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Friday, August 5, 2011

joy in music

Cadbury's New Zealand branch recently brought out a new feel-good advertising campaign called "Share the Joy". The idea is, people sent in clips of noises of New Zealanders experiencing joy, and Cadbury and a famous guy used the clips to create a song. It's quite a cute idea, I suppose, and you can view it here if you want.

But though the video's sweet I find it doesn't quite succeed in making ME experience joy.

So I've been thinking recently about music that communicates joy in and of itself. I don't mean music with funny lyrics, or music about feel-good topics, but MUSIC that brings a smile to your face just through the way it manipulates rhythm or melody or harmonics.

And so here are some of my favourites. They will make you happier, or you can have your money back.

Ella Fitzgerald. And so here she is, with Mel Tormé, bringing a smile to the face of any one who's human, surely:

And if that wasn't enough for you, here she is, outright hilarious:

Now, who's heard of the Portsmouth Sinfonia? The only rule of admission was that you must not actually be a musician, or you must play an instrument unfamiliar to you. This awesome parody orchestra brought out several records and even toured! Here they are with Strauss' majestic "Also Sprach Zarathustra":

If you want more, I would highly, er, recommend their performance of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

This may be kind of weird, but the haka brings me joy. It's not really supposed to - the form they perform at the rugby is a war haka. It send chills running up and down my spine, but it also makes up for actually having to watch sports afterwards. And this particular haka, before an All Blacks vs Samoa game of rugby, is particularly awesome because both sides have a form of the haka, and they face each other off. Personally, I think the Maori haka is much scarier than the Samoan one. But I am slightly biased:

Stand By Me. It's a happy song. But it's even happier when played around the world by artists playing for change:

And because I'm obsessed with the tin whistle, I add this video. Feet tapping, heart smiling.

Then there's Shura Cherkassky, the pianist. I have never heard ANYONE match his rendition of the polka from Shostakovich's The Golden Age. They're too serious. He was very, very funny. He listened to the piece, instead of just performing it or showing off.

I couldn't find a full recording online but you can listen to it partially here. Otherwise, get hold of volume 3 of the collection of his encores.

Finally, there's Louis Armstrong, with "What a Wonderful World". There is a man who sings in the way the song wants him to.

1 comment:

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Excellent picks!

I passed the human test with the Ella Fitzgerald/Mel Torme clip!

I LOVED the haka clip--I've never seen that before.

And I quite enjoyed the tin whistle! ;)