Love Notes
Nov 11, 2013

Great songs connect people, as well as melodic tones

Last weekend, I was able to bask in the beauty and power of the universal language of music...with artists and selections that denote significant points of evolution in my life.

At Penn's Homecoming, I was seated in the Alumni "oldhead" section for The Inspiration's fall show, along with dozens of other former vocalists and music directors whose names have appeared on the group's roster over the last 24 years. We sing along, cheer the loudest, and make sure the current students know that they are tied to a powerful legacy of musical tradition and performance on Penn's campus. There are always hugs, often a few tears, and incredible pride at knowing the group continues because we care enough to preserve the connections we've made over the years, personally and musically.

On Sunday at the Kimmel Center, I was finally able to witness the genius of Bobby McFerrin live on stage. Having an opportunity to interview him was already epic for me, sharing the news that our fathers had history together and the bond trickled down to me and my admiration for the younger McFerrin's vast repertoire and talents. In that interview, we also spoke about his forthcoming album with his son Taylor and the importance of handing down the best musical traditions to our children so they feel some ownership of preserving the sounds for future generations. In Verizon Hall, not only did the maestro seem fully at ease in his skin and his melodies, but his daughter Madison was his background vocalist to help create the lush soundscapes that mesmerized the audience. We sang along, we collaborated on other odd cultural references and we laughed at the inside jokes that father and daughter allowed us all to share in throughout the course of the show. The power of the music was not just the way the notes were strung together and masterfully executed, but the comfort in exploring the spaces in between as well.

Music is more than just the soundtrack of my life. It provides shape, color and meaning to all of my relationships and special moments. It stitches together the memories. It holds it all by the heartstrings. It is powerful and precious. Music is my definition of love.

Here is last week's playlist:

  • Glory - Bobby McFerrin & Esperanza Spalding
  • Don't Wanna Suffer (Carbon Copy) - Kindred The Family Soul
  • New Religion - Alice Smith
  • Meeting Marcus On A Thursday - Ledisi
  • We Are - Sweet Honey In The Rock
  • Slowly Surely - Jill Scott
  • Somebody Else - Robert Glasper Experiment ft Emeli Sandé
  • Take A Look Around - Kindred The Family Soul
  • Happy - Pharrell Williams
  • Me Adn Those Dreamin' Eyes of Mine - D'Angelo
  • El Niño [Renegades of Jazz rmx] - Colman Brothers
  • On The Ground - Beady Belle
  • Harlem River Drive - Elements of Life
  • Borrow You - Eric Roberson
  • Cascades of Colour - Ananda Project
  • Heaven Help Us All - Ray Charles & Gladys Knight
  • What You Need - Stacy Lattisaw
  • History - Mos Def & Talib Kweli
  • Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud) - James Brown
  • You've Got A Friend In Me - Joshua Redman
  • Night and Day - Ella Fitzgerald
  • I Remember - Boyz II Men
  • No Room For Doubt - Lianne La Havas ft Willy Mason
  • Worries - Robert Glasper Experiment ft Dwele
  • Fly - Choklate
  • Skin I'm In - Cameo
  • Congo - Amel Larrieux
  • Violet (acoustic) - Seal
  • Family Song (interlude) - Kindred The Family Soul
  • Heartstrings - Anthony David
  • You Own Me - Robert Glasper Experiment ft Faith Evans
  • Whole World - Bobby McFerrin & Esperanza Spalding
  • Help Somebody - Maxwell
  • Fight For Love - The Foreign Exchange
  • Dancing Machine - The Jackson 5ive