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 . . .