I rarely post guest blogs, let alone two in one week. I am so grateful to have the positive contributions of others. (Plus in about 8 days I'll be blogging daily from a recognition conference at Disney World! Vegan at Disney, should be interesting...)
Below is a post by my sister, Jodie, a Berklee School of Music Graduate and music lover. When we were younger she use to make me screech out harmonies and participate in musical productions during holidays. So, it's only fitting her post is about music. Not just any music, but music that is helping transcend boundaries.
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Juanes: More than the Music
I settled in front of the television with my nail kit on the night of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Kick-off Celebration Concert, ready to get to work. I figured the least I could do, after hearing daily about the up coming World Cup Tournament from my Portuguese family members, was watch the concert. Paying careful attention to my manicure, I listened to the diverse sounds gracing the stage in Johannesburg, South Africa with a wandering ear. Then, quite out of the blue, I heard the marvelous “Yerbatero” guitar riff jubilantly burst through the speakers, and my head jolted up to see who was supplying the infectious sound. I wanted almost immediately to clap my hands in time, but, taking care not to mark up my freshly painted nails, I simply sat there and observed.
A crazy fusion of sound was being introduced to my ears, and I was intrigued. It started with a buoyant guitar riff, adding clapping on the 2 & 4, and worked its way into a pleasant Latin/rock bass line with percussion. I searched for the volume button with my eyes glued to the screen, and turned it up. Then, the melody emerged, delivering a driving smoothness that transformed into an expertly executed lead-in to the chorus. Boldly declaring, “Soy Yerbatero. Vengo a curar su mal de amores…” (I am the Herbalist. I come to cure your love sickness…), the rhythmic story continued throughout, captivating me more and more with each conga hit. The vibrant quality and tone of Juanes’ voice begged me to listen to the words. Complete with well-written verses, a chorus with a tag that’s sure to have you singing “Bien…bien…bien…” and an uplifting, unexpected key change, this song is a genius blend of melody and rhythm that showcases what can happen when you have the ability to think and play outside the proverbial box.
The next day I paid a visit to my Portuguese cousin’s house to hang out for a while, and I asked if she had ever heard of this Juanes guy. She frequently listens to Spanish music; yet, she hadn’t a clue who he was. So, I figured when I had some free time I’d have to Google him and see what he had to offer.
Well, life is crazy and free time is always limited, so wasn’t until I headed to Maine for a week, a couple months later, that I had a chance to explore what Juanes was all about. I became completely enchanted by what I discovered…So many songs…written, and performed with a mixture of sounds that were unmistakable, and a man, from Columbia, with a vision and a drive to change the world. Being that I didn’t speak or understand Spanish, I found myself translating my favorite songs to understand the music to the full extent. “Yerbatero” turned out to be the first single off the new Record (P.A.R.C.E.) that would be released in December 2010. From that point on, the only thing I listened to was Juanes. It put me in a frame of mind that promoted love, peace, and understanding, and I was hooked. Every chance I got, I let people in on the new discovery I had made, and happily spread the sounds of his music. Patiently, I waited for the new album to be released, and was not disappointed in the least when I finally downloaded the new music.
P.A.R.C.E. boasts the perfect mixture of topics including: politics, world conditions, love, peace, and everyday matters. It is truly amazing that a man possesses the ability to cross the language barrier and relate so intimately with people everywhere. My next step was checking the tour venues and dates, and figuring out if I’d be able to witness this phenomenon live. Much to my disappointment, the closest venue to me was Madison Square Garden in NYC. I knew going to this concert would put me in a sea of people, probably far away from the stage. I decided against it, and started to accept the reality of not going to a show this time around. A few weeks later I saw a post on his Facebook page stating a concert date in Lynn, MA had been added to the tour. After researching a bit, I found the Lynn Auditorium was about an hour from me, and was a fairly small venue. YES! I did everything I could to get tickets right in the front, and succeeded. I was delighted, I was relieved, and I was going!
The much anticipated concert, was an intimate gathering of Juanes fans that came out for the music, yes, but also for the positive atmospheric shift that happens when you combine sweet, latin beats fused with rock & pop, a grouping of incredibly talented musicians, and a soulful singing, guitar playing wonder. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Juanes is easy on the eyes, but mostly he’s attractive because he’s tuned in (no pun intended) to the heart and soul of it all. I sang, I danced, and carefully observed the spectacle that was unfolding before my very eyes. At the end of the night, I was shocked it was over so quickly, and wished only to have been able to meet him and express my gratitude for his being and for his music. Hopefully Someday!!! ;-)
Enjoying the music at the concert.
Overall, it seems Juanes sees the world in a unique way, and recognizes the chance to use his musical gift as a platform to spread peace through love and music! Even if you don’t understand Spanish, the magic in the music somehow transcends the language barrier, giving everyone a chance to be enlightened.
Juanes was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, has won 17 Grammy’s, and is known for his humanitarian work. In 2009 he introduced the Peace Without Borders Concert in Havana, Cuba, and brought thousands of oppressed people together through his music. He started the Mi Sangre Foundation to help victims of anti-personnel mines, and is a Goodwill Ambassador for United for Colombia. Other charities he’s involved with include: ALAS, Colombianitos, Genesis Foundation, Give to Columbia, Habitat for Humanity, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, and Yo Amo America Campaign.
I could go on and on about this man and his music, but I think you get the idea. If you want to learn more about Juanes and elevate your consciousness, visit his website.
Always Remember… Musicality Matters and so do you! Thanks a bunch.
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Let the Music Inspire You!
Links will direct you to YouTube.
Check out the first single off the P.A.R.C.E. album “Yerbatero”.
Or… the sensational “La Camisa Negra”, which apparently everybody LOVES.
“Volverte A Ver” (To see you again) – A pop song with an intimate longing you won’t be able to resist!
“Gotas de Agua Dulce” – (Drops of Sweet Water) – One of the absolute best! Translate it and you’ll enjoy it even more. Musical genius! Love, Love, Love it!
My favorite cut off the P.A.R.C.E. Album is “Todos Los Dias” (Everyday) – This song can single handedly change the way you look at life. It has driven me to be the best I can be now, and in days to come. Juanes has yet again combined just the right musical and written elements to raise the level of personal human awareness!