Songs that Speak to Me

The  Blogging University Writing 101 task for today was to: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you? I knew immediately that I wanted to use a song from my past, an African-American gospel song and one of Amma’s chants.

When the Doves Cry

In the mid 80’s, I took my son and daughter to their first rock concert. The artist was Prince, who was one of my favorite singers at the time. I particularly loved his Purple Rain album, or it could be that was the only album of his I knew! My favorite song on it was “When the Doves Cry.” It spoke to me so much, for reasons I’m only partially aware of. To me the tune is hauntingly beautiful. I think some of the lyrics remind me of my birth family and some remind me of what I was feeling and thinking at that time in my life, but it is not an actual representation of either  I tried to find a YouTube version where Prince was accurate singing but it is not available. As a result, I started listening to other artist’s renditions. I didn’t like most of them, but I finally found one that, except for the first 25 seconds, really reminds me of the original. It was posted by a person who was trying, in a very creative way, to find out what musical group was singing!

I Need You, You Need Me

I have been in two African-American churches over the years when children have performed sign language to a recording of Hezekiah Walker’s song, “I Need You, You Need Me.” I fell in love with it the minute I first heard it. Around 2008, I decided I wanted to choreograph a rhythmic choir dance to the song, one that would also include the sign language component. I was able to make that dream a reality in 2012. Below is a video of Hezakiah Walker singing the song and also a very short excerpt from the dance.  You can see pictures and learn more about the story behind the dance by reading this post: When the Mind is Still, Magic Happens.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

My plan was to use one of Amma’s joyous songs as my third song. I knew she has a YouTube page so thought I might find it there. I couldn’t find what I was looking for but not surprisingly, I found a perfect one, even though it was sung from profound sorrow rather than joy.

In 2004, I was at the Amritapuri ashram when the tsunami hit. It devastated the village that lies outside the ashram grounds. Villagers, ashram visitors and ashram residents were evacuated to Amma’s colleges and schools located on the other side of the backwaters. Amma spent the day leading the evacuation efforts, seeing that everyone had a place to sleep and was fed. In the afternoon or evening she came to be with the villagers who had lost everything they had, sometimes including having had their children ripped from their hands and pulled into the sea. Either that same night, or the one after it, she sat with us and sang “Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu “ (May all beings everywhere be happy.)

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26 thoughts on “Songs that Speak to Me

  1. “I Need you to Survive,” is one of my favorites. Prince, I understand is in the process of releasing a new album. Second information from one of my children, so not for sure. And, I continue to be intrigued by the information you have shared about ashram. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. It is so funny. I had a bit of fear that people would think I was horrible for taking them and it turns out that is the song that almost everyone mentioned as being a favorite for themselves as well.

      My son’s goal at that time in his life was to be a heavy metal rock star, and he was immersed in rock music. That concert was a life milestone for him. My daughter wasn’t particularly interested in the concert if I remember right!

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      1. If there is anything I have found here in this community of WordPress is people are so open, genuine and accepting. I have feared many postings and was pleased to feel the genuine interest and embraced my words when writing new forms or disclosing more as a way to free my spirit.

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      2. I totally believe that as well….. and have said it to many other new bloggers.

        The truth is that it was ME that was a bit taken aback when I really listened to the words of that song yesterday!

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  2. I love When Doves Cry too. You know the reason you can’t find any of Prince’s songs/videos on youtube is probably because of the lawsuit about the rights to his music with Warner Bros. But you can listen to all of his greatest hits from the 80’s – 90’s on spotify.

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    1. I have Purple Rain album on iTunes.

      When I tried to get the videos on YouTube there was a message that the video was not available in this country. I suppose the lawsuit could be responsible for that. Thanks for the information.

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