Sunday, December 20, 2009

Reasons To Be Left Behind: Hallelujah

 Photo by syndstarr

As promised in my earlier blog, I’m still working on my New Year’s CD to send to friends and family. As I select each song I imagine a person to whom I’d be playing DJ. So many of you are experiencing the holidays in different ways -- from surprising new romance to subtle joy over something accomplished in one’s soul or one’s life, to heartache as you mourn a beloved person lost during this holiday time

So each song on my playlist is a story, a call-and-response. I hope my playlist will reach out to each and every one of you listening.

Here’s the playlist so far:

Sweet Old World/ Emily Lou Harris (see this post)
Hallelujah/Allison Crowe
K’erachaim’av/Yiddish prayer/Brenda’s solo with Diana Shvets accompanist
Peace in the Valley/ old spiritual sung by Sam Cooke
The Crossing (Osiyeza) Overtone [from the new South African movie “Invictus”

This heart-stirring song “Hallelujah” was written by Leonard Cohen and covered by other artists -- from the Canadian Rufus Wainwright to k.d. Lang. I chose for my 2010 New Year’s CD a lesser-known, but passionate and soaring version by Canadian singer Allison Crowe on her album “Tidings: 6 Songs for the Season.”

The first time I ever heard Crowe’s version I fell on the floor in absolute stillness to better hear it, to bear it. Crowe asks, “Why singing? Why Breathing?” on her website and her soulful vocals, her craftsmanship are another reason to be left behind. There is an echo of incandescent grief to her voice that is haunting. BBC radio listeners voted Crowe’s “Tidings” album among the greatest cover albums of all time. Listen in at this video link and see why. And then listen to her “Hallelujah” for yourselves.

Caution: Do not drive while listening. You may not be able to stay between the white lines!

Allison Crowe, "Tidings" album videos
Please join in with your harmonies and your suggestions. If you have songs that are especially dear to you during the holiday or New Year season, please post them so we can all enjoy a call-and-response. Kind of an impromptu on-line choir, or an cyberspace acapella. Also, for those of you who are blue at Christmas, see this PBS link to “Blue Christmas” on their Religion and Ethics website.

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