Sunday, 31 May 2015

Brothaz. . .

NZ Music month - Brothaz by Nesian Mystik

I've written about Nesian Mystik in a previous blog post (see Nesian Style).  I imagine that this is the type of song that you would play and reminisce with your friends, in particular your childhood friends about your history together.

My man we got history running deep beneath the physical
Connected together never rolling as individual 

Having grown up with brothers (no sisters), there is definitely something magical about the kindred spirits of going through growing pains together, being in situations together.  Of course this extends to all your platonic friends at school and who you 'kicked it with'.  This is the final blog post in this NZ Music month series and it's been a real journey through some of the best songs of my musical history.  

It ain't even like we're outgrowing each other ever since birth
We placed upon this earth as brothers. . . 

Second whanau man you like my surrogate aiga. . . 

Together we better than isolated as solo. . . 

The lyrics of the song speak for themselves.
The opening guitar introduction is classic Nesian Mystik before the beat drops and the keys provide countermelody support through the lil slides interspersed throughout the song.  Te Awanui Reeder provides the melodic hook and sings the majority of the song before the rest of the group take turns spinning some rhymes.  References to "uso" and "sole" are Samoan words that refer to brother (male to male and also can include female to female kinship ties) and sole is the colloquial term for brother (much like suga is the colloquial term for sister, although Samoan men will refer to their female partners as suga, so it is used as a colloquial term for babe or honey).

Now bro I'll be there for you
yea hold tight and I'll keep it true
No doubt
In those times of need I'm there indeed
Brother you see you don't even have to speak. . . 

I hope that wherever you find yourself in your life, that you have brothers (or sisters) close at hand to provide you with the support to get through those tough times.

When words are unnecessary and just being there is all that matters, then you'll know that you have your brothaz (or sistaz). . . 

Brother. . .

NZ Music month - Brother by Smashproof ft. Gin Wigmore

This track is a song request from +Rochelle Savage 

I've written about Smashproof in a previous blog post (see Paint Fade).  This track features Gin Wigmore, who sings the hook of the song.  She has a distinctive voice and adds a different flavour with her timbre in this song.  I've written about Gin Wigmore in a previous blog post as well (see Saturday smile).

Why is it that when some guy makes it outta a hood life
They're like, No we can't let ya
And allow five-oh to rape girls and compensate them like David Bikem
Is so wrong and expect us working people to fund your wages for you to uphold the law
Which is what exactly?
Probably won't get an answer to that one. . . 

What I love about this song is that it discusses the social issues about the media representation of South Auckland and more importantly the social injustice that happens when those tasked with protecting us and upholding the law - don't, and most likely think that they are above the law and can manipulate the system to work to their advantage.  
Self-preservation is a way of harking back to our primal instincts for survival.  I thought it was important to highlight some key lyrics from this song that show us quite clearly.  Do we have a collective responsibility to improve our local communities?  I think we do.  But we can't do that without first understanding how these communities see themselves and having them use their own voices to articulate what is going on.

Seen a dude in the dairy get stabbed for change. . . 
Take away a kid's life cause he tagged. . . 
Why you letting your little brother slang rocks outside. . . 
Why you lettin' your daddy abuse your children when they go to school. . . 

Each of these lines from the different verses in the song highlighted some major news headlines that happened around the time of the release of the video.  I'm not saying that we need to deny that these things happen, but the fact that the only representation of Māori and Pasifika peoples have been all of the incidents that perpetuate the racial microaggressions that haven't lead us down the pathways yet of the Watts Riots or situations like Ferguson.  We haven't got to that stage yet - but we're on the same path.

But you turned your back, and you went away
It's making me crazy, I feel so alone
Why did you turn your back, why did you go away?
Cause you were my brother and you should of stayed. . . 

It seems to me that this part of the song, with all of its underlying sentiment, man it just makes me ache.  The argument of young children not having the positive older siblings or positive older friends to be able to look out for them - it's the situations of the circumstances that we never get the full picture of in these media headlines.  We only get the surface features, nobody bothers to talk about the continual system failure that our children are subjected to.  There have been copious arguments about people producing children that they can't clothe or feed, can't afford to raise.  People start slinging comments about contraception and not having children.  I put it down as simple as - warmth.
When you think about the need for humans to have comfort. warmth and love - this leads to love making and the production of children.  Granted there are a whole host of other reasons for why there are higher birthrates in some ethnic populations compared to others - but man, I can see that is one of them.  How do I know?  Because I've taught children who were products of that need for human love, comfort and warmth.

I got some questions in my mind that definitely need some answers right now
'Cause I gotta know
Got all the pieces to the puzzle, but can't seem to make it fit
But I'm lost, tell me where to go. . . 

Don't fight it. . .

NZ Music Month - Don't fight it by Revere

This blog post is particularly exciting for me to write.  Why you may ask?  Because the artists are former students of mine at the last high school that I taught at.  The band is Revere (or Revere 3 / Rever3) and they are made up of guitarist Tatupu Fata, male vocalist and brother of the guitarist Petaia Fata and female vocalist Seidah Tuaoi.  The talented trio are natural performers, perfectionists in their own right when it comes to public performances.

I step away sometimes, when you're caught up in the moment
Let's go to another place where the night's filled with romancing
The lights are getting bright, and I never want to leave it
Tonight let's get that rhyme, and the rest cannot believe it 

It's always good to blow off steam and have a night out on the town, catching up with friends (and potentially making new ones!).  The clubbing hasn't really changed much (does it ever change?).  All that changes is the new joints that attract new clientele and the type of vibe that you're going for.  I always found it funny that you had to be seen to be frequenting the right establishments to meet the right people (that never changes, no matter what social circle you roll in).  But the one constant with me, is that I just like to dance and I like listening to live music.  To me, there's nothing more electric than connecting with musicians when they perform and seeing how much they groove and enjoy making music.

So don't fight it
I can't help this feeling I just get so excited 
Tonight is the night, don't fight it
I can't help this feeling I just get so excited
Don't let them stand drunk/stay and drink (?)/ don't wanna stay drunk (?)

Excuse the confusion with the last one.  I've tried listening countless times and I get more confused everytime haha.  It's the anticipation that is palpable isn't it?  When you're waiting for something, you don't know what it is, but the occasion of it, you know it's going to be a big night, there are countless possibilities and you don't know what to expect.  I guess it boils down to the expectation of something happening.  It could be anything, and I think that's a great approach to life.  You don't know what life holds, but you know that as soon as tonight - it will bring something that you never imagined.  That's exciting in itself to think about.

Girl forget your past, make this moment last
You have the freedom to do what you want to do yeah
So leave the stress behind, take it off your mind
And groove the night away, you'll be just fine

I think this is an important verse, because I think we don't actually know how much freedom we have, until it is taken or stolen from us without our permission.  Most of the time we don't choose to use or explore our freedom to its fullest extent.  Now I'm not suggesting that you push your civil liberties to the point of no return, but I think that we need to be living our best lives now, but we hold ourselves back.  We're our own worst enemies in this case.

Oh I've found love (what I have to give it girl)
Ooh they cannot take it away
Oh I've found love (what I have to give it girl)
Ooh they cannot take it away. . .

The song suggests that he can find love with you, because he can give you love.
But I hope that you think about how much love you need to give yourself, so that others can give you their love.  There's no point in waiting for someone to stumble across you in the hopes of receiving their love.  No, don't be that person.  That starts the horrible dependency cycle of obsessive stalker proportions that you won't be able to move past.  No, instead think about how much freedom you have - to love who you are and how much happier you can be - if you want to.

They can't take that away, so don't fight it :-)

How bizarre. . .

NZ Music month - How bizarre by OMC (Otara Millionaires Club)

Pauly Fuemana hails from music royalty (with Christina Fuemana and Phil Fuemana and you could include arts royalty, if you count his cousin Dianna actor and playwright).  Pauly enjoyed great success with this track overseas.  It topped the charts in six countries and features in two movie soundtracks in 1998, Palmetto and The Parent Trap starring Lindsay Lohan.

Brother Pele's in the back, sweet Zina's in the front
And we're cruising down the freeway in the hot hot sun
Suddenly red-blue lights flash us from behind
Loud voice booming, "Please step out into the line"
Pele preaches words of comfort, Zina just hides her eyes
Policeman taps his shades, "Is that a Chevy 69?"

How bizarre, how bizarre, how bizarre. . . 

The thing I love the most about this song is how it tells a story.  It draws you into the characters and how they behave, it gives you examples of what bizarre incidents happen when you're hanging out with your friends.  The wackiness of some events are almost totally too weird as to be unbelievable if you were to relay these stories to other people.

Destination unknown as we pull in for some gas
Freshly pasted poster reveals a smile from the past
Elephants and acrobats, lions snakes monkeys
Pele speaks "righteous" sister Zina says "funky"

How bizarre, how bizarre, how bizarre. . . 

Those are the memorable times that I've shared with friends that we reminisce for hours on end.
It's like a twisted plot in a movie, where an evening starts off simple enough, but then it's like a chemical reaction happens when other people in different places are added to the mix and boom. combustion.

Ooh baby 
It's making me crazy
Everytime I look around
Everytime I look around
It's in my face. . . 

You know a song is popular when there a parody of it.
Stole my car became a cult classic in its own right when it was released.
The parody served a reminder of how much impact the song had in Aotearoa before the global proportions it reached as well.

Pauly Fuemana passed away in 2010 after battling poor health for a number of years.  He died of complications resulting in respiratory failture.  He wanted the rest of Aotearoa to see Otara and South Auckland in a positive light.  The media representation of poorer communities or low-socio economic areas can often label and stigmatise the populations living there as being less than they actually are.

I can't think of NZ Music month without his work :-)

Don't fight it Marsha, it's bigger than the both of us. . .

NZ Music month - Don't fight it Marsh, it's bigger than the both of us by Blam blam blam

This track is a song request from +Rochelle Savage 

I have written about Blam blam blam in a previous blog post (see There is no depression in New Zealand also released in 1981). This track is the second smash single that made the band a household name in Aotearoa.

It's been some time, a year or so 
If you weren't coping you would have let me know
My friends say I do too much, I've got a lot on my plate
But if there was something, I wouldn't hesitate

Once again it's communication isn't it?  Do you think about how much people rely on you, how much your partner relies on you?  Having too much on your plate suggests that you're a person who can't say no and takes too many things on your board.  You might think that you always have room on your plate to fit something in and that overcrowding the plate isn't going to be too much of a problem.  It totally depends on the individual and how well you're good at clearing plates.  Some people are so good at clearing plates that they clear the plates of other people who aren't really good at tackling plates anyway.  Enabling others not to be able to address their own plates, isn't going to help you or the other person.  

There's five blue figures
On a white circle
They're making agreements
They're keeping each other in line

Are you relied upon to keep people in line?  You end up starting to feel like Nikita counting ten tin soldiers in a row.  It can get tedious and drive you stir crazy, so what do you to keep yourself if not sane, then in a space where you can handle whatever needs to happen, in order for making those agreements actually happen?  When I think about five blue figures on a white circle, I think about what the purpose of that design, what am I actually looking at and who drew those figures anyway?  Could they be your friends that think you have too much on your plate?

And I want you to be happy
But I'd rather that you were still with me
Perhaps we can arrange something
Arrange something

Making arrangements can be a short term solution to a longer term problem.
If someone wants you to be happy but can't let you go - that requires a conversation that you both might not want to have.  The opportunity to allow for disagreements (there are those blue figures again) need to be considered.  Hmmm. . . I wonder how many meetings you would need to have before any feasible arrangements could be made.  

I took pride in my even hand
When I took control I thought you'd understand
If all things were equal, I could be your friend
I could turn around and take it again

I hope that you are able to make some agreements with someone or a group of people that you need to work along with, make some great connections and come to a consensus that shows the equality that you're after.  

It will be a long road and a journey that is absolutely necessary, but remember not to lose sight of the end goal, and don't let the setbacks force you to abandon the journey.  Keep your eyes on the prize and the rest will eventually fall into place.  Don't fight it, it's bigger than the both of us. . . 

Little things. . .

NZ Music month - Little things by Trinity Roots

The music video for this track was directed by Chris Graham.  He has directed some of the top music videos of NZ music over the years.  I had the pleasure of sitting in front of him once at the New Zealand Pacific Music Awards.  I went to be a "plus one" for my friend Michelle Williams who works as the education coordinator for schools in Aoteaora, specifically with the NZ Music in schools programme, getting musicians as mentors in schools.  She presented an award on behalf of the New Zealand Music Commission.  This commission is responsible for the promotion of New Zealand music during NZ Music month each year. As I've mentioned previously, the aim of the month is to significantly increase the airplay of NZ music on radio and all usual media outlets i.e. music television.  As a former music teacher, it was one of the key units of learning in my junior music curriculum.  I always felt that it was important for music students to appreciate our own starts in our own backyard :-)

Please please please check in mine eyes
For I and I have nothing to hide
As I wipe the slate clean, share this with you
Please please please check in mine eyes
For I and I have nothing to hide
As I wipe the slate clean, share this with you
Take on my own, the pain of your soul

The vulnerability that one feels when they truly expose or reveal the truth in their own eyes - to another person can be life-changing, earth-shattering and just plain nerve-racking.  This is particularly the case when there are trust issues in relationships, in friendships, with fellow colleagues, even in extreme circumstances with strangers during random events such as natural disasters.  

Have you taken on the pain of someone else's soul?  It's hard to carry isn't it?  It's heavy, real heavy, and if you're not careful it can change, not just hamper, but even transform (debilitate even?) the way that you wake, it profoundly affects your gait.  In the hope of trying to makes things new, better and start from scratch, you wipe it clean - but does it really change what's happened?  Can you look past. . . the past?

It's the little things
It's the little things
It's the little things
It's the little things
That really matter

The thing about. well, little things - is that size doesn't necessarily equate to scale.  You would need to be precise with the scale because  everyone has their own sizing estimates when it comes to what "little" means.  Buying t-shirts for example, from different outlets - is a surefire way to see how different retail manufacturers see what being "little" or "small" means.

These fine fine lines, make for trying times
And trying times make you strong
You take your strength, pass it around
Pass it around, and then move it on

I've been spending some time with people from my past and it's taught me how far I have come, how much I have changed and how much further I would like to go.  Spending time with people in my present has helped me to think about at times, the plateau that I am in and I consider what we are meant to learn from each other, why particular groups of people are in my radius right now.  It's the little things that matter, you know.  And for me - being connected and being understood may seem little - but if you add all those little things together - it adds up to one gigantic thing that matters above all else.

They break you down
It's the little things
They break your life
It's the little things 
They make you mad
It's the little things
That really matter

And this final verse says it all really.  It tells us what the impact of those little things can do.
If we forget to address the little things - they can break us, break our lives, make us mad and cause to question what might have seemed small, was actually not so little.

I hope that even when the little things overwhelm you, that you understand the purpose of what those little things are meant to do - make you stronger, so that you can the experiences gained from being that strong and pass it onto others.

So I pass my strength onto you.
It's the little things, you know, that really matter. . .   

Waiting for your time to come. . .

NZ Music month - Waiting for your time to come by The Datsuns

I have about six blog posts left to write to meet my own internal deadline (the biggest competitor is yourself, remember that folks), so if I can beat that, it would be a sense of personal achievement.  I'm also going to give myself an extra day as well, because in the southern hemisphere, it is now already 1st June.  But I'm sure you'll forgive me that, as long as I can meet this deadline!

The opening bars are reminiscent of some 60s psychedelic rock song or some 70s rock anthem.  The lead vocals are hypnotic.  And  I'm not talking about the electric guitar wailing in the instrumental interludes. 

You got your war on science and your dusty roads
Reverse logic tricks and shadows
Morbid fascination with other people's souls
Like watching cars crash, your false bravado

I know a few people who have a morbid fascination with other people's souls.  They're really interested in what makes other people tick, spend most of the time in conversations deeply engrossed, listening to what you're saying, taking note of what your soul looks like.  You can tell they're even thinking about how your soul would taste.  That's how fascinated they are.  The thought is chilling in itself and makes you squirm.  I did just then when I typed that last sentence.

Do you exhibit false bravado during a car crash?  I mean you could if you knew that the cars would crash and then mentally prepare yourself to be the hero and save other people at the crash site.  The idea sounds totally ludicrous by every B grade movies I've seen late on a Sunday night when I'm not reading a book has told me this is so.

Pick up pieces of velvet till you feel sated
Beats and treats on the concrete streets
Well I guess I've never been baited oh so

The thing about being baited, you never you have been until it's too late.
Then a series of automatic facepalm moments follow in quick succession as you start to piece things together when you pick up those pieces of velvet.  The only other time I've seen pennies drop so much as if they fell from heaven, would've been watching the revelation scene in The Usual Suspects.  Nobody suspected Vernon.  The perceived weakest link was in the fact, the strongest of all.

You try to rewrite history 
And add your own little mystery
You're still waiting for your time to come
You're still waiting for your time to come

The bet things would be to add your own little mystery/
Be yourself and don't worry too much about what's going on around you.  
I mean if you worry far more than the people who should be worried  - why worry?
In the meantime, while you're waiting for you time to come, enjoy playing out those little mysteries. so that when the time finally does come, you're ready to add your own little mystery. . . 

Stuck here for days. . .

NZ Music month - Stuck here for days by The Datsuns

I have a couple more tracks to feature from The Datsuns as we wind down the last day of NZ Music month. I haven't really listened to their music properly, but in the past week, I've been feeling their sound, digging the vibes.  This track has a real bluesy feel to it in the opening bars that I find appealing.  The lead guitar solo reminds me of some country solos that I normally hear featured (just has fiddles missing).  

Hours of small talk, blackboards and chalk
Till the dust it settles down
Miles upon miles of red tape to walk upon
To walk home, I'll be back soon. . . 

What do you with meaningless talk, having to listen to one person speak the whole time, or the same dominant group of people speak?  You learn the rules of engagement (or disengagement) pretty quickly.  The first instinct is to leave and escape from such a situation - but what if you can't?  Do you have any strategies for coping with having to stay?  Do you travel somewhere in your mind where nobody can see you until you get asked to contribute and then you come back 'home' to turn the lights on to show that somebody is home?

But not a second too soon
I'll be back soon
There's not a second to lose
Oh no


We forget the times when we need to develop or at least unleash that sense of urgency when it is required the most. Getting the riming exactly right on your next steps or next course is critical.  You move too soon and it ruins everything.  You move too late and it ruins everything.  It takes skills and practice to get the timing right on anything that you set your mind to.  Of course you can't account for the odd hiccups and surprises along the way.  But you would need to be skilled at managing those disruptions as much as possible.   

I've been stuck here for days
Well it's all business
Regarding money problems, wealth and fame
It's been said before please don't get the wrong idea
I ain't complaining. . . 

I hope that you don't stuck for too long. It's ok to be stuck in a rut, it's supposed to allow you the opportunity to think, strategise and take stock of where you've come from, where you are and where you plan to go.  So push all of those worries, stress and issues aside.  Be mindful of other things that you have that don't warrant the complaining.  And if you can, as much as possible, minimise contact with those people who spend far too much time complaining. . . 

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Who are you stamping your foot for?. . .

NZ Music month - Who are you stamping your foot for? by The Datsuns

A tribute to John Campbell and the Campbell Live! crew.
Thanks for keeping Aotearoa honest and giving us a bit of kiwi :-)

I first became acquainted with The Datsuns when I heard Harmonic Generator in 2002.  I like their music because it's high energy and something that you can lose yourself in, when you want to get lost and hide away from your current reaily.  They also featured as one of the honourable mentions in the For Today musical written by Hamish Arthur.  

It's time we got this whole thing straight
A message loud and clear
Overheat in misbelief
It's time we got this whole thing straight
A message loud and clear
Overheat in misbelief
I have to be sincere

Having difficult conversations are always. . . difficult.  But there are ways of avoiding having to have difficult conversations - and this is by making sure that you are sincere from the get-go.  You're probably asking, well what can you do if you can't be sincere. because either:
a) you being sincere means you'll hurt someone's feelings
b) you being sincere will be misconstrued as criticism that isn't constructive
c) you being sincere means that it will make future conversations impossible to have or
d) most likely all of the above.

Sometimes a message that needs to be loud and clear is best delivered softly, but still clearly.

They wanna put you in a celluloid
You look much better as a cartoon. . .  boy
You're a fool for easy romance
Head over heels given half a chance so

Caricatures of politicians are always funny aren't they?  I sometimes think that they do look better as cartoons because half (well most, if we're honest) of what they say is actually not reflected in what they actually do.  Cartoons are in fact the best ways of depicting this (apart from memes on Facebook or Twitter).  Have we been fooled for an easy romance?  I feel that we always are when we are being 'wooed' for our all-important votes come election time.  Campaign time is pretty much like speed dating.  The rules are there to make sure that everyone has their chance in the spotlight and have a turn around the room, but you don't really get a sense of what's really happening until you fall for the easy charm, the bright eyes and engaging smiles before the promises start to loosen and the dates start to show more of an insight into the horrible choice of date partner - or political party.

With shaking hands you twist your fist
Your throat is screaming raw
So simmer down
Your scowl your frown
Who are you stamping your foot for?

I know that behind closed doors, the TV show Campbell Live would have been the bane of every politician's existence in this country.  John Campbell was no fool, but he was definitely (along with the rest of his reporters) not afraid to rush in where angels feared to tread.  I think the 'common man' had a little piece of themselves die last week when we said farewell to seeing John on our screens.  His integrity and compassion have been unsurpassed.  To have your TV programme removed from air, because you choose to challenge the current government, shows me that we're not that far removed from creating our very own FOX network in Aotearoa.

Who are you stamping your foot for?
Can't you see you're just dragging us down
Who are you stamping your foot for?
You better get in line cause we're running out of time again

In your final months leading up to the end of your show, Aotearoa rallied around you.  The excuse that your ratings were responsible for the decision to remove your show, soon fell by the roadside as more and more information came to light that it was not the case.  You were just doing your job.

I hope that you will continue to shine wherever your career takes you next.
Aotearoa and her people must learn to stamp our feet a bit louder and a bit longer next time.
I hope we never have to get in line or that we never run out of time.
There is always hope and time for us, if we choose to stamp our feet together.

Thanks for the memories Mr. Campbell.  
Ka kite ano xx

Violent. . .

NZ Music month - Violent by Stellar*

Boh Runga the lead singer of band Stellar, is also the older sister of Bic Runga and Pearl Runga, musicians in their own right.  I have written about her sister Bic Runga in previous blog posts (see Bursting Through).  She has her own website and has turned her creative energies to fashion, while still writing songs.

Pretty violent
Runners up in a casualty
Lost all common sense
Both parties call victory
One delusional then there's me

Are you a person that has a lot of enemies?  Let's do an exercise (bear with me here).  Make a list on a piece of paper of all of your enemies.  It might be easy for you to write this list or not.  It depends on how much thinking about people that don't like you, takes up a lot of your time.  

Once you've completed this list, start ranking them.  Aim for a top 10 list.  Of course to cull this list (if you happen to have more than 10 enemies) you would need to write down reasons next to their names, explaining why they are your enemy.  Did they wrong you in some way?  Like, really wrong you genuinely?  Did they stop you from getting what you wanted or thought you deserved?  Did they hurt you in some way like - you were in a relationship with them and then it ended badly?  Did they say something that you can't possibly forgive?  

Pretty violent
Making up with an I.O.U.
Could have circumvent 
From a passerby point of view
What's a carnivore spose to do

You're probably wondering - where you are taking me with this exercise?  
I think I'm interested in trying to rationalise why people would hate other people.  Of course, human choice is a huge factor - it isn't possible for all of us to just get along, that seems naive and unrealistic.  But I am a huge fan of not creating enemies either.  Not in a way that becomes an intention or for any reasons that seems ridiculous.  But that begs the question - what constitutes a ridiculous reason for making someone your enemy?

You're making me violent but why
Your nihilistic tendencies are
Making me violent you're nihilistic

I learned about the word 'nihilism' in school.  My Latin teacher taught me that the Latin word 'nihil' means 'nothing'.  The definition for nihilistic refers to someone who rejects all moral or religious principles and thinks that life is meaningless.

This made me think some more about what would force you to the point of being violent (if this is what the song suggests) - you would be violent because you knew someone who has rejected moral or religious principles and thinks life is meaningless?

I don't know about you, but I probably wouldn't become violent, but probably sit and have a conversation with them about why they would think life is meaningless.  I mean. life is all about making sense of things so life should have meaning. Everything around us has a meaning, it should all be imbued with meaning - there are just some things that we don't understand - but it doesn't mean that it doesn't have meaning.

Living in harmony
I want you honestly
Living in spite of me. . . 

I hope that someone would sit me down and have a chat if I started talking about life having no meaning.  If I started thinking that life no longer held meaning for me, I would see it as my purpose for living having been fulfilled.  But this doesn't mean that I would no longer want to live.  It would just mean that I would be happy and content with what my life has held. . . 

My Delirium. . .

NZ Music month - My Delirium by Ladyhawke

The opening melodic motif in this track reminds me of the chorus in the 80s classic Sunglasses at night by Corey Hart.  I like the way the ends of the lines in the verses are punctuated by harmonies.  The drums feel quite prominent to me, the drum fills helping to add rhythmic drive to the momentum of the song.  You can be forgiven for thinking that the song sounds like an 80s classic itself with its clever use of pop synthesiser to add texture, complete with the ascending semibreves and minims in the chorus.  The guitar riff keeps us grounded too acting as an interlude before the final chorus.

Late night waiting by the phone
Tonight waiting for an answer
Heartbeat drumming double time
I need one more chance to be with you

The song makes me think about when you're in the throes of a relationship that sends you into a state of dependency, the time of dependency where your whole world seems to revolve around the other person.  Sometimes it's hard to see yourself in that state, or no matter how much you try to advise your friends and loved ones that they are getting too dependent on their partner, that they are starting to lose their identities - it's hard to convince them - people need to realise it themselves. Your good intentions to try and support them are lost because they can't see it.  Do you hold up mirrors to people?  It's even harder to stand in front of a mirror and take a critical look at yourself too.

Still hanging on, for a while
Can't operate, fired up
I won't eat and I won't sleep for you
No rest till I get through 
Cos I'm holding out for you
Am I the only one who's insane

Have you been obsessed over by someone?  It's hard to pinpoint the tell-tale signs because it's almost as if you have to wait for something drastic to happen in order for you to realise that what seemed like isolated incidents are in fact, a series of events that have culminated in that drastic event.  You might not be able to tell until you piece together threads of conversation, things that they might have hinted at, actions or deeds that were unsolicited (sometimes even unrequited).  

I guess this is the disturbing part isn't it - when you're not even in a relationship with someone, but in their minds they feel like you are.  

Hey you're playing with my delirium
And the longer I wait the harder I'm gonna fall
Stop playing with my delirium
Cos I'm outta my head and outta my self control

So what can you do to avoid this happening?  How can you know for sure that you've surrounded yourself with positive individuals who can not only add value to your life, but feel good enough about their own that they don't need to try and wreck or ruin others?

This is why getting to know people is important.  Developing deep and meaningful connections is critical because maybe together you can work on something, collaborate on a project, forge a path ahead that explores the goodness in each other that is not steeped in competition but just about connection.  I connect with people. I don't compete with them.  So I'm hoping that if there are individuals in your own lives that feel like you're messing with their delirium - tell them straight up.  You're just trying to do you.

Still here in this quiet room
Deep in delusion sending me over
Watching the world go by
Inside time stands still as I wonder. . . 

I hope that you get yourself out of that quiet room.
Quiet and silence can be good - but too much of it stimulates an over-active imagination and creates delusions and hallucinations about things that never were and are not. . . 

Friday, 29 May 2015

I Kill Giants. . .

NZ Music month - I Kill Giants by The Naked and Famous

It took me a while to realise that the music video was playing backwards.  It made me think about a couple of things - if I identify with the dancers performing backwards or if I was a member of the audience sitting motionless in what looks like a church.  Would you be a dancer or an observer? 

The end of June came
And took you away
We were all crying
Felt like I was dying

Black dress and black shoes
Tied laces for you
The saddest of days
Why couldn't we save you?

How often do we get to dance in our daily lives, truly letting go of our inhibitions and even ending up back where we started (we don't realise that until the end of a situation sometimes).  We tend to move and rage against the machine, not really knowing that we're moving backwards, no momentum going forward (even if we think we are), but in reality we don't.  So we actually end up being like one of the motionless audience members.  Do you look straight ahead and wait for life to happen to you?

Inside my head
At the edge of the bed
Where sombreness lay
In your children that day

As goodbyes are spent
Holding on to what's left
The saddest of days
Why couldn't we save you?

Living inside your head can be a dangerous place to be.  I say this because your imagination can be a powerful thing.  It's the reason why when people talk about - if you set your mind to something, you can achieve it - that is a totally possible thing.  Half of the battles that we face in life are the very ones that we face against ourselves in our minds.  When we can master our own thought processes and think about what it means to truly sit inside your head - can you sit quite comfortably?  

It may seem safe to hold onto those memories in your head.  But sometimes it's important to let some memories be erased from your mind, particularly those memories that may threaten to hinder the life that you are meant to live 'outside' your head.

Nothing but ashes 
In the old fire place
With all of the memories
He has erased

Heavier heels
His mourning concealed
On the saddest of days
Why couldn't we save you?

I think the saddest of days is when you realise that you can't save yourself, or you have no desire to save yourself.  When can you possibly expend all of your energy and be totally spent, that you lose sight of being truly happy and truly living.  

I think the giants that you need to kill are the ones that you create in your mind.
Those giants that take up so much space in your head and it makes living outside your head impossible to fathom.  

I hope that you surround yourself with people who don't need to save you - you don't need to be saved. You already know that you saved yourself a long time ago.  You've just forgotten because you didn't remember you had already erased those memories before today. . . 

White lines. . .

NZ Music month - White lines by Six60

This is also a tribute to Niulevaea Leao Faga Mafoe

Laid to rest today :-(

I've written a blog post about Six60 before (see Don't forget your roots).  The past couple of weeks have been a bit hectic but I understand it's nothing more than the usual when it comes to what life has on offer - some new surprises, new challenges, new resolutions and new occurrences (particularly the impromptu and unplanned ones being the best!).

When I think about you Niu, I think about playing trumpet in the church brass band and hearing you play on the snare drum.  We shared a few jokes here and there.  I always found it easy to talk to you.  It was the easy way that you were with people that I will remember most of all.  You were a peacemaker and didn't really kick up a fuss about anything.  Of course this could be misconstrued as being weak, but you weren't weak.  If anything, your silence taught me that sometimes to be a strong leader, it requires the greatest self-control to not say anything.

Oh no
The love, the hate
Don't hate this ain't no ordinary life
We give, we take
This ain't no temporary high
The rise, the fall
This shit is messing with my mind
I'm up, the wall
Now I'm running for the lights
You're uh, I'm on, do this every night
It's right, it's wrong, do this every single time
Oh f*** it, it's on,  I just wanna touch the sky
Cos now I see the. . . 

You know what I love about life?  It's never boring.  It's never boring because guaranteed - there are always people and things around to make it exciting but most of all, it's what you put into your own life that makes all the difference in the world.

I'm a huge believer that what you put out into the world comes back to you tenfold, even a hundredfold.  I've been enjoying spending time with people who give me so much, who add value to my life and make all the dark and shade bearable, who weather through my storms (some have even driven through them when I expected to be left alone and set adrift).

So far so good
I'm mad, that's just something that I like
Before I die, I'm just tryna live my life
Say yes, say no, but you don't have to ask me twice
I'm in, my zone you know
I want the feeling
Like I'm breaking through the ceiling
And I just wanna touch the sky yeah
Cos now I see the. . . 

When you are on a journey of self-discovery, one quickly discovers that it is a lonely journey.
I think you need to relish those times that you are alone in this space, in this time.
You need to embrace that opportunity to do some future-proofing, to seriously consider and think about how you want to make the most out of your life, because we only have one life to live.

I think I've probably been more mad at myself in many situations that I've been in, because I think that I haven't made the right choice, I let an opportunity to speak my mind pass me by or I let someone hurt me and didn't realise it until it was too late.  I think it's important to have as many breakthrough moments as possible.  I've always relished those 'glass elevator' moments like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where I exceed my own expectations for myself and smash through the ceiling.

White line and blue skies
Who told you that we can't fly?
White line all the time
Who told you that we can't fly?

I hope that you fly high Niu.
Thanks for being a quiet presence in my life and for teaching me what being still means.
Even though sickness pervaded the final years of your life, your patience, extreme love for your family and your church will be cherished forever.

Manuia lou malaga Niu xx
Soldier you can fly. . . 

Thursday, 28 May 2015

So true. . .

NZ Music month - So True by The Black Seeds

I thought I would continue in the beach theme from the last blog post (since it's winter here in Aotearoa and oh how great it would be to have warm weather again!).  This track is a great song for a road trip somewhere.  As I played in a band in high school, I'm particularly partial to the instrumentation in this song.  I think I've mentioned before how sexy I think trumpet solos are (haha) and there's a beautiful solo in this song.

The sweetest stuff you give to me
It makes me feel fine
Every little word that you say to me
Keeps my heart on time
Red blood flowin' like a rough rapid
When you are near by
Ain't no doubt cos it's plain to see
You set my soul on fire

It can be comforting and reassuring when someone gives you the sweetest stuff - kind words, actions and deeds that make you feel loved.  It shows you the power of words, the power of actions - the fact that how you choose to convey yourself, how you act towards others - is an indication of the type of person that you are, that you show love, empathy and friendship.  

Have you set someone's soul on fire?  Or do you know someone who sets your soul on fire?  When I think about that imagery, I mean as romantic as it sounds, it actually sounds quite painful.  Wouldn't a soul on fire be the same as a soul burning in hell for eternity?  (Sorry it's the pragmatist in me).  

Most generous love, you spread around
To people in your life
Sharing the weight and the pressure
Just to make it right
I hope one day that you make it back
If that karma stuff is true
Here's a little song just to make a start
Called something so true

I've been interested in getting to know people's truth.  I watched an old episode of The Good Wife the other day, one where Alicia Florick is running against Richard Prady for the state's attorney race.  He talked about people's truth and the act of telling the truth as two separate things.  I had to kind of smile because he defined the people's truth or an individual's truth as being completely different to the actual truth, because it could be interpreted as a lie.  I agreed with this definition because I believe that everyone has a truth - that isn't necessarily wrong, because it's fixed on their beliefs and what they believe to be true.

Something so true

Is what I get from you
An' I hope that you'll see
You get the best of me . . .

What's true for you?  Is it important to be true?  How true do we need to be?  Do we need to even care about being true?  Do you self-monitor your truth or rely on someone to keep you honest and true?

Why don't you see if you can be the best of you to others in your life?

Including those strangers that you see everyday on your to work, at the same time, at the same place.

I hope that people that come to rely on me, get the best of me.

It's a daily struggle (how it feels at the worst of times I guess, especially when you're running on empty and people expect more from the tank and you're all spent) but I'm glad that I can be a shoulder to cry on or lean on, a hand to hold, an ear to listen and an eye to see. . .

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Back of my mind. . .

NZ Music Month - Back of my mind by Jamie McDell ft. Rai Thistlethwayte

I first came across Jamie McDell when she featured on a few episodes of Jamie's World, brainchild of internet sensation Jamie Curry, an online video blogger who became famous for her wacky and creative videos.  I have written a blog post about Jamie McDell before (see Angel).  I have been hearing this particular track of hers on domestic flights to and from Wellington and Christchurch for work meetings on Air NZ.

Looking for the love and taking on this stranger
Forget the drugs I've got the high
Asking people to accept this stranger
Hoping they can keep me safe tonight

There are no lyrics available online for this track - so by all means, listen to the track for yourself and make some comments for corrections.  The music reminds me of sunny balmy days on the beach, so it's great that the music video reflects this - it's like watching a quintessential typical kiwi summer unfold before your eyes.  For Australians, it sounds like a track that would feature on Home and Away in between scene changes, a track playing on the jukebox in the diner (is there still a jukebox in the diner?  I haven't really watched the show in a while).

And the front seat I see nothing but blue
I've got two weeks driving me crazy
It's a white heat six feet on top of the roof
And I know I really can't be complainin'

I'm guessing that this could be a surf reference here (reaching Manu, totally reaching haha).  It sounds like it's school holidays, a nice summer break with some time to kill and you should be spending that time with your friends, creating some summer memories of carefree days that sadly you will lose when you reach adulthood.  

In the back of my mind, I'm always thinking about you
I really wanna see you baby
Cos the back of your mind is just your heart in rear view
Forget about the street signs and find the truth

Like many songs that I like, it's the chorus that hooks me in.
My favourite line in the chorus is the third line.  I think it's really cleverly written.
We tend to hide our hearts away from people and they don't get to see what's in the back of our minds because we're reluctant to reveal ourselves.  I think about what I would normally see in the rear view, if it's not something like a vivid and important memory that I want to keep emblazoned in the back of my mind, it would definitely be protected there.  I think about how as a child riding in the back seat of the car, having my Dad look at me in the rear view mirror, watching me as he drove to make sure that I was ok.  I wonder if I keep looking in my rear view mirror, will I stop looking for signs and just rely on the my truth that's there?

Waiting on the road I read this morning's paper
Hearing that the ground is shaking on
And I get the feeling you could use a saviour
And I know I've been away too long

I hope that you're not away too long,  When you're away from home, away from those that need you the most, don't wait too long to come home to be with them.  Just as it's hard to be a saviour, it's hard to be the one to reach out and find a saviour.  When we lose faith in ourselves and doubt what it is that we know we're capable of because we've been damaged and hurt so much, it is any wonder that we don't know how to be around other people?

Sometimes we don't need to talk at all but just appreciate looking at someone in our rear view mirrors to remind us what (well, it's who actually isn't it?) that is important.

I know I don't need someone to tell me why
I know I just need to see your face tonight. . . 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Give me the simple life. . .

NZ Music Month - Give me the simple life by Mavis Rivers

I credit my high school musical experiences for my love of jazz.  I stumbled Mavis Rivers a.k.a. The Polynesian Lady of Song when looking for some jazz divas during that rose-coloured time of my life and I was happy to find out that she was Samoan (like me!) and had recorded an album with Frank Sinatra on his Reprise label.  She also recorded a major album with Capitol Records.  Originally from American Samoa, Mavis and her family migrated to Auckland in 1947 before she returned to American Samoa to work as a DJ.  It's quite coincidental too that Mavis was born (19th May 1929)  and died (29th May 1992) during NZ Music month.

When I listened to this track. what struck me most was the different tempi in the course of the song.  Part of the reasons why I love jazz - the complexity of the rhythms involved in its expression.  

Folks are blessed who make the most of everyday
Living by their own philosophy
Everyone beneath the sun must find a way
And I have found the only way for me

I think the older I get, the more I'm inclined to long for the simple life.  It seems that the older I get, the more complex my life becomes.  Are you experiencing this too?  I often think that being a Samoan, a successful Samoan is one of the hardest things to be - because you need to be a role model for your family, inspire those who look to you for inspiration (it's hard to be fabulous, but someone has to do it!) 

I don't believe in frettin' and grievin'
Why mess around with strife
I never was cut out to step out or stride out
Give me the simple life

Choosing to be happy within and about yourself is the fast track to a simple life.
I rely a lot on memories, happy memories, in fact, great times with loved ones and friends both past and present, and that always brings a smile to my face.  Probably the only time you've ever had to stride out is when there was something that happened that forced you to do so.

Some find it pleasant dining on pheasant
Those things roll off my knife
Just serve me tomatoes; and mashed potatoes
Give me the simple life

You might find that you will develop an acquired taste for the finer things in life, but I guess for me, that comes in phases.  The hankering for life in simpler times, with less pressures and less drama - for me that's my childhood.  It's probably why when as a teacher, when I would see high school kids in such a hurry to grow up, I would tell them to just relax and enjoy their youth.  There's no point in being in a rush to grow up - I mean, what do you have to look forward to?  More pressure and more drama because you're supposed well equipped to deal with it (well. some adults more than others).

A cottage is all I'm after
Not one that's spacious and wide
A house that rings with joy and laughter
And the ones you love inside

Spending time with the nearest and dearest becomes less frequent and far between times, so you must prioritise and think about your success in that way.  I mean, what's the point in getting to the top of your game, if you don't have people to celebrate with?  My loved ones, my family and my closest and most "real" friends are the people who I choose to share my simple life with.

Some like the high road, I like the low road
Free from the care and strife
Sounds corny and seedy, but yes indeed-y
I like the simple life. . . 

I hope that whatever the simple life looks like to you - that it is a happy life that is filled with all the goodness of things that sustain you, make you feel like you are finally home and have that sense of belonging that only having a simple life can bring.

You would think that having a simple life is easy - but it isn't.
Because you know why?
It would involve you being the most content with what you have. stripped of pretentious people. overly elaborate superfluous objects and material things that only assist in disconnecting you with you being able to connect with yourself . . .