Improvised Life » music If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Mon, 20 Oct 2014 08:57:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Playing for Change’s Glorious, Global “Stand by Me” Mon, 20 Oct 2014 08:57:03 +0000

(Video link here.)  In 2005, Mark Johnson was walking in Santa Monica, California, when he heard Roger Ridley singing “Stand By Me” with stunning soul and conviction. Mark asked, “With a voice like yours, why are you singing on the streets?” 

Roger replied, “Man I’m in the Joy business, I come out to be with the people.” 

Mark returned with a recording equipment and cameras to record Roger for Playing for Change, (more…)

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Song for Monday: ‘Throw it Away’ (Abbey Lincoln) Mon, 06 Oct 2014 07:28:31 +0000

Chris Eldredge recently sent this crazy-beautiful song by Abbey Lincoln (below). "These magic words in a magic book" seem perfect for re-entry to Improvised Life after the challenges of the past few weeks. Lincoln's lyrics could be Improvised Life's anthem and are a fine way to enter a Monday morning.]]> 5
Neil Young’s Anthem for Climate Change + A Question Wed, 24 Sep 2014 21:46:40 +0000

To coincide with Sunday’s massive world-wide Climate Change March, Neil Young wrote an anthem and has made it free to stream.

Whose gonna stand up? Another essential question.

You can listen here or stream it at Soundcloud.

Thanks Holton!

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Music for Monday Morning (Jun Miyake) Mon, 04 Aug 2014 07:24:55 +0000

(Video link HERE.)  …perfect music for getting going on a Monday morning, as well as people dancing, leaping and gliding around in the most wonderful way (until the dark end). You can jump in anywhere to get a hit of LEAP energy.

Not content to just click one link, we can’t help but follow trails. The trails leading from this wonderful video turned us on to Japanese artist, composer, song writer Jun Miyake.

After buying Lillies of the Valley, we’ve been listening to his music on Spotify.

A groove.


via the great Hedviggen

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A Song for a Summer Weekend Fri, 01 Aug 2014 08:34:04 +0000

(Video link here.) We know a number of people taking “stay-cations”, enjoying the city as though they were visiting it anew, filling themselves up with wonderful art, food, happenings,  and not dealing with traveling for one reason for another. We’re going to do the same in a week or so, just so we can WANDER, without a schedule for a while, which is the best way we know of recharging.

We think 500 pound Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to be just the perfect 3-minute escape for those in need of a instant vacation. It’s the perfect music for summer hanging out (in a hammock perhaps).  (more…)

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Kenzo’s FAB “I’m Not Afraid of Losing” + 24 African Dances to Brighten Your Day Wed, 23 Jul 2014 08:05:17 +0000

(Video link HERE.) We love Eddy Kenzo’s joyful “Sitya Loss” (“I’m not afraid of losing”), featuring a group of boys and a girl performing on a dirt road in Uganda. After hunting for the lyrics (which are in Swahili), we found this interpretation from youtuber  jerzeykid2006able:

“In life we do not have to fear losses because we are the bosses of our own life, we have to enjoy the little life we have by shaking our bodies (dancing), as strong youth we have to enjoy our lives to the fullest because when we look at our past lives, we get to notice quite a (more...)]]> 0 Moondog: “I’m Not Gonna Die in 4/4 Time.” Wed, 09 Jul 2014 08:39:02 +0000

Photograph by Peter Martens

The documentary The Viking of 6th Avenue, recently funded by Kickstarter, chronicles the life and musical career of legendary New York icon Moondog. As a girl, I used to see him in front of Saks Fifth Avenue and other corners around town, a blind man in full Viking regalia proudly, with seeming infinite patience, standing in the midst of the passersby of the time. Many years later I would discover his music and learn his story… (more…)

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Motown Break via rdio Mon, 16 Jun 2014 23:00:14 +0000

Working hard? Why not take a break and listen to what the guys hanging out under the trees on 124th street in Harlem listen to on summer nights: Motown. You’ll find the Complete No. 1’s HERE at rdio.

It’s the music that drifts up to our Laboratory and is curiously never intrusive, but stays pretty consistently mellow with Marvin Gaye, The Miracles, and The Temptations.

In the mood for John Coltrane? The great Kottke found The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings.  There are a lot of full albums to be found, listened to, shared.

We just may shake ourselves up with (more...)]]> 0 Phillip Glass: Renowned Composer, Taxi Driver, Plumber (with Music) Wed, 11 Jun 2014 23:00:20 +0000


Recently, guest contributor Sinnae Choi wrote about the popular, simplistic “Do What You Love” notion that devalues the very real need to make a living. Composer Phillip Glass was one of the examples she originally cited of artists who kept working even when they had gained some notoriety.  His story is so compelling, we extracted it to make into it’s own article:

In 2011, Glass was questioned about his day jobs as taxi driver and plumber. He recalls: (more…)

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Virtual Surfing with Ocean Music Wed, 04 Jun 2014 23:00:45 +0000

Cy Kuckenbaker  compressed one hour’s worth of surfing footage into a two minute film. Ahhhhhh, such a nice break, especially viewed full screen. 

We were going to find some music to go with it, and then realized the music is built in: the ocean’s surf. 


via Design Boom

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Bollywood-ish Morning Mindshift Wed, 04 Jun 2014 08:25:31 +0000

(Video link HERE.) Our friend Holton Rower wanted music to listen to while he fried his morning eggs. He couldn’t think of one band. Then he remembered a kind of Indian fusion music he liked from a dj with a name like Baad-something.  So he typed B-a-a-d  into Youtube and struck gold. He and his wife found themselves dancing inthe kitchen. Wake up music!

We watched the video and thought: (more…)

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Salut Salon’s Brilliant Instrumental Acrobatics Ask WHY NOT? Tue, 29 Apr 2014 08:34:16 +0000

(View video HERE.) Susan Dworski sent this as an antidote to “Blues”. Hamburg-based classical quartet Salut Salon perform “instrumental acrobatics”  that push the limits of what violin, cello and piano are SUPPOSED to do. The inherent question that each new unexpected use of an instrument asks: WHY NOT?



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Ramp Season: Odes, Festivals and Recipes Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:31:38 +0000

Every April, I start thinking about ramps, the first wild food to peek through the cold ground in early Spring, and the focus of equally wild festivals throughout the Appalachian mountains. For decades, I’d travel down to West Virginia to the Helvetia Ramp Supper to get a transformative blast of ramps, both raw and cooked. Here is one of the best descriptions I’ve heard of that first bite, by David Voodoon Noble, also known as The Ramp Moses: (more…)

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Making Music to Make the World Right Tue, 08 Apr 2014 23:05:02 +0000

Soibelman Syndicate News Agency Collection

In the summer here in Harlem, there’s an old guy that’s rigged his bicycle with a little trailer in which he hauls a boom box. Around dusk, he rides around the park playing Motown hits.  It has a very different effect than the usual blaring boombox, illuminating and brightening things as he glides by. He seems quite committed to his serenade, as though it’s a mission he has to do, to make the world right. And it does. (more…)

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