Sheer Musicianship – My Female Favorites

Time for my standard break into music – the one Universal language, aside from the beauty we behold with our eyes and other senses (are you listening Gardenia’s?) – and which, as a child of the 60’s, I most believe will bring our poor dispirited and disparate lives together at some future point – in spite of the lack of imagination we behold in our leaders, all.

My fondest hopes are quite often that we will award The Feminine a prominent seat at all of our spiritually- hungry tables, so ravenous we seem for beauty of form and intention in all of our lives and so reliable and unconditional the essential female willingness to love and nurture all under The Sun.

In that light, I decided to borrow the Anima from all of the God and Goddesses – and feature some of my most soul-enriching experiences in the realm of the tuneful females who I most appreciate and whose music has historically most moved me. Inasmuch as this is just a slice of them all – because many who will go unnamed have motivated my life and work – please bear with a very selfish exercise in making up a little listening program which may please me and no one else. Taste is individual and merely somewhat of a defining trait of any personality. The fact that my omissions might speak louder than my inclusions is always the chance one takes when confessing.

My first favorite – for all sorts of quite topical reasons – is Loreena McKinnnitt. Those “topical reasons” reflect her embrace of Moorish/Semitic influences as the concert below reflects, having been taped at Alhambra Palace. The tune itself is Jewish in origin, a strange note added to the setting which seems so perfect for it as an expression of Mediterranean Culture in general. The lyrics are definitely not a challenge! 😉

I absolutely adore the Celtic interest in Semitic pieces like this and their adaptations. Ms. McKinnitt is a true mistress Boss at this. Plus, her band is so brilliant they literally wash a soul. Her lilting vocal style is simply fresh and wonderful, treating this catchy, energetic tune in the spirit of the Police’s “Doo-Doo-Doo, Dah-Dah-Dah”.

Enjoy “Santiago”.

Ofra Haza. Her life cut tragically short by HIV contracted from her husband, Ofra’s gifts were taken away from us unfairly and way too early. Uncommonly beautiful with one of the most amazing voices it has been my good fortune to ever listen to, this Yemeni Jewish lady brought popularity to a wide number of deserving cultures, from Yemen to Tel Aviv and Israel. Approachable, affable and humble, she encountered bizarre marketing capitalizing on her beauty into a Disco-esque local queen for a while. But she was always an artist inside and she later was able to prove how deeply she felt towards social issues in her uncompromising art. The video below is a splendid example of someone who looked at the world and described it, warts and all.

Ofra Haza is a true heroine of mine. I felt so delighted to encounter her when I did and I have saved that discovery to this very day in time. Here she performs at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1990. I feel this displays the vocal qualities I rave about – and her beauty – of soul and physically.

Kaddish (A prayer)

Betraying my Kentucky roots shamelessly, I don’t really care, lol. Emmylou Harris is a heartthrob of mine and I’m sticking with that story. While I had always really liked her work, when she put out the CD “Wrecking Ball”, combining with Daniel Lanois, it put her over the top in my estimation. But here I stray………I’ll post this one just for fun. Her twangy thing makes me wiggle.

Joan Baez was another heart throb……I have rarely heard a more delicate rendering of a Dylan classic made more famous yet by The Band – or anyone for that matter – this is given this poem………..

Few things are prettier than watching joyful competence…… Anoushka Shankar – Ravi’s daughter – makes fatherhood look like the gift it is. Imagine his pride:

This last one also betrays more of me than should be permissable. Combining my love for not only the soulful genre of country/bluegrass music at its best, but an expression regarding one of my all time favorite cities:

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