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Listening Days

By Deems Tsutakawa
For The North American Post

There are days when I wake up with an “ear worm,” which means there is a song or melody going through my head even though there is no music playing.
It is usually a very catchy song and the funny thing is that it is almost never the same song. This “condition” can last for hours but eventually fades away without any lasting effects. Then there are the rhythms of the mind. I can hear in my mind various drum beats and they go with me virtually all the time day and night. These beats make me want to play drums or tap out beats on a chair or table where I am seated. They are cool, catchy and friendly beats. “Folk rhythms,” if you will.
Some days I wake up and want to hear serious jazz or Afro Cuban music. Other days I want funk, R & B, or Blues depending on the mood or feeling of that day.
I suppose we like different foods on different days as we have the luxury of a wide variety of cuisines at our disposal.
The funny thing about the music and rhythms of the world is that the differences between the various genres and cultures is fast becoming quite vague. Popular dance beats cut right across all the different civilizations that are known to us and have been spread around quickly via the mass media. You can find drums, guitars, flutes and singers in just about every corner of the globe. Music has long been recognized for its therapeutic value and is known for its ability to affect mood, trigger memories and foster loving associations.
Many doctors believe that certain forms of music can help you tap into your own innate ability to heal your heart. It is no surprise that over the last few decades the healing power of music has been studied and utilized by countless health care givers with good results.
When one thinks about the function of music in our society and others around the world, several ideas come to mind. Some people look at music as a way to make money which can be quite tenuous at times. Others see it as a way to “decorate our environment” using beautiful sounds. I like the idea that musical endeavors will usually bring people together for an enjoyable time and always enhances the spirit of the party.
It should be noted that performing live music not only promotes camaraderie amongst the band members but also raises the adrenaline levels of both the audience and the performers. This type of euphoria is a natural high, which is the best kind and what musicians and performers live for.

[Editor’s Note]
Deems Tsutakawa is a local Sansei musician. He can be reached at deemst@deemsmusic.com