Showing posts with label celebrities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label celebrities. Show all posts

John Lennon’s Imagine at 50: a deceptively simple ballad, a lasting emblem of hope

By Leigh Carriage - September 9, 2021

This article was originally published in  The Conversation

1971 was a tumultuous year. The counter-cultural movement of the 60s was still being felt. Demonstrations were held opposing the Vietnam War and in August, Australia and New Zealand withdrew their troops.

Apollo 15 landed on the moon. Feminist Gloria Steinem made her first address to women in America. Switzerland held a referendum on women’s suffrage. In New York, John Lennon sat down at a brown model Z upright piano and began to write what would become an inter-generational, transnational phenomenon — and perhaps the gentlest of protest songs — Imagine.

Imagine was recorded on May 27, at Lennon’s new home studio. The song was released to the world as part of the album of the same name (co-produced by Lennon, his wife Yoko Ono and Phil Spector), on September 9.

John Lennon Imagine (Official Music Video 1971)

For three minutes and three seconds, the lyrics of this gentle ballad present a vision of unity and of hope. It is a space in which to dream of real change in the world.

As with all songs, the interpretations are as broad as the listeners. For many, it is a call for peace; for others it is a prayer.

The verse lyrics, partly based on poetry by Ono, remove all the central components that seem to separate us: violence, hate, borders, poverty, greed, governments, religion, consumerism and capitalism.

The final verse offers a vision of a unified world at peace.

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Imagine would become Lennon’s best-selling single of his solo career. In 2004, Rolling Stone labelled it third on its list of the greatest songs of all time, saying “we need it more than he ever dreamed”.

Unpacking it musically

Imagine is often used to teach beginner music students, but it would be a mistake to think it is just a simple, soft rock, piano ballad.

This perception is due to Lennon’s highly effective crafting. As a peace anthem, the song appears simple, but dig a little deeper, and you find layers of complexity and nuance.

Imagine was written in the key of C major, which has no sharps or flats, so it is melodically and harmonically playable and broadly accessible.

The melody is comprised of small intervals (the difference in pitch between two notes), and repeating small motives (a fragment of melody repeated, manipulated or re-positioned throughout the melody), all within a singable range of one octave..

Youtube - Imagine (UNICEF: World Version)

The introduction to the song sets up a gentle sway between harmonic resolution and tension, like waves on a beach.

The third, longer phrase (“Imagine all the people”) steps into a passage of unresolved tension. This culminates in a harmonic state of balance, like a broom standing on end. It can fall either way — forward into resolution (the next verse) or back into tension (the chorus). This balance is intensified as the rhythm section pauses and Lennon sings in falsetto.

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky
Imagine all the people
Livin’ for today

The opening piano chords also create a sense of pushing into tension before falling back to resolution, linking to the dreamlike feeling of the lyrics. The third phrase, “imagine all the people” starts on the four chord and holds that tension until “living for today” lands on G, creating more stability.

Perhaps the most distinctive part of Imagine is the short piano riff between the vocal lines. This riff uses just three notes — A, A# and B — called “chromatic passing notes”. Your ear thinks these notes will go up again, to the C chord. Instead, Lennon brings the listener’s ear down to the G melody note, creating a gentle sense of unpredictability.

Imagine transports the listener. The lyrics lift the spirit. The easy rises and falls of the melody comfort. Lennon’s familiar voice reassures.

A balm in times of crisis

Imagine has inspired an outstanding array of cover versions, sung by everyone from Elton John to Madonna. American singer Eva Cassidy’s interpretation remains a particular favourite. Her expression and subtle reinterpretation of the melody, her note choices and phrasing, are breathtaking.

Youtube - Eva Cassidy - Imagine

At times of crisis, people have often turned to this song. Queen covered Imagine the day after Lennon’s death in 1980; Neil Young played it in the wake of 9/11.

After the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, people gathered on the streets as a man quietly played the song on a piano decorated with a peace symbol.

Youtube - Pianist plays John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ outside Paris’ Bataclan theater

In March last year, at the beginning of the pandemic, Gal Gadot and other celebrities released a now ironically celebrated and much criticised version.

And last September, Melbourne students wrote their own version:

Imagine there’s no Corona
And we can see our friends

Our interconnectedness and reliance on one another are our biggest strengths. 50 years after Lennon wrote the song, Imagine will accompany us along the way: a lasting emblem of hope.

Instagram - These brothers fom Milgate Primary School in Doncaster have used their time in lockdown well.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.
Read the original article.
The Conversation is a nonprofit organization working for the public good through fact and research based journalism.
The Conversation

An Interview with Mimi Bay

photography Sandra Myhrberg
fashion & makeup Nike Ortiz Dahl
blouse Nygårdsanna
trousers Annaedsta
shoes Asos Design
earrings Charlotte Vasberg

By Decirée Josefsson - August 13, 2021

This article originally appeared in  Odalisque Magazine

The 20-year-old Mimi Bergman aka Mimi Bay conveys feelings into words writing about personal experiences and memories. With over a quarter of a million subscribers on YouTube, she writes and properly produces, making her multidimensional as an artist. The impenetrable walls of the royals are falling to pieces when Mimi Bay's pleasant tunes are playing creating a space for everyone to be able to intimately connect. Her last single Pick me up is the third to be released in 2021 and comprise a part of her newest EP release Far from home. 

Is there a specific story behind the name Mimi Bay?
The history of the name is rather simple and occurred naturally when I followed a more firm step in my artistry. When I initially started, I operated frequently on different channels like SoundCloud and YouTube. When I, later on, decided to carefully gather everything on a mutual channel it became natural to as well separate Mimi Bergman from Mimi Bay. It has not so much to typically do with the name itself, however more to safely separate and secure my personal life. 

How would you describe your critical thinking towards your composed music?
I think that in time as my musical knowledge develops I become kinder and more trustable in my instinct of what’s good. Critical thinking, however, makes me able to perform and achieve beyond my expectations.

dress & shoes Asos Design
earrings Charlott Vasberg

blouse Cornelia Ferm
trousers Vans
shoes Asos Design
earrings Iameleni

What represents your ideal place to reload and increase creative energy?
I genuinely love to read outside in the woods. It helps me to remind myself about the present time. To pause from complex reality and sense when not to trust the anxious state of the conscious mind.

Whom are you writing for?
I think that my writing has inevitably been a process of my thoughts and feelings. Anger, fear, grief, and joy become the fuel for the words in my rhymes. I do not think frequently about whom I’m typically writing for. Alternatively, there’s a way for me to gently remind myself that emotions are not permanent and to heal or properly speak through them instead of allowing them to direct me. There's rightfully no social right or wrong in how much of your thoughts you should share with others. If I never try to listen to my inner voice, I will never know how it feels to be true to myself. 

Describe your earliest music memory?
I’m constantly looking for gentle melodies, melodic vocals, and poetic lyrics that can get me from a state of mind emotionally to another. Even if that means watching Disney or listening to the tones of Frank Ocean and SZA I want it to feel real. It’s the chemical reaction from within that makes me interested in wanting to keep on listening. 

What would you like to say to the younger Mimi?
The frequency of life is going to differ, and you will be forced to accept and believe that there’s a time for everything. 

What’s on the horizon?
I’ve been working on my upcoming project Far from home since 2019 and it’s about trying to find a home when your safe place becomes your parents' house. It’s been mine for so long and I can’t wait to share it with the world.

blouse Nygårdsanna
trousers Tommy Hilfige
earrings Charlott Vasberg

This article was originally published by Odalisque Magazine. It is republished here under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

African-American Music Appreciation Month Is About More Than just Great Songs

Little Richard
Little Richard, the self-proclaimed “architect of rock ‘n’ roll” whose piercing wail, pounding piano and towering pompadour irrevocably altered popular music while introducing Black R&B to white America, died May 9, 2020, but remains a key figure in music history.
Photo by Robbie DrexhageCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
By Leah Fleming and Tiffany GriffithGPB News - June 15, 2021

It was 1979 when then-President Jimmy Carter introduced the country's first ever observance of Black Music Month. The month was established to recognize the economic and cultural power of Black music, as well as those who make and promote it.

The month was later renamed African-American Music Appreciation Month under President Barack Obama.

GPB’s Leah Fleming recently spoke with Tammy Kernodle, a professor of musicology at Miami University in Ohio, to dig deeper into the roots of the month.

Tammy Kernodle: When you think of 1978, 1979, most historians will tell you that the Black Power movement was really dying down. Either through violence, mass incarceration, or people assimilating and becoming disillusioned. But what we forget is that the Black Power and the Black Nationalist movement were not just about radical activism. It was also about reclaiming and establishing an understanding of our cultural heritage. But there was also an economic piece to that. Black Power was about Black people empowering themselves and creating infrastructures. And that's the important part: infrastructures that would galvanize our communities culturally, economically, politically and socially. 

Leah Fleming: So when President Carter at the time in 1979 rolled out the first Black Music Month, he talked about growing up in Georgia and hearing many Georgia artists and hearing the pain that came through the music and the movement, and hearing about some of the joy of being Black. We heard that then. We continue to hear that now. 

Tammy Kernodle: Well, I think that's what makes Black music such an important cultural artifact, is how it encapsulates the fullness of life. It has been one of the chief documenters of our experience. And we see that in this current age, I think in a way that became absent in the decades that followed the establishment of Black Music Month, because at the time that this month of appreciation was established, we were at a high point of Black music and Black consciousness in a wedding of those things. And I think what we saw with the kind of corporate takeover of Black music in the '80s, you know, with all of those labels like Stax, like Motown, and Atlantic and all of those indie labels that are giving us all of that music, that was the soundtrack to our liberation struggle throughout the '50s, '60s and '70s. You know, when CBS and Sony and MCA and all of these labels took it over, we saw the muting of certain narratives within our music. Now they are reemerging. They're reemerging because you have a generation of artists who have found new ways in which to engage.

Leah Fleming: So what are you listening to this Black Music Month?

Grammy-nominated blues singer Shemekia Copeland performs at The Summit on Race in America at the LBJ Presidential Library on Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Photo by Laura Skelding, LBJ Library, Public domain, via Flickr

Tammy Kernodle: Oh, I'm listening to everything because I consume music. So, like, for the last couple of days, I've been listening to Shemekia Copeland, you know, who is a blues singer, she kind of does Americana. She has an album called Uncivil War. So what's really resonating with me is how we're seeing these protest narratives, these social message songs all showing up in these genres that don't get played primarily on Black radio these days. But, you know, it's getting played on white radio and in regional spaces where this is a Black woman engaging in a conversation with white America in many ways. So I listen to a range of things. Classical music, you know, because that's something we have to talk about in Black Music Month, because we oftentimes want to center Black Music Month around R&B and gospel and, you know, hip hop, because we think of those things as being representative of authentic Blackness. But classical music, we have classical composers like Courtney Bryan and Mark Lomax, who did a suite of albums called the 400 African Suite that really tries to musically trace us from 1619 to a future that he envisions. I'm looking at how Blackness is intersected in sound in so many different ways. So I listen to so many different things, and I'm an old-school person, so I've got thousands of CDs and LPs.

Leah Fleming: You say that the month should not be maybe African-American Music Appreciation Month. It should've remained Black Music Month.

Tammy Kernodle: Yes, ma'am. Blackness is, the term Black is representative of the wholeness of identity. We are African people at our core. But we did not just come to America. And to say African-American means that you negate all the Black people and all the Black music that came out of the Caribbean and South America, out of Canada, out of London, out of Germany. Black people extended from the continent, not just through slavery, but migration and colonization. And we created a larger diaspora of expressions and experiences. And that music is a reflection of those environments. And we hear some of those things coming into African-American music. But when we use the term African-American music, it means that we are very U.S.-centric. We are cutting off what are these larger cultural connections of sound and culture and experience that are represented under Blackness.

Leah Fleming: So I want to ask you one more question. Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Bo Diddley: They're all considered the originators of rock 'n' roll. But that's a fact that few people are aware of, especially today. So how do you suggest we not only appreciate, but hold on to the history?

American guitarist and singer Chuck Berry performs his "duck walk" in this publicity still, circa 1958.
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Tammy Kernodle:
 Well, I think, first of all, what you are doing here is important, because NPR, public radio has become one of the primary mediums that is above all of the political fray and rhetoric and bringing to us wholesome stories. So I thank you for your work in that. But I think also, as we are seeing these conversations about critical race theory and what is taught in the classroom, what we need to understand is how music can be a focal point for us to understand these particular moments and the importance of these voices. Right. And so it's about reclaiming that. And what I liked about the initial vision of Black Music Month, that that initial vision was about preserving, it was about progressing, but it was about historicizing. And too often we leave out the history. Every generation thinks that they are charting a revolution. And they think that because, in many cases, they don't do their history lessons. They don't learn their history. They come back to that, you know. Or they are told, ‘Hey, do you know this?’ or ‘Do you know that?’ And not all artists, but many people who think they're groundbreaking don't understand sometimes these historical trajectories. So I think it's important that we elevate. I think it's important that Black radio elevates these voices. And I think with, you know, the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in D.C., but now the newly minted National Museum of African-American Music in Nashville will see people having much more of an expansive understanding of what has been the history of this music. So this is what I do every day. Every day. I want people to leave, you know, my classrooms hearing music different, but understanding the people behind the music. I tell my students all the time, you cannot like Black music and not have a consciousness about Black people. If you do, something's wrong.

This story comes to Magatopia Buzz through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.

Micheal Jackson Dies, Internet Awash With Coverage

Michael Jackson
photo courtesy of Free Stock Photos
With Michael Jackson's death comes an avalanche of news stories. We've linked to a few of them below.

Police focus on medical treatment in Jackson death
- Yahoo News


- Billboard

- Hollywood Reporter


ET Online

- Mashable

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