Did you watch the Grammy's last night?
I have three words:
ON STAGE TOGETHER!
Now I have one word:
And a noise:
EEEEEKKKKKKEEEEKKKEEKKEE (really girly squeal)
I am a big fan of neo-soul, a long-time fan of R&B, blues and funk, and last night was like a magical tribute to Julie's Favorite Music.
And to think I almost missed it.
I've skipped the Grammy's the last few years. I think the last year I was really excited was the year of Norah Jones, and the last year I bought the Grammy album was a decade ago in 1997.
My husband always tunes in, though, and last night I heard some magic words that caused me to rearrange my evening and watch: Joan Baez, Dixie Chicks, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Corinne Bailey Rae, John Mayer, Mary J. Blige and a few more.
Then I sat and had my socks blown off. In expected and unexpected ways.
First, JOAN BAEZ. Didn't she look fabulous? And she introduced the Dixie Chicks in such a down-to-earth and sincerely flattering way. No awkward Johanssen moment at all. If I were a Dixie Chick I'd go home and this would be me: huh what're those five statues, oh wow oh wow oh wow JOAN BAEZ said I was COOL.
Second, DIXIE CHICKS! I admit I thought the five was a little overboard---they were up against some other artists I really liked and hoped would win too---but a big part of me was high-fiving and snorting HA! HA! HA! I think they are extremely talented women who stand on principle and I admire both aspects. It was really fantastically awesome to see principle triumph. I could not listen to that song (Not Ready to Make Nice) enough. (Link to one backstory about the Bush boycott of the Dixie Chicks.)
Third, and the absolute highlight of the night for me: John Legend, Corinne Bailey Rae and John Mayer on stage, singing together. Big mental Oooooooo and musicgasm. I have developed a case of thumbitis from hitting rewind and play so many times on my Tivo.
My kids had already heard the Bailey Rae album so many times they knew the words, but they were equally excited to see her sing this morning and now have a completely choreographed dance number to Legend and Bailey Rae's songs (they are not as big a Mayer fan as I am).
This might be a new morning routine for us. A little groove to the coolest singer/songwriters of 2006 and happy mornings are here again. Seriously now I really love those artists because they enabled me to make breakfast and school lunch in peace while the kids sang and danced around the living room.
I am NEVER erasing this recording.
And my lifelong musical crush---Stevie Wonder---introduced this trio, even parodying his song (one of my all-time favorites) Overjoyed to express his admiration for the talented Legend, Bailey Rae and Mayer.
Have I established my enthusiastic fanhood for these three yet? Okay I'll stop waxing on and on.
Fourth, holy mackarel, Ludacris and Mary J Blige blew me away with their number Runaway Love. That was powerful. In fact, Mary J Blige just plain blew me away (as usual) last night period.
I know Nina Simone smiled down from Heaven last night.
Speaking of Nina Simone, there were an awful lot of "lifetime achievements" and "back together" and "celebrating 30 years" and so forth bands from my youth celebrated last night. I'm wicked happy for them, don't get me wrong, but errr that was one aspect of last night that gave me a big huge "Am I old school now?" moment.
That's fine. It made me remember my youth and how important music has always been to me, and why it is so important I bring music into my children's lives.
My husband and I are both from very musical families. We each learned to play several instruments, both competed musically for years, both of our moms are talented pianists who also taught, his older sister is an accomplished musician and published composer, his younger sister is an active performer as is her husband, my father and brother have kept up their music, and so on.
I credit my dad, as it happens, for my deep love of soul, funk and blues. Dad played the trumpet and he loves the jazz, blues, and soul musicians. I grew up listening to all of that, and grew up loving it.
In short, all of our parents (and grandparents) emphasized the importance of music and carried it deeply into our lives and souls. Music has benefitted us tremendously.
Music helped me with math, for example. The R&B helped me find my groove and gave me rhythm and grace in dance.
I believe in a well-rounded classical education, and will provide one for my children, period.
It drives me literally around the bend to see schools missing the importance of the arts and music, and cutting the budget for both.
Neil Portnow spoke eloquently about this issue. If you missed his speech, click that link and read.
My heart constricted and I vowed to step up and answer his call when he said
Our GRAMMY Foundation programs like GRAMMY in the Schools and GRAMMY Camp teach and encourage thousands of kids who love music, and whose lives are better for it. This underscores the most fundamental point — every child deserves exposure to music and the arts in school!
There are some encouraging signs out there. Just this year, The Recording Academy and the music community rallied their forces here in California to reverse the trend of reduced funding. The result: more than 100 million dollars for music education with millions more for instruments in schools.
The time is now to contact your elected leaders. Tell them that music is just as essential to the next generation's development as any other subject. We'll make it easy for you — go to GRAMMY.com. We'll connect you directly to your representatives so your voice can be heard.
You're here — or out there — because music is an important part of your life. Together let us all ensure that music stays just as vital and alive for generations still to come.
Do it...love music...know how valuable it is for every single person. We all have something we can gain from music. If nothing else, look at how much fun and joy I got from watching a segment of the Grammy's with my kids this morning.
SUPPORT MUSIC EDUCATION!
So..share! What did you like? Not like? Did you do something else with your time last night? Eh, let's hear!
copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
Tags: John Mayer,Corinne Bailey Rae,John Legend, Mary J Blige, Ludacris, Dixie Chicks, the 49th Grammy's, Neil Portnow's call to support music education