot of upcoming/ old artists. This is also the type of festival that features a mixture of other genres as well. It’s not limited to anything. You have your Indie Rock, Blues, Hip-Hop, Electronic, Punk, etc. The list is endless.

Some artists that I would forward to hearing would include: FKA Twigs, Cold War Kids, Kid Cudi, and last but not least, BANKS. I find myself listening to different sets of genres, but if you’re not into any genres that are listed above, I suggest looking through the line-up and figuring out where you fit best. Remember, you’re not limited!

fka twigs

kid cudi

banks

 

For this year’s lineup, there were a total of 134 artists performing at this year’s venue placement: Grant Park, Chicago. Sounds exciting, right? I mean not only do you enjoy an amazing array of music, but you get to travel too! Imagine this: You’re driving cross-country with a couple of your closest friends, or maybe even flying through the endless sky listening to your favorite playlist while you’re dreaming the night away. You arrive at the festival feeling hyped. The weather is perfect as you howl into the night with other people whom enjoy your taste in music as well. In all honesty, it sounds like a great deal to me.

As an avid listener of music, I too despise the preferred musical outlets of today’s generation. Pandora and Spotify does nothing for me, except allow me to listen to artists I like every now and then. Call me old-fashioned, but I enjoy music you have to search for on your own, or through friends. A lot of my musical taste has either been something I came across, or I heard blaring from a friend’s stereo. My suggestion: experiment with sound, as well as scenery.

Durango and the Music Scene

Durango, CO may be a small town, but the music scene almost seems to make up for it. When I first moved here, I didn’t know what to expect. The atmosphere was new, the air was chilling, and the music from the different types of genres was something new. I never thought I would grow to love the music, here, in this small town. Everyone in this town seems to have their own specific tastes in music, which makes this town even more exciting. And while I have never personally attended a show in Durango, I have met people who have influenced my tastes and made me think about who I would contribute to the music scene.

A band I would love to bring here would have to be, Warpaint. Warpaint’s music just seems like it would fit right into Durango’s music scene perfectly. This all-girl quartet is a combination of melodic, rustic and feisty tunes. Their sound almost reminds me of Widowspeak, or maybe a great comparison to The Xx. Their songs, Undertow, Beetles, and Elephant would be perfect to witness live. They may be a small band, but their sound is gigantic. A band like this would be perfect to hear downtown in a small pub, or maybe even in a live festival. That’s what’s great about them- you can hear them anywhere!

There’s nothing I would change about Durango’s music scene. This small town knows every form of talent there is. It’s also a town that spreads the music from small festivals to small pubs. If anything, I would continue to add music rather than change, or take away. This town has taught me so much. I’m glad I am a part of something as unique and as creative as this wonderful town.

Kill Bill Vol. 1: Bone Chilling Sounds

kill bill

I remember watching Kill Bill for the first time at my friend’s house. I was a virgin to blood, guts and brains on the silver screen. And for so long, I shielded my eyes from R-Rated movies. Seeing actual blood for the first time was gruesome. Kill Bill was my first introduction to gore. Since then, I’ve been hooked. I had entered an unfamiliar world emblazoned and drenched in fake-corn syrup and food coloring. Kill Bill was my awakening into the outside world.

I was fifteen. The white, bright words spelled KILL BILL across our radio-sized television screen. The opening is almost as carnal as the bright, emblazoned lettering. I’m sitting cross-legged on my friend’s plush orange 70’s carpet and she’s laying across her sofa looking divine like Rita Hayworth in an old Hollywood classic. We have no clue what is headed our way.

The blues bass line is almost too hauntingly familiar, like the beginning of some Western classic starring Lee Van Cleef. The cords almost seem to tug on the tendrils of your heartstrings. Immediately, I’m drawn to this seductive, bluesy voice. “Bang, bang, my baby shot me down,” almost seems to foreshadow the entire movie. Hearing her voice alone is haunting enough, like lingering ghosts in an abandoned old hospital wing. The experience is chilling and dangerously inviting.

The familiar whistling of the sweet violins and rustic bass line rattles the frail bones in my oversized hoodie. I’m no longersitting cross-legged, but with my hands perched up against my chin gazing intently onto the screen and listening attentively to each and every chilling sound. The songs all seemed to have some sort of guitar riff, or jungle-like congas. Each sound reminds me of a lurking Black Panther ready to pounce on any sign of movement. And like the prey, I’m drawn into their trap like a fly in a spider’s web.

This choice in music is something I’ve never heard of in any movie. A lot of my musical sense of direction is reflected in each and every song. I enjoy blues, with a tinge of classical music. This soundtrack really opened my eyes to the infinite possibilities of how a movie generates itself. It also broadened my taste in film and led me down a dangerous path towards discovering my own sense of sound and self.

What Music Genre Are You?

Have you ever wondered what music genre are you? Well, here’s the test for you! This questionnaire is designed to specify what genre you are by asking a series of multiple answer questions. Taryn was kind enough to answer the questions. And based on her answers, we will determine what music genre she is.

  1. On a given day, who would you prefer to listen to while relaxing?
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Lady Gaga
  • Bach
  • Kanye West *
  1. Best Album?
  • Ultraviolence by Lana Del Rey
  • Art Pop- Lady Gaga
  • Graduation- Kanye West
  • Robbers and Cowards- Cold War Kids *
  • Speak Now- Taylor Swift
  • The Best of Beethoven- Ludwig Van Beethoven
  1. How would you describe your personality?
  • Outspoken
  • Hyper
  • Calm
  • Upbeat *
  1. If you could play an instrument, what would you play?
  • Electric Guitar *
  • Violin
  • Tambourine
  • No Intrument
  1. If you could be an artist/ musician, who would you be?
  • Beyoncé *
  • Madonna
  • Jack White
  • Kanye West
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  1. If you were given one record to take to a deserted island, who would it be?
  • Are You Experienced?- The Jimmy Hendrix Experience
  • Magna Carta…Holy Grail- Jay-Z *
  • Like A Virgin- Madonna
  • Elephant- The White Stripes
  • Carnival Ride- Carrie Underwood
  1. Would you consider yourself introverted or extroverted?
  • Introverted *
  • Extroverted
  1. If you could assassinate an artist/musician right now, who would it be?
  • Ariana Grande
  • George Strait
  • Ozzy Osbourne
  • Kanye West *
  • Bach
  1. If you could be transported to any music era in the past 100 decades, what musical era would you choose?
  • 90’s
  • 80’s
  • 70’s *
  • 60’s
  1. If you could attend any music festival, what and where would you choose to go to?
  • iHeartRadio- Las Vegas *
  • Woodstock Festival- New York
  • 2015 CMA Music Festival-Nashville
  • Classical Music Festival- Austria
  • Rockstar Mayhem Rock Festival
  1. In your opinion, who would you consider a musical God?
  • Beyoncé
  • Paul McCartney
  • Madonna
  • Johnny Cash *
  • Tupac
  1. Where would be an ideal place to socialize with friends over music?
  • Record Store
  • Coffee Shop *
  • Music Festival
  • Online
  1. If you could attend any music award show, what would it be? Grammy’s
  2. Where do you generally hear new music/artists/bands
  • Record Store
  • On the radio *
  • iTunes
  • Music Festivals
  • Friends *
  1. If you could dedicate a love song to someone, who would you choose?
  • Drake
  • Beyoncé
  • George Strait
  • The Black Keys *
  • Jimmy Hendrix
  1. What movie music soundtrack would you prefer to listen to?
  • Almost Famous
  • Urban Cowboy
  • Perks of Being a Wildflower *
  • Mean Girls
  1. What artist speaks the least about your personality?
  • Kanye West
  • Lana Del Rey
  • Waylon Jennings
  • Ozzy *
  • Beyonce
  1. What is one artist you never get sick of hearing over and over again?
  • Lana Del Rey
  • Brooks and Dunn
  • Kid Cudi *
  • The Beatles
  • Taylor Swift
  • Modest Mouse
  1. If you could listen to one radio station on the radio all day, who would it be?
  • KDUR
  • iHeart Radio
  • Pandora
  • Spotify *
  1. If you could revive any deceased artist, who would it be?
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Waylon Jennings
  • Tupac
  • Janis Joplin *
  • Elvis Presley

Based on Taryn’s answers, her music genre is rock. Find out what your genre is and take the quiz!

Chameleon Souls

Having to choose five songs about love, or something somewhat related to it, was an incredibly daunting task for me. There was so many to choose from, for such a limited amount of space. Finally, I decided on five songs that spoke best to me and reminded me of the people I love, my friends!

So here’s to my sappy, crazy, awe-inspiring set of friends! Enjoy! And Happy Valentine’s Day!

Witchcraft- Frank Sinatra

We’re sitting cross-legged on the lawn, the summer heat beating down on our backs, the sweet smell of freshly-cut grass is carried by a faint breeze. My friend Michael sits beside me wearing clad blue jeans and a Led Zeppelin t-shirt. He’s scrolling down my iPod playlist, while I’m trying to finish an assignment before class. White ear-buds connect us with great difficulty, but we managed to sit comfortably without breaking the musical bond.

The song, Witchcraft by Frank Sinatra bellows in my ear. The slow steady rhythm of a bass guitar and screeching violins brings my head toward him, wide-eyes and shocked expression clearly indicate my surprise. Michael starts laughing and shoots me the heavy-metal-is-not-the-only-genre-I- know stare. Before I can interject, he starts to lip-sync the lyrics.

I’m smiling and laughing at the same time, while he sardonically moves to the tempo of the song.

He’s mouthing, “There’s no nicer witch than you,” with suave hand gestures and through mimic drumming with his hands smiles through content eyes. Soon, I’m lifted off the ground and he twirls me on the grass. I’m laughing so hard I’m gripping my stomach for support. Our classmates stop to gaze in our direction and throw us confused glances. I never fended him for a jazz man. His musical taste has always been aimed toward darkness and constant thrashing. Seeing him mouth the lyrics to Frank Sinatra with perfect clarity is disarming, and I’m reeling in the joy.

I’ve known Mike my whole life. He has been my best friend since we were seven years old. Our love, as friends, has been forged through music. Witchcraft by Frank Sinatra is one of the many songs that remind me of our kindred friendship, and the memories formed throughout the years. This song is also a very sappy, fun love song to listen to. Frank Sinatra never ceases to fail.

 

Video Games- Lana Del Rey

I’m lying on a fringed carpet, the faint smell of fresh rainwater and burnt cigarettes fills the atmosphere. It’s dark everywhere except for the blazing star lamp in the middle of the room. Bright colors of red, blue, green and yellow dance elegantly off the walls and off of my friend’s glowing faces. They’re high on life, and smile through squinted eyes and clenched bellies. I’m soaking in the moment, my eyes are closed and my hands are at my side. The bluesy voice of Lana Del Rey’s, “Video Game” echoes off the walls and bounces off cheap abstract paintings. 

I realize now that I am miles away from home. My longing for family resurfaces, but I lightly brush the idea away not wanting to spoil the moment. I have a new family, or so Katrina puts it. I met her shortly after I arrived here, in Durango that is. She’s been a great companion since my freshmen year here at Fort Lewis College. We’ve been close ever since.

And now, I’m lying in her one-bedroom apartment with my legs propped up on some sofa cushions. Her record player bellows sweet songs of symphony and electric blues.

“It’s you, it’s you, it’s all for you,” flutters in my head like moths. And slowly I slip into the beautiful oblivion of her voice, and my infinite love for this moment, my friends.

Surely, this is a rare type of unforeseen, incandescent romance between people who share the same interest in music and laughter. I am home.

I love everything about this song. Lana Del Rey’s voice is so hypnotic, dangerous even. She sings about love in a romantic, vivid way. She takes small things about a person, a moment, a feeling and makes it all about love. I enjoy that about her a lot.

You’re the One- The Black Keys

I’m sitting in orange velvet chair, a shade-less lamp is painted blue, and the distant sound of a rumbling train begins to shake the walls and vibrates underneath my shoes. I’m leaning against the headrest, while my friend, Charmayne is perched up against her closet door strumming her acoustic guitar singing miserably to the stereo. She’s strumming silently trying not to attract too much attention. She’s sad again. It must be because of Paul, or the fact that “You’re the One” by The Black Keys begins playing on the stereo. Sensing her longing for a friend, I inch slowly off the chair and toward her.

She shoots me a-I’m-fine-glare and resumes playing. But I know better. She’s heartbroken, possibly because Paul managed to dump her twice before her birthday. I never understood their relationship.

Slowly, she looks at me through distraught, I-need-help eyes and I lean beside her. Before I can offer consoling words, she whispers, “Don’t ever fall in love.” The thought hits me like a freight train. Is it really that bad? With an okay glance, I continue to lay against her while we listen to the remainder of the song. The melodic rhythms radiating through the sapphire blue lightbulbs is strangely comforting. Suddenly, we’re lost in the intense wailing of the acoustic guitar and sensuous lyrics, finding comfort in our sadness.

I remember the first time I bought The Black Keys album, “Magic Potion.” I was ecstatic to bring needle to record. When I first listened to them, really listen to them, I felt a part of myself lift off the ground. Something about Dan Auerbach’s voice is soothing, and wholesome at times. This is an example of love lost in its primal stages.

Punching in a Dream- The Naked and Famous

I’m driving cross-country though starless, cramped cities trying to mend the broken path that leads me astray from the highway. My friend Jeremy is flipping through songs when Punching in a Dream by The Naked and Famous screams through a broken speakers. The adrenaline instantly pumps through our veins, and before we know it, we’re singing to the frayed, distorted voice of the lead singer. The 80’s electric drum-beat radiates throughout our bodies with intense velocity and through stifled laughter we turn the volume dial to its maximum.

Jeremy is throwing his hands in the air, and I’m trying to maintain a steady wheel. Every now and then, we steal glances at each other trying to out-sing the other. Soon, I’m not even sure where I’m going. All worries, frustration escape me. We’re driving blind through the night, with only the city lights to guide us.

This song may not even be counted as a love song, but I still love the way it makes me feel. It’s a happy, energetic song that holds so much sentimental value. This is a song that can be enjoyed by all, in-love or not, you’ll find yourself singing along.

Cherry- Chromatics

The sound of screeching tires brings me heart to a stop, I’m just glad my parents are fast asleep. I make the steady climb out of window and jump onto the hard gravel. As soon as I clasped the screen into place, I make a run for the parked car. The night is at its darkest, the stars are barely visible under the fluorescent street lights

My friends are piled into the car, swapping high-fives in the front and backseat, and laughing at the fact that I’ve just snuck out. Finally, we are off into the blinding night. Not knowing where we’re going, or who we’re going to meet.

The song “Cherry” by Chromatics becomes the background music set for our adventure. The opulent, sultry melody of the lead singer’s voice is somewhat blinding like the night. Bass guitar and electric drumbeats match our own and pulsates through our veins like thick blood.

Soon talk of past to now- lovers is on everyone’s lips, who’s dating who, and who broke up with who is suddenly the topic of discussion. I’m callously listening, while laughing sensuously at the same time.

This night has been filled with both dangerous, exciting love to boring, placid relationship advice. I’ve never felt more alive and more in love with these people, my friends, my long-lasting companions. This must be happiness

Again, this may not be a happy love song for most, but it’s a song that speaks dearly to me. I have zero experience with “love” or “heartbreak”, so what better way to express and channel my memories through friendship? I have the most amazing set of friends who have been with me for as long as I can remember. Their perpetual love means the most.

To my loving friends, Happy Valentine’s Day!

In Utero: The Early 90’s Grunge Scene (Looking Back)

in utero

The mixture of talc, hair tonics, and cheap coffee fills my head and nostrils with an unpleasant feeling. My knees are propped up on an empty seat beside me, with a book in hand, and my father is seated comfortably in a leather brown chair while his barber, Bob talks furiously with his hands. Murmurs of last night’s basketball game becomes a subtle white noise to me, but still equally annoying as should a white noise entail. After what seemed a life-long affair with my reading, my father gestures me to follow him out.

We’re walking side by side, but not close enough to touch elbows. This is the first time I’ve spent an actual day with him, usually I’m accompanied by my sisters or my brother. But this time, it’s just him and I. The thought overwhelms me and suddenly I’m not walking with the most treasured person in my life, but with a stranger.

“Hey Kiddo, what’cha reading?” my father asks as he skips a stone across the gray pavement with his gangly boots. As long as I can remember, my father never really called me by my first name. The word “kiddo” puts my mind at ease.

Winter Trees by Sylvia Plath,” I say in my shy, timid voice. Despite my uneasiness, my father knows exactly how to unwind the tension in any fierce conversation.

“Winter Trees, hm? What kind of title is Winter Trees?” he laughs sarcastically. Causing me to break into a frenzied realization. What kind of title is Winter Trees? The thought eludes me. It wasn’t about winter trees. In fact, I don’t even think the word “winter” or “trees” is mentioned throughout the entire book. Could it be her fascination with winter trees, or that it resembled an acid, cold, empty part of her art? Nah, that’s too surrealist, I allow myself to conclude.

“I don’t know. She probably just liked how it sounded,” I answer while shrugging my shoulders feeling foolish for reading something I couldn’t understand.

“Well, she sounds crazy,” he chuckles deep within his throat. Could this mean that I’m crazy, too?

Before I could ask my tantalizing question, my father stops abruptly in front of an old vintage record store. The bitter smell of cigars, and wet boxes fill the air. Why is it that anything with the words, “Vintage” seem to carry that old smell, too?

The windows are tinted a golden yellow, and the tiles are a bright yellow as well. It could be stained, but I can’t tell. Wooden crates each categorized by genre are stacked clumsily on the floors and on the green countertops.

My father opens the door, and the sound of bells radiates throughout the store like a sound alarm. The owner is an old man of sixty, or so. His plaited, ironed shirt is a bright mustard yellow that seems to blend in with the rest of the store. The only unnerving clothing item about him is his shiny, brown Dockers that seem to squeak with each step.

A conversation immediately strikes between the two of them. But I have no patience for simple introductions. Instead, I pace the room with my book firmly between my hands, and make my way toward the back of the room. Already, I can feel the blood coursing through my veins. Suddenly, I’m drawn to the tenacious artwork by the Smashing Pumpkins cover to the artwork by The Smiths. I must be in the “Rock” aisle I note to myself as I pluck through each record like I would do in a library searching for a book.

I’m digging through an old chest of treasures when I come across a certain cover that catches my eye, and soon I’m facing a hauntingly, disturbing image of an angel stripped of skin. Her anatomical body sending shivers down my spine. The image of her outstretched hands sends a new kind of comfort and fear in my eyes. And all I can think about is, who is the mastermind behind this cover? The words, “Nirvana,” spill from my throat like hot liquid. The roll of the tongue, “Ni-van-nah,” is almost euphoric, much like the image of the record. Her saintly ghost enraptures me, and I’m finding myself walking to the counter with the record tucked snuggly under my armpit.

My father is chatting with the old man about some old country artist I’ve never heard of. Slowly, I raise the cover to the counter and ask the old man for the price.

He smiles a kind, wry smile and says, “You know what, honey? It’s yours.” He smiles a wrinkled smile and beams behind the counter from me to my father. “I’m running out of business anyway. No one cares for old records anymore.”

We leave the store in high spirits. My father got his haircut, and I got a beautiful mystery that seems to taunt me even while it’s still tucked beneath my armpit.

I’m praying my mom’s old record player is still sitting untouched in our linen closet. And I’m shocked to see that it is still in mint condition. The smooth, dark wood stencil of the buttons beckons me to place a record inside the plastic cover. My hands shake uncontrollably, I don’t know why.

Needle hits record

I’m on a whirlwind spinning in the immaculate swirls of satisfaction. Down, down, down the rabbit-hole I seem to have fallen into another dimension. My head spins from the fall and a concussion sneaks up on me. I’m face-up staring into the abyss of a new world and find myself slipping again. The brash, rustic voice of the artist rips a new tendril in my heart. The constant throb of drums causes the bones in my body to rattle with uncertainty. The electric guitar peels my skin back to reveal a new side of me. Redemption, at its best. And like an ordained servant that has confessed guilty of its sins, I feel as if a blissful repentance has overcome me.

There’s no explaining this bliss, this happiness I feel reverberate throughout my body like electric currents. I no longer belonged to myself.

The word “paradise” resurfaces. And just like the meaning of the band. I have entered nirvana. Reborn again, In Utero.

Bliss, eludes me.

The entire decade of the 90’s grunge scene flourished under popular indie rock bands like Hole, The Stone Temple Pilots, and of course Nirvana. It wasn’t until almost a decade after Kurt Cobain died that I really found myself immersed in their music. Everything about them from their dirty, grunge style to their unique, troublesome outlook on life captured me almost immediately. I was twelve when I first heard, “All Apologies,” blaring from my mother’s vintage record player. To this day, I still haven’t recovered from Kurt’s dry, rustic voice to Dave Grohl’s wildly hypnotic drums. They were my first real experience into in the early 90’s grunge scene. Listening to their music gave me a different outlook on life, an outlook that changed everything about me for the better.

 

A Timeline of Sounds

As described beautifully by Plato, music has the power to give “wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything.” It is the simple symphony of sounds that ignites, and startles a new kind of passion in our eyes. For Meryl Ramsey, music gave her the power to push forward, to forget, and create new memories. On today’s blog, she will be our esteemed guest DJ. And will guide our ears on a journey through her past and passions.

Meryl’s first choice is Neil Diamond’s, “I am I said.”

It can be said that Neil Diamond’s rustic, and somewhat electrifying voice can trigger just about any feeling we’ve had, or may have. For Ramsey, it triggered a memory that sent her down memory lane. The song, “I am I said,” captures a powerful, yet beautiful moment when she first realized the intense impact music can have on a person.

“It’s a powerful song. I grew up listening to Neil Diamond, because my mother adored him. Every time I hear the song, it takes me back to a memory where I first realized the emotional power music had. I was probably eight, or ten riding home from a trip with my mom and brother. Just to a trip to get groceries in a town about thirty-minutes away. We were listening to Neil Diamond’s cassette tape this song came on. My mom was mouthing the words and started to cry. I never knew why, and I never asked about it. It really opened my eyes to how music can touch you on a level that a lot of other things can’t.”

Without a doubt, there seems to be moment in each of our lives when we’ve felt tremendously touched by the power of music. For Plato, music was a defining character of life. For famous musician, Bob Marley, music had the power to heal one’s self. Hearing a song on a radio can trigger a vague, yet powerful feeling that needs no explaining.

Another powerful, and popular form of music can reach us through the power of film as well. For Meryl Ramsey, the hit-musical, “The Sound of Music,” spoke to her on a spiritual level that continues to inspire her every day. Julie Andrew’s whimsical, and angelic voice is hard to turn away from. It is through her voice that we find ourselves quietly humming along, or bursting out in song.

“The Sound of Music, was the music of my childhood. We watched it every Christmas for as long as I can remember. But this song, finally gave me meaning when I moved from my childhood town across the country to Connecticut for high school. I wanted to audition for a musical my freshmen year, and when I found out that it was going to be The Sound of Music, I knew I had to audition. I think knowing all the music and singing all the songs all the time helped me land the lead role of the nun, Maria. I can still remember what it felt like to open the show singing The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music, and there is a lyric at the end of the song that says, “my heart will be blessed with the sound of music, “and singing that lyric I knew that my heart had been blessed with the sound of music.”

I think we can all agree that, “The Sound of Music,” has innate way of soothing our hearts and remaining on our brain for the entirety of the day. Something about Julie Andrew’s soft, musical voice transcends our minds into an entire different world and time.

Her third choice is a classical symphony by Ludovico Evinaudi, “I’giorni.”

“I have always loved classical music. I grew up playing piano and took lessons until I was about thirteen years old. When I stopped lessons, my brother Doss continued. He had a passion for playing piano way more than I ever did. I can remember one summer he developed an interest in composer, Ludovico. He started learning his songs and playing them until he was nearly perfect. He loved to play piano in the mornings and all summer long, and almost every day, he would wake me up playing piano. This was my favorite.”

Unlike any music genre in the world, classical music has an intense way of soothing the mind. For Meryl, the song held meaning not only for her, but for her brother as well. Such melodic sound and beautiful rhythm allows us to picture our lives before the hardship. It’s no wonder that classical music can allow for such thinking time.

Her fourth choice is, “Tear down the house,” by The Avett Brothers.

“My senior year of high school was filled with The Avett Brothers. All of my friends and I listened to them and this song connected with me. I grew up in Wyoming and when I moved to Connecticut, I lost a part of what I considered home. But we kept our house in Wyoming as a summer home, and my family planned to move completely back to Wyoming after I graduated. The thought of leaving my new life to go back to my childhood home was scary and really sad for me. I think this song helped me express understanding the emotions I was feeling at that time.”

From the banjo strings to the bluesy voice of the singer, The Avett Brothers is able to capture a lurid part of you that you never knew existed. For Meryl, it allowed her to confront and deal with the emotions she had with moving from state-to-state. Moving is such a huge part of our lives that we’re almost blind to memories we leave behind. But one song can trigger all those feelings again of treasured moments. And for Ramsey, The Avett Brothers not only allowed her to escape to those feelings, but to vent them out also.

Another artist the whole world has come to love and admire is Barbara Streisand and her heart-warming song, “Since I fell for you,”

“This song helped me understand the role that love can play in your life. It’s about what happens, or can happen when you open yourself up to love. It’s funny I actually listened to this song a lot after going through a tough breakup. It helped me understand what I was feeling. But also helped me come to the realization that when you go through love, or love lost, it has meaning regardless of how it turns out. My breakup with my “first love” was tough, but going through all the stages of it and realizing its importance for growth and learning made it kind of worth it.”

Along with the rest of the world, Meryl Ramsey’s love for Barbara Streisand’s, “Since I fell for you,” is able to bring about a new kind of attitude in our lives. Something about the sultry, gripping melody of Streisand’s voice is so hypnotic that it transcends our hearts on a path to recovery. The idea of love lost can be incredibly daunting to anyone, but it’s the recovery that makes the process that much harder. For Meryl, again, this song held such important significance and continues to inspire her every day.

Listening to the songs, and hearing the stories replay over and over in my head allowed me to get a feel of Meryl Ramsey’s passion for music. Reading the stories, and picturing the treasured moments in her life also helped me to understand her choices. Being able to pick such an outstanding number of songs must have been difficult on her part. But I am glad she had the courage to share those memories with me on this blog.