Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Music Memories

Its 10:26 pm here. And the rains just started. Pouring, pouring, pouring. Fast, hard rain. I love that. Its rainy season here in Liberia. I've been here since Sunday afternoon and in spite of it being rainy season, this is the first rain that has hit since I've been here. And its Wednesday night.

I did this to myself. I jinxed myself. Because this morning I told a friend that it was not as hot and humid here as it usually is and that it isn't raining. So, what happened next? It got more and more humid all day long - like I remember. And moments ago it started pouring. Ahhh..yes. That is the Liberia I remember! I am superstitious that believe that once you reference something, then it will happen. You have to knock on wood to protect yourself and I forgot to do that this morning when I bragged about it not being so hot and rainy.

I turned the TV on, mainly for background noise. CNN. Covering the war in Libya. Which I just can't focus on right now. I just wanted noise. But now the TV has gone out. So let's turn on the music instead. iTunes DJ mix - Neil Young (From Hank to Hendrix), followed by Tom Waits (Hold On). A little melancholy for a rainy, lonely Wednesday night in my little hotel room in Liberia listening to the rain, but equally beautiful and appropriate I suppose. And hey the power and the internet are still working!

Then Chet Baker - love, love, pure love. Chet Baker is the music I share with my husband. We share a lot of music, but that one is special. Followed by Madonna - Rain - how appropriate.

What did I do when I traveled all of these places far from home before I had my music library on my Macbook Pro? Made mixed tapes and brought a walkman. Are you old enough to remember that? I remember the ecstasy of my first walkman. Then carried CDs and a CD player. And then carried my iPod. Now I don't even need that. You can use your iPhone or just access your music library on your computer. Times change. Fast.

When I listen to my music library now when I travel, most of my music at my fingertips on my computer, my music collection reminds me of times and places. Doesn't that always? An artist, an album takes you right back to where you were, who you were, what you were doing at the time you listened to it. And that process of remembering can be fun, happy, melancholy, sad, intense.

Moments of music memory that instantly come to my mind include when I start to think about it...I remember driving across the Great Rift Valley listening to Jesus Christ Superstar on my walkman back in the 80s. The scenery was so amazing and strange and the music from the soundtrack was so intense. Recollections of swapping mixed tapes with my fellow students at the University of Nairobi in the 80s - Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, the Isley Brothers, Terence Trent D'Arby. Young, fun, completely carefree times. Never to be that way again. Not to that extent. Finley Quaye reminds me of a very lonely time spent working in Rabat, Morocco. I will forever equate old Justin Timberlake with working out at a hotel gym in New Delhi. For months. I can't listen to ELO without recalling a work trip driving around Zambia with a colleague and friend listening to their greatest hits CD. On and on.

I cherish those life memories and music memories on the Byway. And being on the road again - for work, when I am alone at night in my hotel room - always seems to be the time when all those times and memories come rushing into my mind. I guess when you are home, busy with your life, you don't get those times to reflect.

Its stopped raining now. And Biz Markie - you say he's just a friend - has come on. That would take me back to college. Good, good times. So long ago but still there in my memory like its just yesterday...

Goodnight all...

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