Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

‘How Long Will I Love You’ sung by Ellie Goulding highlights 4 Romantic Comedies by Richard Curtis

October 7, 2021

Many of us have been isolated during the pandemic lockdown and ended up watching a lot of movies. I particularly enjoyed revisiting a few popular romantic comedies. Having seen them when they first came out in theaters years ago, I was pleasantly reminded that these four award-winning box-office hits were all made by Richard Curtis.

Universal Pictures UK had posted a video on YouTube of memorable moments from four wonderful romcoms: Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Love Actually, and About Time.

The video was used to launch his latest film at that time, About Time, promoting it with the beautiful theme song, How Long Will I Love You?, movingly sung by Ellie Goulding from her new album, Halcyon Days.

I’d seen these films again, most recently About Time. It’s a sweet story about using time travel to improve romantic outcomes, with an edifying conclusion. The theme song was relevant and touching. While searching for it online I discovered this video using it to highlight all four films.

Ellie Goulding’s cover of a Waterboys song used in the About Time official soundtrack reminded me of Dan Fogelberg‘s beautiful song, Longer. Both songs profess loving someone forever. Watch her music video of the song intermixed with visuals from the film.

Another cover of the song in the film’s OST is by Jon Boden, Sam Sweeney & Ben Coleman. The Waterboys original 1990 song on their Room to Roam album was remastered in 2008.

Richard Curtis also wrote the screenplay to the musical romantic comedy, Yesterday. I loved it and created this post: Can you imagine a world without the Beatles? Watch the new film “Yesterday” to find out.

See this earlier post on some of my favorite romantic films. I later added: Writing, literature, life and love intersect in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The spring rains renew life and the promise of love in this film, A Good Rain Knows, inspired by the poetry of Du Fu.

If you like, please leave a comment with your favorite films.

Jimmy Kimmel pranks his cousin Micki at the ABC offices for his show. Keep watching to the end.

September 24, 2021

This has got to be one of the funniest pranks ever pulled on anyone! We are privy to the behind-the-scenes preparations as many of Jimmy’s staff are surprised in various locations throughout the ABC offices of Jimmy Kimmel Live. But Cousin Micki is the main target. It’s her 50th birthday.

They obviously went to great lengths to produce this hilarious scenario. A video of it is posted on Jimmy Kimmel’s Instagram account. It won’t embed here so you’ll have to see it there. Expand it and keep watching to the end. It is absolutely brilliant! I still laugh out loud every time.

Oh, and how many times did you hear, “Oh, My God!”? I counted around 18, with Micki yelling out 15 of them. A few people reacted with more profane expressions—understandably so—and they were bleeped out.

Jimmy invited his baby cousin Micki on the show to receive a loving tribute on her 50th birthday. She’s all dressed up and holding 22 balloons. To honor the occasion Jimmy played a funny video of clips from family members, friends and co-workers quoting her saying the silliest things. It’s also posted on the Jimmy Kimmel Live Instagram account.

Mary Oliver reads a lovely poem about her dog

September 14, 2021

Renowned poet Mary Oliver reads “Little Dog’s Rhapsody in the Night” from her collection of new and favorite poems, Dog Songs, celebrating the dogs that have enriched her world.

Little Dog’s Rhapsody in the Night

He puts his cheek against mine
and makes small, expressive sounds.
And when I’m awake, or awake enough

he turns upside down, his four paws
in the air
and his eyes dark and fervent.

“Tell me you love me,” he says.

“Tell me again.”

Could there be a sweeter arrangement? Over and over
he gets to ask.
I get to tell.

Here are two other dog poems by Mary Oliver posted on Words for the Year: The Sweetness of Dogs and I Ask Percy How I Should Live My Life.

Read about Mary Oliver (1935-2019) and her astonishing poetry in this memorial acknowledgment to her poetic legacy. It contains links to articles, interviews, and poetry readings, as well as many of her favorite poems I’ve loved and posted over the years.

Discover and enjoy the amazing soulful voice of young Angelina Jordan. It is jaw-dropping great!

June 7, 2021

I may be a little late to have discovered this unbelievable musical phenomenon, but Angelina Jordan continues to impress and inspire me daily. The more I found out about her, the more I wanted to hear her sing and uncover more of her story. This would account for the length and breadth of this new post. There’s enough here to keep you informed, inspired, and entertained at your own pace.

I want to sing for the whole world. Singing is as important as breathing to me. I just love to sing. Angelina Jordan

I recently discovered and am thoroughly enjoying listening to an amazingly talented young artist—Angelina Jordan Astar from Oslo, Norway. Born January 10, 2006, this musical child prodigy started singing very early in life.

Thanks to her grandmother, Angelina began listening to classic American jazz artists when she was a very young child. She started singing around 18 months and by 3 knew that’s what she wanted to do with her life—become an international singing superstar.

Luckily, her family has supported her in that direction. As a young child, Angelina attended the Oslo Waldorf School and participated in the Oslo School of Music and Performing Arts after-school program where she received vocal training. In addition to singing, she also learned how to play 4 instruments—piano, violin, guitar, and flute—and she paints! She speaks several languages. For years she has been covering other artists and is now starting to record her own songs.

Enters Norway’s Got Talent at 7 years old and wins

In earlier videos, it’s totally incongruous to see such a small young child performing old American standards on Norway’s Got Talent. In her audition she sang Billie Holiday’s Gloomy Sunday. The judges could not believe what they were hearing. Some were at a loss for words; others were teary-eyed. Watch the final full show where she sings Summertime and goes on to win NGT with 46% of the vote at 7 years of age! See Angelina Jordan All Performances On Norways Got Talent.

She puts a spell on you

Here is another jaw-dropping, mind-blowing experience. Watch Angelina, now 9, belt out I Put A Spell On You in a studio with musicians, and later, live on Germany’s Little Big Stars. Often covered in the past, this 1956 song was written and composed by Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins. His own recording of it was selected as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. You have to wonder how she discovered such historically significant artists.

Angelina has recorded over 130 covers from 80 different artists that she’s posted on Facebook and YouTube over the years. She arranges her own versions of popular songs and directs musicians how to play them. This video ranks as one of the most outrageous mind-blowers, with hundreds of reactor videos and millions of views! I love to see reactors try to respond in disbelief when they hear her sing this song. It’s a double enjoyment for me—reacting to their reactions, as well as my own, again!! Here are two examples: Soul Reacts, a songwriter who cannot comprehend what he is hearing; and joethemaster with his over-the-top reaction.

Pontus Österlin at PO Talks put together a brilliantly edited 8-minute compilation of a range of many reactors’ reactions as Angelina belts out I Put A Spell On You. During the credits listing them, he included footage of Jay Hawkins screaming out his song, with parallel clips of Angelina. This is definitely worth watching!

Here is another newer compilation: Look at the reactions of these beautiful girls‼️Angelina Jordan – I Put A Spell On You React. The names of the 7 reactors and their YouTube links are listed in the notes.

Another song that’s up there is Feeling Good. She was 10 years old when she performed it at Allsang På Grensen – TV2, and later LIVE on The Stream Gir Tilbake.

America’s Got Talent Golden Buzzer

Six years later, Angelina appeared on America’s Got Talent: The Champions 2020 when she was 13 years old. She told Heidi Klum that she had waited 10 years to sing for Simon Cowell. And it was on the biggest stage in the world! This was her moment. She auditioned with her own spellbinding version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which won her a Golden Buzzer from Heidi, who could hardly contain herself.

Angelina later said: “When Heidi stood up it felt like time stood still. I can’t believe it. The confetti felt like millions of gold stars were falling on me. It was really the best moment of my life.”

As the judges and audience members were on their feet applauding wildly, I heard an excerpt of Eva Cassidy singing Over The Rainbow playing in the background and thought, how appropriate! One amazing angelic voice honoring another as her dream finally, really did come true!

Angelina later returned for The Champions Season 2 2020 final round to sing her unique take on Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. She blew the judges away again, and the crowd went nuts in joyful disbelief.

Angelina also joined amazing sand artist Kseniya Simonova and talented young violinst Tyler Butler-Figueroa for an exciting group performance of Someone You Loved in the AGT Champions Finale. Watch Angelina Jordan: ALL Performances on America’s Got Talent Champions.

Boris Palenovski later edited all 3 performances together in higher res: Angelina Jordan (13) – All performances – America’s Got Talent: the Champions Season 2 – 4K video. See 13-year-old Angelina wearing a T-shirt with her 7-year-old face on it from Norway’s Got Talent at 3:52.

The girl with a thousand voices

Angelina later recorded Bohemian Rhapsody for her official channel. She also sings many cover songs by today’s great artists, like Adele’s All I Ask and her cover of Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love. She even sounds like Amy Winehouse in Back To Black. Her performance of Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing is filled with emotive power and heartfelt feelings as seen in this screensaver from a video of her singing the song.

Angelina may emulate these artists, vocally and emotionally as she inhabits their songs, but she interprets them in her own unique stylistic way, oftentimes better than the original! Like any great jazz artist, she is developing her own sound, finding her own voice, and now performing her own music. We are all in for many surprising treats.

Worldwide online reactions

Besides her impressive vocal skills, what gives listeners goosebumps and moves them to tears are the powerful soulful feelings she puts into each song. How can someone that young, who has not yet experienced life’s ups and downs, express such emotions and understanding? It boggles the mind! There is no doubt that Angelina is an old soul in a young body—something the judges at NGT and AGT said, as well as others who have commented on her performances.

She has 2 billion Facebook views and over half a billion on YouTube. There are many compilation channels of her music and 100’s of reaction videos of people responding to some of the many songs she’s posted. Most of them are visibly moved, jaw-dropped at a loss for words.

One of the more qualified reactors is Spanish-speaking vocal coach Ceci Dover. She explains things in detail, sharing valuable advice. See this one she posted of Angelina covering Lana Del Ray’s Born To Die.

In this enjoyable video (select English subtitles), Ceci uses excerpts of Angela singing between ages 7-13 to give us an informed overview of the evolution of her amazingly talented voice.

Creatively collaborating with Stargate, signing with Republic Records

After turning down many requests to sign Angelina, the family eventually settled on what they felt was the right record company that would allow her to create her own style of music, and not mold her into something artificial for commercial gain. When she was 14, they signed with UMG’s, (United Music Group) Republic Records.

Angelina released her first singles on the Republic Records label: “Million Miles” in November 2020 and “7th Heaven” in March 2021. Both songs are co-credited to the multiple Grammy-award-winning Los Angeles-based Norwegian production duo, Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, aka Stargate. Read how this creative collaboration came about in these postings by this Angelina Jordan Fan Club – The Shield on the WIKI: Angelina Jordan and Stargate.

Republic released 4 videos—2 Live in Studio and 2 Official Lyric Videos: Million Miles (Live in Studio) and (Official Lyric Video), a very personal song about losing her grandfather; and a more upbeat 7th Heaven (Live in Studio) and (Official Lyric Video) about her philosophy of life. The live in-studio videos were filmed in a sparse lounge-like setting. The official lyric videos contain the words to the songs with paintings by her grandmother Mery Zamani. A third, more personal, Angelina Jordan – Million Miles (Official Music Video) was later released in Jan 27, 2021.

Partnering with Stargate and Republic officially launched the career of this young teenage artist. She is now getting to create and produce her own material. There is no question this original artist will evolve into the international superstar she dreamed of becoming ever since she was 3!

RECENTLY ADDED: Republic Records later produced and Angelina Jordan Official posted on July 15, 2021 a new video of Angelina Jordan singing 7th Heaven in a club setting with an audience. The story line includes a waitress listening to Angelina and the band rehearse, working in the kitchen dreaming of what her life could be, then at the live performance. It includes footage of her and Angelina horsing around in the kitchen. Very funny and cute.

The Barefoot Princess / Jazz Queen

You may have noticed that Angelina sings barefoot. There is a reason for that. While living abroad with her family in the Middle East she came upon a poor young girl, her own age at the time, around 6 years old. She was weighing people to earn money to feed her orphaned brothers and sisters. Angelina discovered this when she spoke to her. She also noticed that the girl was barefoot and had scars on her feet.

Angelina asked her what she wanted to become. She replied, a doctor, but didn’t think it could happen. Angelina strongly told her to never give up her dreams. She took off her favorite green shoes and gave them to her. The girl resisted at first, then thanked her, and said she would pray every day for her to fulfill her dream to become a superstar and sing for the whole world. Angelina told the story in this Variety Media interview.

So, in honor of and inspired by that girl, Angelina always performs barefoot and still thinks of her, and the many homeless and shoeless children everywhere. Angelina actually went on to raise millions of Euros for children and families in need. Talk about putting yourself in other people’s shoes, or in this case, giving your shoes to someone in need! Angelina’s empathy and compassionate heart are expressed through her actions as well as her amazing voice!

Angelina’s empathy and compassionate heart are expressed through her actions as well as her amazing voice!

Publishes “Between Two Hearts

At 9 years of age, Angelina became Norway’s youngest author when she published a book about this story. Between Two Hearts is illustrated by her grandmother Mery Zamani, herself a child prodigy who became a famous poet and painter at a very early age. Mery exposed Angelina to jazz before she could read or write, and is responsible for her desire to become a jazz singer. They create art together, and design and make her own clothing. Mery tapes the many videos of Angelina singing. She also paints the backdrops for some of them, including images in the animated sequence for the lyric version of Million Miles. Some of her images were made into clothing that Angelina wears, like the colorful pant suit she wore in her first appearance on AGT, when she sang Bohemian Rhapsody.

In a Book Talk podcast published by Angelina Jordan’s publisher, Cappelen Damm, in 2015, Erling Kittelsen, a Norwegian author and poet and friend of the family, talks with Angelina about her book. When he was first shown her diary containing that episode with the barefoot girl, he said it should be made into a book. English subtitles have now been provided by her fan club. In between we hear excerpts of Angelina singing and small extracts from “Mellom to hjerter” (Between Two Hearts). It is very moving and gives us a glimpse into who Angelina really is. For her, “Love is very … Love means everything.” Angelina’s book has been translated into English and is available for purchase as an eBook on her website: https://www.angelinajordanofficial.com/book.

(See a footnote below that I added after ordering and reading the eBook.)

The week her book came out, Angelina Jordan was interviewed by Anne Lindmo on the NRK TV show “Lindmo” (Nov 14, 2015). Ms. Lindmo asked Angelina to share the story of why she sings barefoot and to tell the story of how she met a poor barefoot girl when she was 6 years old. She then brings out Angelina’s actual diary for her to read what she wrote after that encounter with the girl. That Norwegian interview has now been translated with English subtitles. Click on the CC to watch it here.

The whole family nourishes and supports Angelina in her career. In fact, her uncle is her manager, her mother handles publicity, and her grandmother is her stylist. They have been very protective of Angelina, wanting her to still enjoy her childhood and complete her education as she pursues her dream to become an international star. Throughout it all Angelina remains unpretentious and is happily focused on manifesting her musical destiny. In a reactor video, GEB Endeavors comments on how Angelina’s uncle became her manager and eventually paved the way for the family to move to LA to pursue her career in music. It’s happening!

It is interesting to note that instead of bowing when an audience applauds her, she curtsies. She always comes across as dignified yet humble, respectful and loving. A rare talent and a very special soul.

Revealing insights into Angelina’s inner world

When Angelina performs, she is in her element. She is calm and fearless. It is natural for her to powerfully project the emotional content of a song. She appears extroverted on stage, yet is in her own world. But ask her questions in an interview, and she gives short answers. She seems shy, introverted. She’s not comfortable expressing herself personally. However, it seems to be easier for her the older she gets.

I think she may be an introvert by nature and inhabits a rich inner world. She comes from a deep place. We get a glimpse of that world when she sings, and are transformed by it. Here are a few hints I’ve noticed in some interviews.

In this 2016 Norway TV News Feature, Angelina tells the interviewer: “I want to sing for the whole world. Singing is as important as breathing to me. I just love to sing.” That says it all.

I want to sing for the whole world. Singing is as important as breathing to me. I just love to sing. — Angelina Jordan

Angelina is quite young in this interview when she said: “I close my eyes and go in a different world.” Her mother Sarah said: “I came home one day when my mother looked after her. She was well eighteen months, and sang a Whitney Houston song in bed. I was almost shocked. It was so beautiful! We quickly realized that she had very great interest in music. It is she who is first and foremost musical in the family. Neither my husband nor I are particularly musical.” This video, Angelina Jordan – The Evolution, includes that clip of Angelina singing as a baby.

I close my eyes and go in a different world.

A young Angelina to an interviewer asking her about her singing.

Angelina was 1 of 10 finalists in America’s Got Talent: The Champions 2020, and the winner was going to be announced that night. In this Short Interview from LA in Norwegian TV2 Monday Feb 17, 2020, the interviewer asks Angelina about the public’s response to her singing. She told the interviewer that “it’s absolutely incredible that there are so many people who send so many millions of messages,” and quoted a few.

Q: How do you prevent this from getting to your head?

A: I take it all in…and use it to spread love to everyone all over the world.

I take it all in…and use it to spread love to everyone all over the world.

Angelina Jordan’s response to a Norwegian reporter in LA asking her how she prevents all this attention from going to her head.

On Scandinavian TV, (Singer Angelina Jordan: – I don’t feel like a 12-year-old | SVT/TV 2/Skavlan) Skavlan asks Angelina some deep questions. Her answers are revealing!

At the start of the interview in Norwegian, Skavlan asks Angelina, “What do you find easiest: singing or speaking?

She doesn’t hesitate to answer, “Singing and writing,” which is what you’d expect from an introvert. He confirms her answer by asking, “Singing and writing is easiest? Not speaking?” Smiling and chuckling, she shyly nods her head in agreement.

They then switch to speaking in English.

Q: My first question is, when I see you on stage, I wonder, who do you feel that you become?

A: When I sing I go to another world. In the world, it’s like, endless. It’s amazing. (smiles and laughs)

Q: What do you mean by endless?

A: Like, full of happiness, and, I love… It’s amazing!

Q: Many people say that you don’t sound like a 12-year-old. Do you feel like a 12-year-old?

A: I feel like a 12-year-old when I look at my passport.

When I sing I go to another world. In the world, it’s like, endless. It’s amazing. … Like, full of happiness, and, I love … It’s amazing!

Angelina Jordan answers Skavlan’s questions about what happens to her when she sings on stage.

He mentions a song that she’s written and will soon perform, and asks her what it’s about. She explains, “It’s about someone you love, wherever you are, it’s a strong love, protects you.”

The song sounds like a religious prayer, which could also serve as the theme song for a Bond movie. Skavlan said it reminded him of the Bond films and asks her if she’s familiar with them. She tells him that she got the inspiration for her song from the Bond films. He asks if she would sing a little bit of her favorite Bond song, and she does, acapela, Diamonds Are Forever.

Listen to her sing her song Shield with the band. It is powerful! Skavlan posted it Nov 12, 2018. There’s a video of her performing this song with a band in an open air concert the following year in Norway, Jul 12, 2019, when she was 13.

Describing her destiny

In this Feb 4, 2021 People (Magazine) article, Alyssa Johnson asks her: Where do you hope to see yourself in five years from now?

A: I’ll have an important name in the music industry and to make timeless music that can live forever. Also to give the best music experience to people and for them to enjoy and feel emotional or dance or make memories with the music I make.

I’ll have an important name in the music industry and to make timeless music that can live forever. Also to give the best music experience to people and for them to enjoy and feel emotional or dance or make memories with the music I make.

Angelina Jordan’s answer to a People (Magazine) reporter asking her where she hopes to see herself in 5 years.

Angelina is definitely following her bliss and manifesting her purpose in life! True to her name, Angelina Jordan Astar is an angel and a star sent here to fulfill her destiny and awaken a range of emotions in our hearts and touch our souls with her incredible voice! After Angelina auditioned for NGT, one of the judges concluded her remarks with this statement: You ARE music!

Reacting to Angelina singing Cry Me A River, vocal coach Ceci Dover exclaimed in disbelief: “She can sing like this? This is impossible. Oh my gosh! She’s music. She’s jazz. She’s soul. Oh my gosh, I don’t know what to say. She’s amazing! That’s what I want to say.”

Indeed! That about sums it up.

Angelina Jordan’s social media, fan clubs, and overviews

Visit her official site: Angelina Jordan, and her various social media accounts: YouTube and CoverChannel to see selected videos of her performing well-known songs, including some of her own; and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. To support Angelina join her on Patreon. Read her profile on Republic Records.

This Angelina Jordan Fanclub Mosarz, run by her grandmother, posts clips she’s taken of family and friends, concerts, and rare behind the scenes footage. Here are two examples: rehearsing the song, What is Life? that she composed for the orchestra and wrote the lyrics, and an exclusive backstage rehearsal for AGT.

See Angelina Jordan Fan Club – The Shield mentioned above and their YouTube compilations.

Visit Rusty Shackelford’s YouTube Channel for a complete list of every song Angelina has performed. In Rusty’s complimentary response to voice coach Julia Nilon‘s in-depth technical reaction to Angelina’s performance of “I Put A Spell On You” he gives her a comprehensive review of the young singer’s history that’s worth reading.

My Time also created a great compilation of Angie’s Music +.

Andy Schnell gives a more current and complete overview of Angelina in a comment to the Fairy Voice Mother’s response to Angelina singing Bohemian Rhapsody on AGT. This was the first time this vocal coach ever listened and reacted to Angelina sing. She gave an excellent explanation and analysis of how Angelina was creating the sounds in her voice, and was moved to tears listening to such a rare talent.

Also see Wikiwand’s page for Angelina Jordan.

Added footnote: I just bought and finished reading the eBook of Between Two Hearts. I was just as moved by her story and the way she tells it of why she sings barefoot as I am when I hear her sing, even more so. What an evolved soul for such a young girl! Through the eyes of a child, Angelina innocently makes us see and understand the suffering of a homeless little girl, and why she was moved to do something about it in her own small way. This was definitely a life-transforming experience for Angelina that continues today. (And probably for that homeless girl as well.) I understand why she went on to raise money for homeless families. If they publish a hardback copy in English, I would buy it again. Her grandmother’s childlike artwork adds a lot to the book.

More updates: On July 31, 2021, Angelina posted an original slowed-down, jazzed-up cover version of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. Check out the colorful sets. An amazing production! On August 26, 2021, she followed that up with a similar treatment of The Beatles song, Yesterday.

On October 14, 2021, after a 6-year absence, Adele posted her new song, Easy On Me. The next day, Angelina’s Fanclub posted a TikTok clip of her singing the song. The day after that Angelina premiered her amazing cover of the song: Angelina Jordan – Easy On Me (Adele Cover) Live From Studio! Republic Records produced the in-studio black and white video of Angelina at the mic with just her piano accompanist. Angelina pours her heart and soul into this song. Her voice continues to mature as well as her vocal dexterity. Surprisingly, she sounds even better! I posted a comment on the quality of the silence I felt at the end of the song. There have already been many videos posted on YouTube reacting to Angelina’s cover of Adele’s song. See this most effusive reaction from Adam Straughan.

Conclusion: Fill my heart with song and let me sing for evermore

Today, Sept 22, 2021, is the Autumnal Equinox, and as I was listening to Angelina Jordan (8) – Fly Me To The Moon – The View 2014, these words from the song caught my attention: ‘Fill my heart with song and let me sing for evermore.’ I realized it echoed her quote at the top of this post. Singing is her raison d’être! She wants to fill the world with song and love.

Posts on other great musical artists

The hauntingly beautiful voice of Eva Cassidy || Colin Hay’s song—I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You—is so relevant during these tough times || Lissie @lissiemusic and her connections to Twin Peaks, Fairfield and #TranscendentalMeditation || Leonard Cohen said there’s a crack in everything—how the light gets in. It came thru him & lit up a broken humanity. || The hauntingly beautiful music of Davy Spillane played on uilleann pipes and low whistle

Donovan celebrates 75th birthday, releases video of ‘I Am The Shaman’ produced by David Lynch

May 9, 2021

Donovan celebrates his 75th birthday with the release of a video single ‘I Am The Shaman’ in collaboration with David Lynch and launches an appeal for teaching Transcendental Meditation to students in Ireland.

Photographer : Jamue Caldentey : c Donovan Discs 2021

Donovan, world famous singer songwriter, who shot to fame with his extraordinary folk music in the 1960s and spent time with Maharishi and the Beatles in Rishikesh, India, now celebrates his 75th birthday on May 10th 2021. To mark the occasion Donovan is releasing a new video single with iconic filmmaker David Lynch. 

‘I Am The Shaman’ is available on: www.donovan.ie, Spotify, You Tube, and other platforms after May 10th.

At the same time Donovan is launching an appeal for teaching Transcendental Meditation to students in his native Ireland. If you would like to contribute: paypal.me/donovanleitch.

Also, please consider leaving a birthday greeting on his official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DonovanOfficial.

Donovan, who was inducted to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014, says: “David and I are compadres on a creative path rarely travelled, and we bring Transcendental Meditation to the world. Thanks for all your support!”

How it happened

“It was all impromptu,” Donovan explains. “I visited the studio and David said, ‘Sit at the mics with your guitar Don.’” He continued, “He had asked me to only bring in a song just emerging, not anywhere near finished. We would see what happens. It happened!”

Donovan said he “composed extempore … the verses came naturally. New chord patterns effortlessly appeared. He added, “On another day David ‘sound sculpted’ my Ferrington acoustic guitar ‘Kelly’ and he played his unique Modal Chord Ferrington Guitar textures with ‘effects’.”

The video was released today, May 10 for Donovan’s 75th birthday, in hopes of raising money to help him “give students TM Meditation.” Transcendental Meditation is a type of meditation that is taught to students one-on-one. Lynch is another major proponent of it, and organized a livestream festival benefitting his Meditate America initiative for the David Lynch Foundation. Donovan stated, “David and I are ‘compadres’ on a creative path rarely travelled. And we bring TM Meditation to the world.” 

Some news coverage

wxdmw: This article goes into how the song and video came together in David Lynch’s LA studio: Donovan Enlists David Lynch to Direct New Video for “I Am The Shaman”.

Pitchfork: David Lynch Directs New Video for Donovan Song “I Am the Shaman”: Watch. The song was produced by Lynch and mixed by collaborator Dean Hurley.

Rolling Stone: Donovan Taps David Lynch to Direct New Video for 2010 Song ‘I Am the Shaman’. Filmmaker also co-produced the song, which first appeared on the folk legend’s album, Ritual Groove.

IndieWire: David Lynch Directs Psychedelic Music Video to Celebrate Donovan’s 75th Birthday — Watch. With black-and-white images of stars and skulls and a droning soundscape, “I Am the Shaman” is a very Lynchian affair.

NME: David Lynch directs video for new Donovan song, ‘I Am The Shaman’. “David and I are ‘Compadres’ on a creative path rarely travelled”.

Stereogum: David Lynch Directs Donovan’s “I Am The Shaman” Video.

This news was reported on IMDb and many more places on the internet.

# # #

The last time Donovan was in Fairfield he performed at the Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts and at Fairfest 2016: Sunshine Superman Donovan is a Very Mellow Fellow, a Hurdy Gurdy Man with Loving Vibes.

Enjoy Jim Carrey’s wise advice to the MUM class of 2014 animated by After Skool’s Mark Wooding

January 27, 2021

A friend sent me this link on wimp: Jim Carrey’s wise words about chasing acceptance. This voiceover was taken from Jim’s inspiring speech at MUM Graduation in 2014. I had posted videos from that amazing day and some of the many news reports. Jim’s speech has been seen by around 15 million people and was selected twice as one of the top ten commencement addresses of 2014.

Mark Wooding, a San Francisco native, created this white board animation on After Skool using highlights from Jim’s speech: the NEED for Acceptance Will Make You INVISIBLE – Jim Carrey. Here’s part of his introduction to the video posted Oct 3, 2017.

Life does NOT happen to you, it happens FOR you. Many things in life are outside of our control, but the way we respond to events can shape our reality. Viewing challenges as opportunities, not misfortunes, will help you lead a productive, successful life. We all know Jim Carrey for his comedy, but he is now spreading joy through his inspiring words.

Mark wrote on his Patreon page: “My goal with After Skool is to enhance the most empowering ideas with my art. I animate the ideas that have impacted my life in a beneficial way, and hopefully by sharing them, they have helped you in some way.” Visit his website to see more of his amazing work: kRAMgallery.

Maharishi University of Management (MUM) was later changed back to Maharishi International University (MIU), its original name.

Asheville TM Center offers free Transcendental Meditation courses to help health care workers find peace during COVID-19 chaos

January 25, 2021

Group tries to help health care workers find peace during COVID-19 chaos by Caitlyn Penter for ABC 13 News. Monday, January 18th 2021

WLOS ABC 13 News, Asheville, NC VIEW ALL 7 PHOTOS

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — Medical experts say health care workers are experiencing higher rates of burnout, exhaustion and even PTSD as they continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

One group is trying to change that.

Tom and Jeanne Ball, directors at the Asheville TM Center, joined the national Heal The Healers Now project to offer free Transcendental Meditation training for health care workers who are experiencing higher rates of burnout, exhaustion and even PTSD as they continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Click to see video of WLOS ABC News 13 Report

Tom and Jeanne Ball, directors at the Asheville TM Center, have joined the national Heal The Healers Now project to offer free Transcendental Meditation training for health care workers. This is happening at a time when those involved in the project said health care workers need it the most.

“We found before the pandemic a year ago, found that half of physicians anyway were reporting significant levels of burnout,” said Dr. Stuart Rothenberg, medical director of the Center for Health and Wellness. “Now, we have 75 to 80% reporting significant burnout,” said Stuart Rothenberg, MD, Medical Director of the Center for Health and Wellness.

Tom Ball said health care workers need a way to do destress.

“Our health care workers that are so overly stressed and overly taxed right now,” Tom Ball said.

He said the Transcendental Meditation technique is a way for them to find peace during the chaos.

“Practice 15, 20 minutes a day, just sit comfortably with your eyes closed,” Tom Ball said.

Jeanne Ball said she’s teaching a nurse right now.

“She’s told me that she’s been able to take a break at the hospital and just sit down and do this,” Jeanne Ball said.

Michael Stephens, an Asheville area doctor, agreed with the technique’s effectiveness. He learned the technique before the pandemic.

“Working in a COVID environment is very suffocating. Wearing protective gear all the time and having to wear masks and gowns and gloves and shields is very suffocating, both physically hard to breath and emotionally,” Stephens said. “The Transcendental Meditation just really gives respite.”

Rothenberg said a national survey found that since the pandemic 76% of health care workers feel emotionally exhausted and 50% said they cry frequently at work, with 67% of nurses saying they cry frequently at work.

“We don’t really see the light at the end of tunnel for our health care workers,” he said. “It’s just an opportunity, twice a day, to get out of that cycle.”

The Balls said the free course they are offering is held over four days with 1.5 hours each day.

For more information click here.

Also posted January 19, 2021 on KCTV 5.

Wishing you a Happy Holidays, regardless of dietary restrictions! Enjoy the gift of laughter.

December 25, 2020

Laughter is the best gift we can give each other during these stressful times. A friend sent out several humorous videos with holiday wishes. One, to me, was the funniest. It reminded me of earlier times around the family dinner table. Maybe not as extreme, but that’s where the humor lies, by making us laugh at ourselves through exaggeration.

Here’s the hilarious short video CBC Comedy posted from 22 Minutes: How to deal with dietary restrictions at Christmas dinner. Catering Christmas dinner to everyone’s diet can be a difficult task these days. Luckily, there are some easy solutions.

Enjoy your holidays, with or without family. Hopefully, next year will be a better one for us all. For more laughs, see: Good cartoons teach us a lot if we’re willing to learn and laugh at our little foibles and neuroses.

Another hilarious holiday video was posted by Saturday Night Live 5 years earlier called A Thanksgiving Miracle – SNL.

Entrepreneur @SigurdVedal and #TM teacher Lakos Antal discuss how to build a better life

November 15, 2020

Doug Rexford sent me a link to an interview on The Sigurd Vedal Show. Sigurd Verdal is an American-Norwegian tech entrepreneur, successful multi-business owner, investor, and CEO of Vedal Media Group. Sigurd invited his TM teacher, Lakos Antal, on his show for a lively discussion on how to build a better life with Transcendental Meditation. The names of the host and his guest were unfamiliar to me, but as soon as I saw and heard the TM teacher speak, I recognized him as Tony.

Sigurd Vedal interviews Tony Antal: How to build a better life with Transcendental Meditation.

I had met Tony, as we knew him, and his friend Peter, around 20 years ago on an international TM course for men in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. They were friendly young TM teachers from Hungary who had worked on international projects. Coincidentally, years later, Peter had become a student here at MIU, married a fellow student, had a son, and is now completing his doctoral thesis on a TM research study.

Tony had learned TM in high school when he was 15. Within 3 weeks he noticed it gave him added energy and clarity of mind. He was a straight ‘A’ student and was expected to follow his family’s tradition of becoming a medical doctor. During his first year of medical school Tony would come to realize that the medical profession only dealt with treating diseases, not preventing them.

Becoming a TM teacher instead of a doctor

After a year of medical college Tony felt it really wasn’t what he wanted to do with his life and followed his heart’s desire instead to become a TM teacher. Turns out it was the right decision for him. One of the things he did was give Introductory talks to medical students. Many of them started as they needed something to help them deal with the stressful challenges of their chosen profession.

Interestingly, Stritch School of Medicine, affiliated with Loyola University Chicago, was the first to make TM available as an elective course. It’s been part of the medical curriculum for four years now. See The first Transcendental Meditation elective course offered at a major US medical school. Two years ago the Catholic Health Association of the United States published an excellent report on the program in Catholic Health World: Medical students learn meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness.

Tony told Sigrud that when he was a student in Budapest, meditation was a foreign concept. Today, millions of people of all ages and backgrounds around the world have learned to meditate, including famous celebrities who praise the benefits of TM. With hundreds of scientific studies verifying its efficacy, TM is part of wellness programs and recommended by doctors to patients with high blood pressure and other stress-related diseases. TM has been shown to help veterans suffering from PTSD.

I emailed some questions to Tony and he said he taught TM to Sigurd in August. Since Sigrud has business ties to Hungary, the interview took place in his Budapest apartment. They had both tested negative for COVID before they got together. Sigurd shared how TM has helped him to maintain a more even perspective in stressful situations, and that he is now able to fall asleep without the aid of sleeping pills.

Sigrud asked Tony some practical questions prompting him to go into more detail, which he did by sketching his ideas out on paper. They also edited in graphs and animated sequences illustrating Tony’s points, as well as video footage of people meditating in different situations.

Meeting with the president of Hungary

One story Sigrud really wanted Tony to share was his interaction with TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the end of his TM Teacher Training Course. Based on Tony’s answer to a particular question, Maharishi suggested that he contact the president of his homeland, Hungary, with a solution to his governmental problems. Maharishi even gave Tony a message to relay to the president on his behalf! How such an improbable meeting could occur, and how the president would respond to the presentation and Maharishi’s personal message were beyond Tony.

Listen to how it all unfolded, halfway through their conversation. It reveals a fascinating insight into the workings of leadership and collective consciousness—the highlight of this discussion for me. Tony told me that the story about the president made him realize that the government is really just an innocent mirror of the collective consciousness of the nation, as Maharishi had taught us. He explained the mechanics of this concept to Sigurd in the podcast video.

Don Henley and Lissie use the same approach to writing songs—don’t force it and wash the dishes!

October 4, 2020

I enjoy listening to songwriters talk about their creative process—how they approach the task of writing a song, the kind of strategies they use.

How Don Henley writes his songs

I recently watched a 92nd Street Y interview posted on YouTube in 2015. American Rock royalty Billy Joel and Eagles drummer and singer-songwriter Don Henley covered a lot of ground in 85 minutes. One of the things Joel asked Henley about was what does he do to get himself into the space where he can write songs.

Don tells Billy how he may hole up in a cabin, or somewhere where he won’t be disturbed, and shuts out all electronic distractions. He also says he doesn’t just sit there and write; he can’t force the words to come. He says he follows the zen-like advice to do a simple task first.

He tells the audience, “I’m dead serious. I’ve written some of my best stuff loading and unloading the dishwasher! Because you’re distracted and yet you’re not. I don’t know how to explain the thing. But I’ve read about the zen masters saying the same thing—if you can just do a menial task instead of sitting there with a pen and paper, in front of you going, (he clenches his fists and grunts).” The embedded video may play from the beginning, but that part of the discussion starts at 57:14.

How Lissie writes her songs

That reminds me of the exact same thing Lissie said in The A-Sides Interview. She discusses how she is learning to balance art with commerce, and spontaneity with structure. Describing her creative process she usually comes up with a melody, sometimes working with other musicians, then later writes the lyrics alone.

When writing lyrics, she’s “careful to not force it” and is always surprised when rhyming phrases pop into her head “when washing the dishes, not focusing hard on the lyrics.” That’s when she’s presented with newer better word choices she hadn’t thought of.

She emphasizes finding a balance: “being spontaneous, yet structured.” The embedded video may play from the beginning, but that part of the interview starts at 4:58.

How Colin Hay writes his songs

Another singer-songwriter I had discovered and recently wrote about is Colin Hay. When it comes to writing songs he says he likes to have as empty a mind as possible and puts himself in a space where he won’t be interrupted. He emphasizes that time is important, to give himself enough time to fail. He describes a scene where he’s all alone for 3 or 4 hours without any distractions, just sitting with his acoustic guitar doing nothing, just idling, coming up with musical ideas.

At other times, a friend may drop by and mention something in passing that will act as a catalyst to what he’s been thinking about. It triggers the melody, and then the words spontaneously come out in one take. In those cases he’ll quickly finish a song in under an hour. That’s how he wrote Waiting for my Real Life to Begin.

He explains all this in a 2011 CNN interview with Brooke Baldwin when she asks him where he was when he wrote that song, then quotes some of the lyrics to him. The embedded video may play from the beginning, but that part of the interview starts at 3:52.

TM, creativity, and the default mode network

Our minds are usually working on a particular problem, consciously and unconsciously. I’ve had the same thing happen to me when I’m writing a poem or a blog post and reach an impasse. I give up, let it go, and, surprisingly, the right solution later presents itself when I least expect it.

Science calls that place in our brains the default mode network (DMN), a.k.a. the imagination network or genius lounge. It’s activated when the mind is daydreaming, not engaged or concentrating on anything, just “idling” as Colin Hay put it. The key is to be easy. Focusing or “forcing it” turns it off.

Interestingly, the DMN is also activated during the effortless practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique as practitioners experience a state of “restful alertness.” Sometimes great ideas may show up during, but more likely after TM, what David Lynch calls, “Catching the Big Fish.” He often tells students, “TM is a boon for the filmmaker.” It facilitates access to one’s inner resources to create and think out of the box.

Jon Bon Jovi says washing dishes brings on hit songs

Addendum: Jon Bon Jovi, who loves doing TM, shared the same experience as Don Henley and Lissie on Monday night’s A Late Show with Stephen Colbert when they discussed the events that influenced his new album, Bon Jovi 2020. He told Colbert how the song Do What You Can came about when he was washing dishes in one of their JBJ Soul Kitchens during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bon Jovi concluded, “Washing dishes brings on hit songs, Stephen.

Related: Lissie @lissiemusic and her connections to Twin Peaks, Fairfield and #TranscendentalMeditation and Colin Hay’s song—I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You—is so relevant during these tough times


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