I don't know about you, but I can't live without my music, when on the road it's like having a friend along with you, whether it be driving in my car or flying high overhead with my headphones on!
It can bring forth a feeling of calm, joy, sadness, horror and even transport you to another and hopefully happier place!
It comes in many forms, in fact, an infinite amount, and it still amazes me that all the variables have not been used up yet! but still, with new artists come new techniques and styles, each a little gem in their own way!
I am a great believer that some tunes/songs were always meant to be, waiting to be found!
I'm not going to rattle off loads of examples here, as we all have our favorites, it would be boring if we didn't!
For me, it is a way of escapism, it takes me to another level of consciousness, of course, you have to listen to the right sort of music for this, mainly chillout or something smooth, like The Karma Collection 2003 and Chilled Ibiza but the list is endless!
Recently I have been treating myself to a music download spree, from some new artists I had never heard of before, mainly thanks to two very talented people in their field, composer/singer/songwriter Imogen Heap and filmmaker Samantha Hale.
Immi and Sam
Now, I had been a fan of Imogen's music for many years, when she was part of the group called Frou Frou with Guy Sigsworth (another very talented chap!) but it wasn't until a friend sent me a link to a YouTube music video on Facebook back in February 2010, that I really found out "who" I was listening to!
I can't for the life of me remember who or what the original video was, but alongside it there was a list of similar songs, and one was by an Imogen Heap!
No idea why this name stood out from the rest, but I clicked on it only to hear a familiar song..............a live solo version of Let Go.
It was a defining moment for me, I was blown away by such raw talent, and was soon searching for more of the same!
After watching countless other videos and downloading 3 of her albums, Details, Speak for Yourself
and Ellipse (which she won a Grammy for) I looked to find out more info, and wondered if there were any concerts due, low and behold there was a UK tour that very month..............but was out of luck, as they were completely sold out!!
Gutted, but at the same time awed by the fact that a none mainstream artist had such a following, I signed up to Immi's Twitter and FB sites to stay up to date with any other concert info!
I was not alone!.......she has a "huuuuge" social network fan base!
A few weeks later, I received a message saying she was going on a world tour, which would end with a special at her favorite venue of all time, the Royal Albert Hall in London.
This was what I had been wishing for, and promptly bought 2 tickets (I'm single, but wanted to share this with at least one good friend!)
The year passed, with rave reviews from around the world being posted everywhere, and the news that the RAH concert would be the first place to show a concept film consisting of footage sent in by Immi's fans. Jointly conceived with Thomas Ermacora and called "Love the Earth", Immi would write the accompanying music and conduct a talented mix of fans and friends in an orchestra, which was to be recorded live at the show!
I did of course submit some HD footage for the film, from my Fuji HS10, some reeds blowing in the wind, and a jubilant Reed Bunting singing his heart out on another wind swept marshy reed, my hopes were high and my excitement was building ever more as the day drew near!
I invited my very good friend Blanche along with me, who I introduced to Immi's work a few months earlier. She is a very hard working individual, who is the joint Director and trustee of an organisation called Reset, and Senior Lecturer at the Graduate School of the Environment at the Centre for Alternative Technology........... also a modest but talented musician, and now an Immi fan too!
No one deserved a day off more than Blanche, and we started off the magic day with a walk down Brick lane, until our bellies told us it was lunch time!
The weather could not have been worse, but it did not dampen our spirits, we talked so much the afternoon flew by, and were soon walking through Hyde Park (still in the rain!) towards the RAH for the 7.30pm start.
A young couple stopped us and asked if we knew the way to the RAH as they didn't want to miss their favorite artist, we laughed and told them to tag along with us!
Now, I am well known for my sense of humor, and had told Blanche well in advance that she should probably bring along a pair of binoculars, as the "cheap seats" are far from the main stage, she did not, but I had mine in my bag with my camera so we could share.
We were bang on time for entry, everyone seemed excited and very friendly, all very civilized.
We entered at door 11, round the back, and down through some corridors, up some stairs and came right out next to the stage, we pirouetted on our heels, heads pointed skyward as we took in the majesty of the RAH.
Blanche took one look at me and said "I think were in the wrong place!" then a friendly steward asked for our tickets, and said "your right here, 4 rows back from the stage!" (which I knew already of course!)
I so wish I had my camera ready for the look on Blanche's face..............it was a picture, lol!!
The concert was truly amazing, one of if not the best I have ever been to, we even had to participate in a couple of the scores for the Film, and personally, I don't think I'll be head hunted by any labels very soon (or ever!) and I apologize to those who sat nearby! but just being part of it was a very special feeling!
It was sad that it had to come to an end, but am sure everyone involved was due a well earned rest, as we sat for a while, soaking it all in and letting the exiting crowds die down.
We walked back down the corridors, almost alone, when a side door opens to another corridor and who should be walking towards us? yep, you guessed it, Immi herself!
This was too good an opportunity to miss, so I politely waited for the right moment as she spoke to some other people, and asked if it would be OK if she signed a memento poster for me............. which she did! (thanks Immi :-)
A perfect end to a most memorable day, I didn't care that I got soaked to the skin 3 times, my film clips were not used and that I almost missed the last train home, I'd spent it in great company, friends and strangers alike, all with a common interest in a universal language....................MUSIC!
Along with the poster, I'd also bought Imogen's DVD called "Everything In-Between" the story about how her latest album Ellipse was made, a wonderful backstage look at the creative process, along with the highs and lows of one of the countries most innovative singer/songwriters.
Trailer for Everything In-Between
It was sort of through this DVD that I came across Samantha Hale's film called Map the Music
Sam is a wonderfully talented individual in her own right, and through the wonders of social networks, has become a friend, and deserves every credit for this unique insight into the relationship artists and fans have with music and each other.
Immi features in this also, along with a list of other such talented artist like;
......and many more!
Map the Music trailer
The film is also a compelling account of Sam's journey after the sad death of her father.
Her love of music and filmmaking sent her on a road of discovery, travelling from concert to concert, following her favorite artists around the world, and asking them and their fans a simple question.................what does music mean to you?
In so doing, deep questions were answered within herself, as she explains openly in one scene, with tears streaming down her face!.....a heart warming moment!
Well done Samantha, you had a dream and saw it through, what a wonderful accomplishment!
Throughly recommended, get it here; "Map the Music"
I asked myself the same question, and apart from "escapism" as I mentioned before, memories would come next!
There have been many moments in my varied life, when a certain tune is locked in with a certain memory, some good, some bad, as that's what makes them all the more memorable!
Take A Horse With No Name by America, a classic song from my childhood, and whenever I hear it, it transports me straight back to the Keepers cottage we lived in near the Welsh border in north Shropshire when I was about 5 or 6 years old, a wonderful place in the countryside with a large garden, great for exploring nature!
My parents used to play it regularly on their record player during the summer months, windows open, where it used to emanate into the garden. Of course I was riding around on my own horse with no name, other than broom or spade!
Amazing Grace is another powerful song that reminds me of another more recent event.
I did a nine week tour (a bit of soul searching after my divorce) round America and Canada back in 2004 with 11 others (mostly students)
It was a great group of people, all strangers to start with, and it took a little while but we became great friends, then at the end of the 5th week, there was a fatal accident!
We had one of the few lazy days in our schedule, and spent it at Lake Powell in Utah. A huge body of fresh water surrounded by red rock cliffs and small sand-less beaches, a great water sports playground!
To cut a long story short, one of the group jumped off a high cliff into the water, never to be seen again!
He was 23, an adventurer, and generally a great guy, up for a challenge, hence the cliff jumping.
Later that day, after returning to the campground from the Sheriffs office, we met with another group doing a similar trip who we had met a few days before at another camp, they couldn't believe the bad news, and asked us to join them round the camp fire they had made.
One of their group was singing and playing a few songs on his guitar (Scot I believe his name was, from Australia and he was very good!) the atmosphere was of course very sombre, when he asked if it would be OK if he played a song in memory of our friend........he played and sang Amazing Grace.................... a catalyst for our grief to overflow!
I guess the same song or piece of music can have an infinite amount of different effects on each and every one of us, so it is a very personal emotion. Magnify that by watching an artist live, and you can see why such events are so popular!
It is a leveler of playing fields, a universal language that transcends boundaries and differences, and evokes a happy ethic (generally!)
It helps us through difficult times, and celebrates the better ones.
What would a film be without a soundtrack, nursery rhymes without children, or a country without an anthem?
Music..............it's what makes us human!