Saturday, April 12, 2008

Music in the air

"Music in the Air" is the first song we learned to play on our Tonettes. About sixty little people all tooting along on their quarter notes, some in tune but many not. I can still hear it on dark cold nights when my mind plays tricks on me.

But most other nights, I just listen for music in the air.

I'm lucky. I've lived in places where you could hear it. New Orleans was always that way; when I lived in Lakeview, one could hear the sounds of Jazzfest and Voodoo Fest. People with their car radios turned way up loud, passing by. The calliopes on the steamboats could be heard all the way up to the lake. You kind of expect that from New Orleans, with its historical devotion to its own music.

New York, also, is full of music. I used to stand over the Max Neuhaus installation in Times Square, the eerie pipe tones that competed with taxis a story above on the street. The percussion of the pace of life there is a symphony of its own, how fast you walk, what accents you hear, birds and bus brakes.

So I can safely say that tonight, after the fun gig with Sea Cow, I rocked my baby daughter to sleep and heard, through the closed windows (pollen madness outside) the chords and melodies of a band playing somewhere near us. Frat party, maybe. The songs are pretty unidentifiable, and they wash in and out of range, punctuated by the periodic car coming down our street. But it's a band, a rock band, and they've been playing for at least half an hour now. It's a tiny and comforting muted ruckus out there, in the Durham air.


Jeff Hart said...

after the durham bulls game (and a nightcap at tyler's), i sat at home with my window open and heard that same band, here a few blocks west from you.

i remember a few years ago when i lived on watts st, i had come home from an early gig (ie home by 10:30pm) and i could hear issac hayes at the bull durham blues festival. washing late night dishes to the strains of "shaft" is one of the great little pleasures of life in the bull city.

Durham Bull Pen said...

I love hearing the Durham Blues Fest music waft through Trinity Park when that fest is on in September.

One night I stood on my back porch at midnight and listened to Wilson Pickett sing "Midnight Hour." I figured it was a sure bet since he was the last act on stage that night. It was great.