岩崎宏美「聖母たちのララバイ」

For some odd reason at the end of 2017 I’m trying to find the best recording of Iwasaki Hiromi’s Madonna Tachi no Lullabye — I think this one is my fav:

Although I was born and raised in the US, my father is from Japan and so he’d make me and my siblings watch Japanese movies and TV shows. It was fun to search for this song to discover that Japanese Brazilians (like Japanese Americans) may have been subjected to this habit by some of our parents in the 70s. Aaaaaah immigrants — gotta love them for their love for where they came from and especially their hustle (because they explicitly left their home countries to find new pathways forward).

The late Oliver Sacks (1993-2015) talked about how music unlocks parts of our mind — and lets us find gateways to our past selves. Maybe you’ve seen this clip of an Alzheimer patient waking up with music from his past:

So that sort of explains why I wanted to listen to this song so badly at the end of 2017. It’s an age thing, I think.

“The inexpressible depth of music, so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain…Music expresses only the quintessence of life and of its events, never these themselves.” 
—Oliver Sacks, in Musicophilia

What’s significant about the recording of Hiromi above is that it’s from 2000 — this is well after her fame, and in contrast with when she was in top form in 1982:

This one from Egypt in the late 80s by a woman who sang as part of the chorus is pretty awesome.

I always wondered how a singer could sing the same song over and over — and not get tired of it. My dad would love to hear these same songs over and over. His response was, “Because each time they sing the song, it’s with a different audience. And it’s an opportunity for it to be just a little different.”

I guess that’s why I like to say:

Incrementalism is a meaningful strategy as long as you forget to stop.

Okay, I’m ready for 2018 now. —JM


PS I’ve started a YouTube channel as my 2018 project. Subscribe to it if you’re curious about the intersection of design, technology, and business.

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