Next Session at Bird
“One good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain.”
-Bob Marley, Trenchtown Rock
As a kid, my musical tastes largely followed my father’s inclinations, which alternated between the local classic rock station in Memphis and recordings of whichever barbershop quartet or chorus was hot on the SPEBSQSA* circuit at the moment. I have vivid memories of gazing in wonder at the colorful spaceship on the cover of Boston’s self titled cassette tape as I pounced around the neighborhood with my high-tech, portable walkman in hand and the sounds of “Rock N Roll Band” & “Smokin” blaring much too loud for my mother’s liking. I remember the first time I heard “Stairway to Heaven” at a sleepover in middle school, and whined that it was too slow and too boring, while my friend Ryan protested, “Wait, wait, it gets better!” Funny enough, I don’t remember the first time I heard a reggae tune, but I do remember the feeling I had when I heard the first words of Bob Marley’s “Trenchtown Rock” – “One good thing about music , when it hits, you feel no pain.” I have always interpreted these words as: as long as you are listening to music, no troubles can harm you. Today, as I was writing these lyrics on our sandwich board to advertise for our upcoming session, another meaning struck me: that music has the rare privilege of being able to “hit” without causing any physical harm. Not only this, but music can be a driving force of healing in our lives as we let the sounds affect our environment and mood.
When discussing our next band session, we wanted to offer something that would complement the musical journey that our bands take throughout the school year. We also had the desire to provide challenges to the players outside the realms of the Beatles and Billy Joel (show on January 29!). The Reggae & Rocksteady style offers a spotlight for the bass and an opportunity for the drums, guitars and keyboards to work together to utilize the skank, or off-beat, rhythm that often comes naturally to beginning musicians. The vocalists have the opportunity to use harmonies and incorporate the wailing, soul-filled quality synonymous with reggae music.
Equally important, the ideas of this Jamaican genre revolve around the triumph of love and harmony. Born out of turbulent times, the lyrics in these songs are as relevant today as when they were first sung on the island country in the middle & late sixties. Whether I am listening to The Gaylads funky-pop tune “Joy in the Morning” or Bob Marley’s politically charged “One Love,” this roots music puts a bounce in my step and a smile on my face that I am excited to share, as we create musical memories that we hope will stick with our students for many years to come.
The Reggae & Rocksteady session starts on January 30 & runs through a show on April 1.
Click here for more information about how you can sign up.
Click here for information about forming a band with a group of friends.
*The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, Inc has since changed their title to the acronym-friendly Barbershop Harmony Society