Sunday, May 25, 2008

Discovering Through Another's Playlist

Every Wednesday, Paper Cuts's Living With Music feature will showcast a playlist of songs from a writer or some other kind of book-world personage.

I usually glance through the playlists to see if there is anything interesting. Sometimes it is the writer that interests me. I look through their playlist, curious to see what music inspires them. Sometimes, it is the playlist itself that is interesting.

Pico Iyer's playlist has many recognisable artistes, yet it felt unremarkable.

The A.M. Homes fan in me was delighted that the writer is also a fan of the Leonard Cohen song, "Hallelujah". (It is a beautiful song, a metaphysical ballad, celebrating love, faith and life all at once—because they truly are the same thing.) Like me, Homes has multiple versions of the tune on her iPod. She has the k.d. lang, Jeff Buckley, Bono, Brandi Carlisle and Leonard Cohen versions. I have Jeff Buckley, k.d. lang, Rufus Wainwright and Leonard Cohen. I have not found the Brandi Carlisle version—but I will, one day.

I love Brandi Carlisle.

There is something voyeuristic about looking through people's playlists—but for those of us who loves looking through other people's reading list, we might understand the emotions behind this impulse. Maybe it is about looking for a connection. For someone who shares what you love and how they might lead you to something new. Or maybe we are just voyeuristic busybodies.:p

I was going through Rebecca Walker's Playlist last week and I have one thing to say about it:


It is an amazing list - jazzy, soulful and divine. She has included "Here Comes the Sun", the Beatles tune covered by Nina Simone, Feist, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Keren Ann and Joni Mitchell. The artistes I recognise tell me I admire her taste. So I moved on to the artistes I have never heard of, hoping to find something new.

That was when I heard Imani Uzuri.

I was mesmerized.

Listening to Imani Uzuri is a spiritual experience. Those deep, lush, powerful vocals. The soulful lyricism. I feel like this when I am listening to the music of the Sufi masters, where song is a visceral prayer, a cry of love. This is how Imani Uzuri sounds like to me.

More at


purplefugue said...'re right. Gorgeous voice!! I discovered Jason Lee's (My Name is Earl) playlist on iTunes and he's got some eclectic choices in there that I've been trying to track down - only 30% so far. Vashti Bunyan's Love Song is proving to be a challenge. He's got Miles Davis, Beck and Cocteau Twins on the same list!!

Bono did Hallelujah? Must find that - I've the Leonard Cohen and Buckley version of that song which I LOVE!

darkorpheus said...

I didn't know Bono did Hallelujah either. But I really like the Buckley version too. I thinbk it's actually better than kd lang's version.

Wait - you mean it's possible to get iTunes here? I thought it's not available in our region.

Anonymous said...

Thanks--I just spent the entire afternoon looking through those playlists! ;)

Very interesting stuff and a lot of artists I hadn't heard of. There is a version of Bono doing Hallelujah on YouTube. It's not my favorite version. Here's the link:

darkorpheus said...

Gartenfische - *Laughs* I hope you enjoyed the music on the playlist. It's a great list, isn't it?

And thanks for the Bono "Hallejulah" link.

I still prefer the Buckley & Cohen versions though.

purplefugue said...

You can get the playlists on iTunes but can't buy the songs there. I get them by other means.

Look out for Amazon - soon to be available for purchase in these neck of the woods soon.