Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

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!

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 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. Watch Angelina Jordan: ALL Performances on America’s Got Talent Champions.

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.

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.

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

Colin Hay’s song—I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You—is so relevant during these tough times

September 17, 2020

For anyone who’s gone through a breakup, or the traumatic loss of a loved one during these tough times of COVID-19, forest fires, and other natural catastrophes, this nostalgic song by Colin Hay may move you to tears. That kind of cathartic experience, acknowledging and feeling the loss, may help in the healing of it, relieving some of the grief over time.

I first heard I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You in the Garden State soundtrack. A while back a friend posted it on her Instagram. I listened to several YouTube videos of him singing it, along with other great songs, and funny stories he shares with audiences during his shows.

You can see the lyrics and history of the song here. It was re-released on Transcendental Highway and posted on his YouTube channel. It has a softer, quieter feel to it, especially the ending, compared to these more powerful live performances on Paste, and more recently on eTown. I’ll embed it here, but I recommend hearing all 3 selections.

I discovered that Colin Hay had been part of the world-famous Australian musical phenomenon, Men At Work in the early 80’s. Their first massive hit, Down Under, was heard everywhere for months. Hay was their lead singer, guitarist, and main songwriter. After the band broke up, a few members at a time, and their label dropped him, a downward spiral into addiction followed. His wife left him. He would eventually seek help and attempt to launch his musical career as a solo artist with not much luck.

He moved to LA and became the first musician to play at Largo, a new club frequented by people in the entertainment business. He soon gained a following, was discovered and produced. What helped relaunch his career was when Scrubs star Zach Braff encouraged producer Bill Lawrence to see him perform at the club. Bill’s wife, Christa Miller, had already become a fan earlier on and was always raving about him.

After he heard Colin perform, Bill couldn’t understand why his songs were not more successful. He decided to feature some of them in his popular TV show. Colin is seen performing Overkill in one episode, while Waiting For My Real Life To Begin is sung by the cast in another. That song has been featured in eight different popular television series. The song is also heard early on in the soundtrack to the 2010 film Morning Glory and in the 2014 film soundtrack to Words and Pictures.

Zach asked Colin if he could use one of his songs for a movie he was making. The Garden State film and soundtrack would become a huge hit, which included, “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You”. The CD went platinum, which also put Hay’s music out there in a very big way. The TV show, movie and CD introduced him to a much larger, younger audience. It changed everything for him. He had paid his dues and humbly moved into one of the most stable and rewarding phases of his career. He also married singer Cecilia Noël, who often provides backup vocals at his shows. Noël has also helped with production on Hay’s solo albums.

Colin Hay: Waiting For My Real Life

In 2015, an independent documentary film was made about him, appropriately titled: Colin Hay – Waiting For My Real Life. Here is a comprehensive Summary posted on IMDb, followed by the official trailer. https://www.colinhayfilm.com

‘Colin Hay – Waiting For My Real Life’ is the story of singer-songwriter Colin Hay, former front-man of Men At Work. We follow Hay from his earliest days in Scotland, through his family’s emigration to Australia, to the massive, worldwide success of his band, to the depths of addiction and failure, to a slow climb back up the ladder seeking relevance, artistic freedom and ultimately, transcendence. Featuring interviews with Hugh Jackman, Mick Fleetwood, Sia Furler, Guy Pearce and many others, ‘Colin Hay – Waiting For My Real Life’ is the inspiring story of a true artist.

In the film Hay says, “Creativity is my salvation, and going out on the road.” Performing his music in front of appreciative live audiences feeds his soul. “It’s clean, it’s pure,” he says. “It has to do with connecting with people, you know.” He says he keeps touring because, “It makes me feel useful.” It also gives him a natural high, a healthier kind of addiction.

His artistry has staying power. One musician in the film says his music is intergenerational: his millennial fans don’t remember him from Men At Work, and the boomers don’t know him from Scrubs. American actress Wendie Malick says he’s the best living troubadour today. I agree. Plus, he looks like a man at peace with himself. Colin concludes, “Everybody has to find their place in this expanding universe. This is my place.”

Playing with Ringo Starr

Colin Hay met two Beatles and played with one of them. In 2008 he toured with Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band. Hay performed his classic hit Down Under with the band during a show at the Greek Theatre in LA. Be sure to watch the final 15 seconds where after the show Ringo says to Colin, “I really laid it on you on that song ‘cuz you thought you were doing it all. There’s a solo coming!” He imitates Colin, ‘Okay.'” Colin smiles and says, “I was good though.” Ringo exclaims, “You were great!” He laughs and repeats ‘I was good though’ to one of the musicians next to him. Colin laughs with Ringo who loudly claps his hands twice.

Colin performed on several tours with Ringo and his All Starr Band. Click to see another great performance of Colin Hay singing Down Under with Ringo and a different combination of his All Starr Band, including a flutist, and Sheila E as the other drummer!

Hanging out with Paul McCartney

In addition to being a great guitarist-singer-songwriter, Colin Hay is a very funny storyteller. The most fascinating and hilarious story is meeting his childhood idol, Sir Paul McCartney. He relates occasions when Paul and his then wife Heather came to hear him perform, once just himself, another time with his band. After the concert Paul was backstage at the bar and invited the whole band to join him. He holds court for an hour. Then it’s just Paul and Colin. After an awkward silence, Colin asks him what he’s in LA for, and Paul tells him he’s finishing a record. Colin remarks, “Oh, a bit different from the old days, eh, making a record?” And Paul proceeded to tell him what it was like in the old days. Colin tells the audience: “And I could have stood there all night.”

Paul would pick up John and together they’d finish the new song he played for him as they sat in the upper deck of the bus on the way to the studio. When they arrived, George and Ringo were already there. Paul would show it to them, George would figure out the chords, and Ringo would tap out the rhythm. Then a man in a white lab coat would come in and say, “Right, you’re up lads.” They’d record two songs, break for lunch and a smoke, then record two more, with few takes.

Paul then tells Colin he and Heather would like to come over to Colin’s house for dinner. That part of the story is priceless! The audience loved it, as did I. You will too. It’s the preamble to him singing the title song of his reissued 2001 album, Going Somewhere, which Paul and Heather loved, and added to their rotation of favorite songs. It also contains the bonus track, I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You, which prompted this now ongoing blog post. Enjoy!

How Colin Hay writes his songs

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin interviewed Colin Hay on the occasion of his 11th solo album, Gathering Mercury, which was partly influenced by the death of his father in 2010. The discussion came around to how Colin writes his songs. I found this part of the interview fascinating.

When writing songs he says he likes to have as empty a mind as possible. 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 around with his acoustic guitar doing nothing, just idling, coming up with musical ideas.

He uses the image of a revolving door in a hotel lobby. If a bunch of bags are stacked up and it’s chaotic, there’s all this noise and bustle, any idea that comes in would turn around and go out the door. But if it’s quiet, and there’s a nice fountain, it may stick around for him to discover and turn it into a song.

Brooke asks him where he was when he wrote, Waiting for my Real Life to Begin. She quotes a section of the song: “And you say, just be here now. Forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin. Let me throw one more dice, I know that I can win. I’m waiting for my real life to begin.”

He describes how his song-writing buddy and drummer, Tom Mooney, had come over to his house. He asked him how he was doing, and he mumbled that he was waiting for his real life to begin. Tom left to do something else and Colin said it sparked what he had been thinking about. “It opened up a door.” It was the catalyst. The melody came, then the words. He wrote the song in 30-45 minutes.

Colin had moved to California to leave his old life behind in Melbourne, where he drank a lot, hung out with crazy people, thought about the past, and worried about the future. “Very rarely do we be where we are.” Brooke asks him if he does now and he answers that he’s learning. But when he does, “it can be quite profound; it can be life-changing.”

Coming full circle

I’ll leave you with this beautiful song, A Thousand Million Reasons, from Colin Hay’s 2017 solo release Fierce Mercy, his 13th. On the Track-By-Track Colin explains the song is about not letting fear rule your life and how to find meaning in the fact that although we may be alone, we are all alone together.

I found this cool website with a timeline biography, and an alphabetical listing of the lyrics and songs of Colin Hay and Men at Work posted on http://colinhay.com.br.

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

Norman McLaren’s 1968 NFB film ‘Pas de deux’ creates a spellbinding aesthetic experience

June 21, 2020

I remember seeing this beautiful short film when it first came out, either on Canadian television or in a theater. ‘Pas de deux‘ was made in 1968 by Norman McClaren at the National Film Board of Canada. I had never seen anything quite like it. There were no special effects; the technologies had not been developed yet. Expand it to full screen and enjoy a spellbinding aesthetic experience.

How it was made and received

Considered by many to be Norman McLaren‘s masterpiece, ‘Pas de deux‘ is a stunning meditation on form and movement. He photographed backlit dancers dressed in white against a black backdrop, then used an optical printer to expose individual frames up to 11 times.

The film is choreographed to the music of Romanian panpipes. Ludmilla Chiriaeff is the choreographer; Margaret Mercier and Vincent Warren are the dancers. Dobre Constantin plays the pan flute accompanied by the United Folk Orchestra of Romania.

The film won 20 awards, nationally and internationally, at festivals in Melbourne, Locarno, Buenos Aires, Chicago, New York and London, including a special Canadian Film Award for exceptional quality. It was nominated for best live-action short at the 1968 Academy Awards.


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