Did you know that in addition to being a Feldenkrais practitioner, I am a passionate music listener and sometimes composer?!
Did you know that I have a series of playlists on YouTube of carefully selected tracks of some of the music I have found to remain enduringly inspiring after nearly 40 years of fanatical listening?
What is the connection between these my making these playlists and what I offer you as a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method?
Both activities stem from the same deeply felt experience of discovering more peace in my body – and my life – by learning to express my creativity through movement . . .
(If you’d like to know more about my own personal journey through music and movement, I’d like to invite you to read two of my blog posts, “I am a dancer – There, I said it!” and “What is the Meaning of that Music in My Head?!”)
Since I’ve been a big-time music fanatic for a long-time, I love to share what I’ve discovered. If you are a music fan, of course you’ll find that some of my tastes are different than yours, but I think you’ll definitely find some new gems here as I have collected these sounds from far and wide.
Each playlist has a theme and a short description that might suggest a particular way to listen to the included tracks.
[If you’d really like to dive into the many ways you can intentionally relate to the music as you hear in order to open a wider range of experience, please check out my page of “DIY experiments to build your body awareness” and scroll down to the fourth experiment, “How Do You Relate to Sound?”]
Or maybe you’d just like to listen and are not so concerned about those explanations, or performing experiments?!
Either way, as you listen, please accept the invitations you find inherent in the sound . . .
. . . to MOVE YOUR BODY!!
. . . and if you want to share your feedback with me about the selections, I’d love to hear from you . . . (sethbdellinger at gmail.com)
Click title for complete playlist or on song titles to sample individual tracks . . .
Sometimes I want to move, but I want to ease into it little by little. That’s the idea of the journey from the first to the last track of this list.
[Sun Ra – India . . . Kaki King – So Much for So Little . . . Janelle Monae – Neon Valley Street . . . Braids – Fruend . . . StereoLab – Diagonals . . . M.I.A. – Sunshowers . . . Hundred Waters – Thistle . . . Shafiq Husayn – Lil’ Girl . . . Zuco 103 (featuring Lee “Scratch” Perry) – Love is Queen Omega . . . Digable Planets – The Art of Easing . . . Watcha Clan – Im Nin’alu . . . Chanchiki – ええじゃない！. . . Flying Lotus – Zodiac Shit]
Music that makes me feel serene. The kind of stuff I put on when I want to deepen an internal sense of calm.
[James Blackshaw – Running to the Ghost . . . Luisa Maita – Ela . . . Sound Massi – Mesk Ilil . . . Julia Sarr/Patrice Larose – Waruna . . . Led Zeppelin – The Rain Song . . . Mônica Salmaso – Dancape . . . Ephat Mujuru – Dande . . . Maurice Ravel – Le Tombeau de Couperin: I Prelude (performed by Louis Lortie) . . . Nguyên Lê – Mina Zuki . . . Moreno Veloso – Deusa do Amor . . . Juana Molina – Quien? . . . Sonnymoon – Just Before Dawn . . . Tei Shi – Get It . . . Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions – The Hiking Song]
These are songs that “transport” me. Sometimes it’s a literal feeling because by the time they end they have moved so far from the place where they began. Other times, the structure and sounds may be consistent, but there is a deepening or layering that feels transformative. Sometimes there is a middle passage (perfect example: orchestral instrumental in Caetano Veloso’s “Manhata”) where the return to the familiar beginning brings a totally new perspective.
[Zuco 103 – Sací . . . Jason Hann – Baby Sleeping . . . FKA Twigs – Hide . . . Braids – In Kind . . . Caetano Veloso – Manhata (para Lulu Santos) . . . Radiohead – Weird Fishes . . . Björk – Undo . . . Prefuse 73 – Temporal Tempo . . . Flying Lotus – Recoiled . . . John Adams – Road Movies I: Relaxed Groove (performed by Jennifer Koh & Reiko Uchida) . . . Beck – Paper Tiger . . . Young Magic – Valhalla ]
My most unabashed dance mix so far. But probably not your typical dance mix. Anyways, this is the stuff that will make me move no matter how I feel.
[Da Lata (featuring Bembe Seque & Mamani Keita) – Serious . . . Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra – War Hero . . . Herbie Hancock – Spank-a-Lee . . . Cabruêra – Cançao Pra Ninar . . . Talking Heads – Born Under Punches . . . Bounty Killer – Sufferer . . . Ojos de Brujo – Color . . . Funkadelic – I Got A Thing, You Got A Thing, Everybody’s Got A Thing . . . Shafiq Husayn – Dust and Kisses . . . Tiken Jah Fakoly – Quitte Le Pouvoir . . . – Tartit – Chargouba . . . DJ Blaqstarr – Shake It To The Ground . . . M.I.A. – Matahdatah Scroll 01 (“Broader Than A Border”) ]
Each of these songs has at least one moment that would make me stop whatever else I was doing, close my eyes in anticipation of hearing it – and possibly even say “YES!” or “Damn!!” just afterwards. Friends of mine present would probably be annoyed at being forced to stop conversation momentarily by my saying, “wait, wait – listen to this part, coming up right here . . . OH! Did you hear that?!!”
Perfect example: 2nd track – “Iyo Djeli” by Oumou Sangare . . . layer after layer of instruments and vocals are introduced one by one over steady easy rhythm until . . . FINALLY! . . . the full drum kit comes in and all the layers return simultaneously (6:45 in this video). No joke, it’s a rare thing that the tears don’t come streaming down my face – and then the frustration: why oh WHY does the producer fade the mix out so quickly?!!
There are a couple tracks here without those “glorious moments” – because the entire track is glorious!
[ Dirty Projectors – Temecula Sunrise . . . Talking Heads – Pull Up The Roots . . . X Plastaz – Kutesa Kwa Zamu . . . Zuco 103 – Fome Total . . . Gigi – Aba Alem Lemine . . . Céu – Rainha . . . Max Roach & Abbey Lincoln – Freedom Day . . . Gilberto Gil & Caetano Veloso – Tradiçao . . . Susana Baca – Caras Lindas . . . Ruth Tafébé and the Afrorockerz – Wari . . . Salma El Assal – Nafasak Yal Gitar . . . Kailash Kher – Kaise Main Kahoon . . . Jacaré – La Duttilità ]
Sometimes with fire in the title, always with fire in the sound. The opposite of background music. For reaffirming the part of ourselves that we too often hold back.
[ Hiatus Kaiyote – By Fire . . . Bomba Estereo – Fuego . . . Kaki King – Close Your Eyes And You’ll Burst Into Flame . . . Bela Lakatos & The Gypsy Youth Project – Pal O Foro . . . Björk – Pluto . . . Flying Lotus – Clock Catcher/Pickled . . . Nuru Kane – Sadye . . . X Plastaz – Aha! . . . M.I.A – Bring the Noize . . . Sonora La Ponceña – Prende El Fogón . . . Madhorama Pencha – Mehndi . . . Sonnymoon – Watersboiled . . . Zuco 103 – Curso de Reclamaçao . . . Anthony Braxton – Composition 23B . . . Talking Heads – Burning Down The House ]
Mostly understated, never flashy. But brilliant. Sometimes mostly static – but not quite . . . Enjoy the textures and the the details that are under the surface.
[ Braids – Juniper . . . Sonnymoon – Nothing Thought . . . Nelly Furtado (featuring Caetano Veloso) – Island of Wonder . . . James Blackshaw – Skylark’s Herald Dawn . . . Barry Van Zyl – Sotho Raindrops . . . Os Ritmistas – Samba de Pacto . . . Gilberto Gil & Caetano Veloso – Haiti . . . Meshell Ndegeocello – Tie One On . . . Sóley – Halloween . . . Juana Molina – Rio Seco . . . Alexandr Misko (featuring Niklassic and Ephe) . . . Marlui Mirando – Tchori Tchori . . . Nação Zumbi – Voyager . . . Afrika Hitech – Cyclic Sun ]
This music doesn’t always hit me instantly, but the more it continues, the more I find it totally inescapable…
[ Little Dragon – Constant Surprises . . . FKA Twigs – Ache . . . Sonnymoon – Soular . . . Zuco 103 – Tao Lonely . . . Kelly Lee Owens – Bird . . . Kimbra (featuring Bilal) – Everlovin’ Ya . . . Axiom of Choice – Evanescent . . . Jason Hann – Omoroji . . . Heyoka – Bass Spalls . . . Radiohead – The National Anthem . . . Hundred Waters – Out Alee . . . Gilberto Gil & Caetano Veloso – Cada Macaco No Seu Galho . . . Flying Lotus – Fall In Love . . . Alsarah & the Nubatones – Ya Watan . . . Laura Mvula – Green Garden ]
If music is medicine, these are songs are what I would prescribe when you feel like the walking dead. Or maybe you don’t need a wake up call, you feel aliveness already bursting from every cell in your body. In that case, these songs might be an appropriate soundtrack for that feeling.
[ Jane’s Addiction – Trip Away . . . Hiatus Kaiyote – Nakamarra . . . Ntjam Rosie – Never Give Up . . . Braids – Deep Running . . . Dirty Projectors – About To Die . . . Kimbra – Miracle . . . Amen Larrieux – Magic . . . John Coltrane – Giant Steps . . . Caetano – 13 De Maio . . . Lura – Romaria . . . Vanessa da Mata – Ai Ai Ai . . . Jimi Hendrix – Somewhere . . . Sonnymoon – Blue . . . Björk – It’s Oh So Quiet ]
Sometimes when I have music playing, a certain song will make me stop whatever else I’m doing to close my eyes, invited to swim deeper inside the sound and I will think to myself, “my god, this is just . . . gorgeous!” There are certain songs that have this effect no matter how many times I’ve heard them before. These are a few of those songs.
[ Ro : Toro – Hämarad Liblikad . . . Jack Rose – Spirits in the House . . . Takagi Masakatsu – Spring . . . Lou Harrison – Avalokiteshvara . . . Chambao – Como La Luz . . . Catriona Watt – Puirt A Beul . . . Julia Sarr & Patrice Larose – Yow Lai Xar . . . Bert Jansch – Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning . . . Valgeir Sigurðsson – Focal Point . . . Frank Zappa – Night School (performed by Ensemble Modern) . . . Alice Coltrane – Journey In Satchidananda . . . Lhasa – La Frontera . . . Mônica Salmaso – Cara de Indio . . . Imogen Heap – Hide And Seek . . . Mazzy Star – Ride It On . . . Jefferson Airplane – Embryonic Journey . . . Tenore Su Remediu de Orosei – Su Dillu . . . James Blackshaw – Love Is the Plan, The Plan is Death ]
All of these tracks, in one way or another, create movement through the continuous unfolding of one basic sound, rhythm, melody, baseline or feeling. When they are song structures, often the chorus is simply a variation on the verse or change in intensity – it is not a change in the basic quality. Sometimes this is just what I need – something so nice that I don’t want it to change . . . and it doesn’t!
[ Georgia Ann Muldrow – Moleculefonk . . . Zuco 103 – I Came, But… . . . Thundercat – Blackkk . . . Extra Golden – Osama Rach . . . Steve Reich – Tehilim, Part 2 . . . Sonnymoon – Bungee . . . Talking Heads – Girlfriend Is Better . . . Buraka Som Sistema – A Morte Do Sonic . . . Aphex Twin – Flim . . . Maurice Ravel – Un Barque Sur L’Océan (performed by Aurèle Marthan) . . . Trys Keturiose – Kas Tar Teka Dvarelj, Rygalio . . . Juana Molina – Martin Fierro . . . Kelly Lee Owens – Bird . . . Kaki King – Kewpie Station ]
All tracks are what I might call “beautiful” – but none could be as beautiful without the element of percussion. Whether it’s the brilliance of the individual percussionist or the genius of programming or composed arrangements, keep one ear on the beats to feel something that is not simply about keeping time, but creating architectural beauty…
[ Salt Cathedral – Dirty Me . . . Meshell Ndegeocello – Andromeda and the Milky Way . . . Björk – Heirloom . . . Radiohead – 15 Step . . . Zuco 103 – Conscience . . . Braids – Ebben . . . Sonic Youth – Shoot . . . Caetano Veloso . . . Um Tom . . . Flying Lotus – Sao Paulo . . . Hundred Waters – … ____ ____ ___ … . . . Julia Sarr & Patrice Larose – Namana . . . Rita Ribeiro – Saodação e Abertura . . . Georgia Ann Muldrow – Beat Beat . . . Janelle Monáe – Sincerely, Jane . . . Alessandra Leao – Boa Hora ]
MORE TO COME! . . .