Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Day 229 Common- Hip Hop Rap and the Pittsburgh Symphony-A voice and community.

As I have said before, I never envisioned myself listening  to  hip hop rap music  but  in my effort to try new things, I have discovered  that I enjoy  the way the rhythmic chants, like poetry, condenses a message. Rapping at times also gives a passionate voice to a cause or an issue  (Day 170- Rapper Kuf Knots  and  Day 122-Biz Markie ).  Common, a hip hop rapper, poet, author, and actor, brought  this style of musical  expression  to the stage with the symphonic sound of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  With the  added  ensemble of  strings, the musical messages seemed  even more powerful- an amplified voice.

Prior to this evening,  I did not know much about his music but Common's dialogue during the show added an element of intimacy.  I also enjoyed  the way  that the symphony under the direction of  Andres Franco,  feverishly  played during some of  the songs which added  fullness to the hip hop beat and the fluidity of  rhythmic speech.  Hats  off to our Pittsburgh Symphony for being so inventive.   

Common reminded the audience of his roots from the south side of Chicago where in 1992 he had the debut album, “Can I Borrow a Dollar?”.  He quoted August Wilson, “We are put on this planet to do God’s work”  before  the song, “The People” which soared  with the full background of the symphony as hands waved in the audience.   

Throughout the show Common referenced youth lost to the streets, community and other social issues but he was also playful as  he brought a woman to the stage for a glass of wine and song. The sound of scratching was added to the orchestra strings during “Resurrection ” and I  especially enjoyed his reverence  for women in the song “If Women Took Over.”

 The highlight for many was the powerful  “Glory” performed with the added choir which brought  the audience to their feet. This song about the civil rights movement, won  the 2015 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and a 2015 Academy Award from the film “Selma”. 

This show was an inventive mesh of worlds and musical styles. The  night with Common was one where we  all enjoyed  the music as one community.

(The Pittsburgh Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony  POPS 2017-18 season continues with  interesting shows that I intend to keep in my empty nest survival tool box.)

Spiritual Reflection

" ..You are citizens along with all of God's holy people. You are members of God's family " (Ephesians 3:19)

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