The basic unit of writing practice is the timed exercise.
– Natalie Goldberg
Today it’s all about learning how to commit to practicing writing on a daily basis. The goal for today is to write for 15 minutes without stopping as I answer the following question:
Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?
Regular readers of Carmen’s Blog know that I love music! I have put the timer on for this 15-minute writing challenge and I’ll bet I have no problem to talk about music LOL. Should I talk about music in Spanish? music in English? songs that make me sad? happy? creative? motivated? Music lovers KNOW that the hard part will be in choosing the songs, there are soooo many!
You know that we come from a musical family so we had been around music for our entire lives and were heavily influenced by music from our musician father, and mother whose musical tastes ran the gamut from English to Spanish. So we know all about trios, Javier Solis, Miguel Aceves Mejia, Patsy Cline, Eydie Gorme, Nat King Cole, oldies and some straight-up cool jams like “Tighten Up” , “Groove Me” and “Crystal Blue Persuasion” which our Ita loved. We Torres’ also spent a lot of time with our Grijalva cousins and they, as my brother Marty says, really blew our minds music wize. They loved and exposed us to soooo much music that we still love today.
Song 1: “Don’t You Worry About A Thing” Stevie Wonder
I’ll never forget the first time that I heard this song. We Torres’ were all lil ones then and just learning about what kind of music that WE liked. This was one of the first songs that I heard English words sung, some Spanish words spoken, “todo ‘ta bien chevere”, and this definite and unique Latino vibe. I had never heard the piano played in that riff/melody/progression before and it was soooo cool to instinctively relate to this style of music. It was the first time I heard anything that sounded like salsa in my life. Who knew that I’d grow into this major salsa fan? I wasn’t the only Torres either to love this song, ALL of my siblings love this song. It’s so fun to watch the different reactions from each of us: my brothers immediately start air playing their instruments of choice, keyboards and drums. My sisters get that pout going as they nod their head in time to the music. I had to call sis LG, accomplished musician and salsa fan that she is, tells me that this very distinctive intro is call a “montuno” piano riff. I remember this song being one of our Torres Fam Approved Songs then and now.
Song 2: “El Raton” Fania All Stars
This was probably the first salsa song that I heard and loved instantly. Of course, we heard this song through our Grijalva cousins and I went out and bought the Fania All Stars “Latin*Soul*Rock” Live album. It was the first time that I had ever heard salsa giant Cheo Feliciano sing and loved that he put in some English into the song as I was still learning how to speak and understand Spanish. Also, this was the first music in Spanish that I heard that wasn’t Mexican so their accents and phrasing sounded so different how I spoke. Only years later, did I ‘get it’ that, in this song, that all of the super heavy weights, the creators of modern Salsa, legends were all playing together! I would listen to the album for hours on end. I was so young that, by the time I was of concert-going age, the Fania All Stars had pretty much broken up and a lot of these guys were on their own and became legendary salseros in their own right: Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Larry Harlow, Ray Barretto, Celia Cruz, Cheo and of course, my favorite Ruben Blades. I’ve seen many of these guys in concert but would have LOVED to see THIS particular show all all of them on stage together. I’ve always been a fan of ‘salsa dura’, this type of salsa is so on the beat, solid, not too slow if you want to dance, with very tight musical arrangements. I’m a huge fan of the vocalists especially and love to hear the inventive ways that they work it singing lead and with ‘coros’. Fania All Stars’ music still stands up after all of this time and is also on the list of Torres Fam Approved Songs.
Song 3: “The Golden Time of Day” Maze featuring Frankie Beverly
Love love love this song! I got to know Maze’s music years after it came out. My siblings knew and loved all of their songs and sis Kiki, especially, loves her Frankie. The one thing that I always got from this music was that it was ‘groovin’ music to chill out to while at home or in the yard, music to cruise to, music to party to. Being an event planner, I had always envisioned a huge outdoor event where people were kicking back having a good time. But, once I got into the words of the song, I really started to LOVE it. I love this time of day, the sun really is golden, it starts cooling down if it’s been hot all day, the world starts winding down and relaxing. So much of my life has revolved around events that end around this time of day, so I can usually be found driving home during the golden time of day. I cannot tell you how many gorgeous sunsets I’ve been able to experience at the wheel of my Jeep – it’s the absolute perfect way for me to wind down! I’ve been lucky enough to see him in concert and, there is nothing like being there to experience “The Golden Time of Day” LIVE…to see thousands of people groove and sing the song word for word is amazing, now I know that I am not the only one who loves this song!
Ok, so it’s been about 20 minutes since I started this post and my hands hurt LOL but in a good way…I love music and I love talking about music! I’ve attached videos of my three song choices – hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.
>>>WHAT THREE SONGS DO IT FOR YOU?????