Improvised Life » music If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 26 May 2015 17:07:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Jimi Hendrix From Here to THERE Mon, 30 Mar 2015 06:35:30 +0000

(Video link here.)  If you look closely, you’ll see Jimi Hendrix in the backline of Buddy & Stacy doing “Shotgun” on a 1965 Night Train Television Show: a curiously invigorating Monday morning wakeup.

In just a few years, Hendrix came a LONG way to his wild, passionate, loud, bluesy, no-holds-barred, pushng-all-limits, seriously-amplified music, (more…)

]]> 0
Found Objects Music + Attitude for Monday Mon, 23 Mar 2015 07:29:20 +0000

Click to embiggen

At Under the Sun we stumbled on this reminder of the many objects around us that can be used to make music.

Type in Found Objects Music into YouTube’s Search and you’ll find A LOT of interesting improvisations. Here’s a favorite, with a great beat for Monday morning, and a long list of found objects used. (Video link here.) (more…)

]]> 0
Morning Wakeup: Kid’s Dancing to Eddie Kenzo’s Jambole Tue, 03 Mar 2015 07:28:39 +0000

(Video link here.) Here’s our second inspiring video of kids dancing to Eddy Kenzo‘s new song, Jambole. Play it full screen and LOUD.  The music will get you dancing. And the kids are a testament to the INFINITE number of MOVES YOU CAN MAKE!

(Dig that little girl in the pink dress!)

Pure JOY.

Listen to more Eddie Kenzo HERE.

]]> 1
Nick Cave’s Inspiring Process, Philosophy, Art Mon, 16 Feb 2015 08:33:12 +0000

(Video link HERE.) We discovered performance artist Nick Cave recently and are smitten. As one YouTube commenter wrote: “imagine a world where people wore these to work … lol that would colour up our lives a little”.

It’s not just the joy the his Sound Suits evoke; we’re inspired by how the first Sound Suit emerged unexpectedly from a pile of twigs… (more…)

]]> 0
Music for Monday Morning: Fast Forward Plays Mixed Metals Mon, 26 Jan 2015 08:58:59 +0000

(Video link HERE.) Fast Forward* performing his Works for Mixed Metals seems like a perfect way to start the week. In a paint can factory in London in the summer of 1988, a young Fast shows us the music you can make with different metal objects, from paint cans to pipes.

For us, the perfect morning wake up is the lovely steek pan drum section that starts at 2:35.

*Fast Forward is one of the many EXTRAORDINARY friends we’ve made through Improvised Life.

]]> 0
Song for Monday: Hallelujah (K.D. Lang + Leonard Cohen) Mon, 15 Dec 2014 09:18:59 +0000

(Video link Here.) Suzanne Shaker sent us this wondrous video of K.D. Lang singing Hallelujah. We love many things about it: beyond the astonishing rich and forthright voice, and a song of pure joy is Lang singing barefoot before thousands. And when they regale her with praise, she bows long, deeply-moved, expressing the Hallelujah she just sang.

According to the Macmillon Dictionary, in modern English

 “‘Hallelujah’ is frequently spoken to express happiness that a thing hoped or waited for has happened”

It seems like a great way to start the week. (more…)

]]> 1
Meredith Monk’s “Inner Necessity to Create” Tue, 09 Dec 2014 09:26:18 +0000

(Video link HERE.) Last weekend, we read the New York Times’ tribute to Meredith Monk, 72, who celebrates 50 years as an avant garde performance artist, vocalist composer, vocalist, dancer, choreographer, director and filmmaker. Fifty years!!!

“I’ve been in fashion, out of fashion. I just keep trucking along. It’s an inner necessity to work, and that’s not going to change. I need to create. I need to.”

She made her reputation stretching her voice, (more…)

]]> 0
Instant Groove: Bob Dylan Jamming with the Grateful Dead ’87 Wed, 03 Dec 2014 22:30:30 +0000

Throughout the day, we’ve been shifting our mood by listening to this astonishing find we stumbled on at Internet Archive: the complete rehearsals for the summer ’87 tour when Bob Dylan sang with the Grateful Dead. It’s full of gems.  Click here to choose what you want to hear on the Archives playlist. Or just hit PLAY below. (more…)

]]> 1
Morning Wakeup: Water Drumming Song Wed, 26 Nov 2014 09:48:40 +0000

(Video link HERE.) It’s the day before Thanksgiving and there’s an awful lot to do. We thought this wondrous water drumming song would be a perfect bit of fuel; it’s from the Banks Islands, part of the northern Vanuatu in the Indian Ocean.  Thirty-five seconds in and you will leap for joy.

Of course we love that these women are hanging out together hip-deep in water, using IT as their instrument.

And dig those beautiful head-dresses.


May this carry you through your busy day.


]]> 0
Celestial Music via Sen’s Sculptural Instrument Wed, 12 Nov 2014 09:57:50 +0000

(Video link HERE.) We know nothing of how Turkish musician, Görkem Şen came to create the Yaybahar, his rather magical acoustic instrument made of fretted strings, coiled springs and frame drums.  He plays it with a bow or a wrapped mallet or just his fingers, switching between them like a dancer to create hypnotic, crazy-beautiful and unexpected sounds. It’s as though he’s playing a sculpture. (more…)

]]> 1
A Vexing Problem Yields Unexpected Gifts: Wondrous Images of Vibrations Thu, 23 Oct 2014 08:47:43 +0000


Since we first wrote about the mysterious mechanical vibration that shakes us awake at night, we’ve tried endless fixes to no avail and at times, have despaired of finding a solution. But amidst this difficulty have come many unexpected gifts, in the form of strangers reaching out to help, and research leading to rich layers of information about sound, acoustics and materials, and seeing our own tenaciousness in the face of a problem.

The latest gift came as we were following more trails about how frequencies work, having learned the specific freqencies of our vexing vibrations. We stumbled on a trove of startlingly beautiful images of vibrations (more…)

]]> 0
Annals of Hair Design: LaBelle’s Nightbird Platter-Do (with Music) Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:00:10 +0000


The Hair Hats in our recent Annals of Hair Design reminded me of the great “platter” do, Patti LaBelle wore when performing her album Nightbirds in the 80’s. I loved watching her perform it and wondered how she got that hair to STAY.

Years later, she came to my old studio for a photo shoot and I asked her how she got her hair to make those fabulous platters. (more…)

]]> 0
Fallen Autumn Leaves are a Material for Making Wed, 22 Oct 2014 08:05:02 +0000

Walking in the park the other day, we saw a young woman lying in a huge pile of brightly-colored leaves…half buried really, resting; she looked relaxed and content.  Around her three little girls were all happily making things out of leaves. And we thought LEAVES. What a beautiful material-for-making things all around us.

That got us looking for Fallen Leaf Creations. (more…)

]]> 0
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…)

]]> 4