The power of Raffi, err, music

My kids make me proud. They’re strong, young people. They’re kind and loving too. They call or text my wife and me every few days just to check-in or say “hey.” They send me a card on my birthday. Yea, yea, but they each have a long way to go to make things right with me,

When they were babies, I used to love getting comfortable in the rocking chair in their nursery and turning on some Children’s Music or lullabies and singing them to sleep. It was my favorite time of the day. It was great to block out the rat-race of work and financial stresses and just have some “Daddy and Me” time.

Over time, though, the little urchins each turned against me. They would fight sleep by reaching up with their little fingers and touching my lips, letting me know that they wanted me to stop singing. I’m not talking about my daughter or even both of my sons, I’m talking about all three of the little ingrates when they reached the 8 or 9-month mark. Now I’m no Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder or Harry Styles, but we’re talking kid’s songs. I’m a fine enough singer. Each of them, though, were trying to tell me, “Hey dad, let’s let Raffi take this one.”

Damn munchkins. All these years later, I’m still annoyed, but I guess I can’t blame them.

Telling a story

I love the power of words jumping off a page or even a screen. They can bring bring happiness or sadness, joy or outright tears. It’s an amazing thing, but I’ve always been fascinated by the power of music and song and the places that it can take its listeners.

I need at least a few hundred words to touch a reader. With a few strums of a guitar, a deep chord on the piano, ping of a tambourine or a singer hitting a high note, music has the ability to buckle you into your seat and send you on a rocket ship around the world.

For example, I hear children’s singer Raffi sing “Baby beluga in the deep blue sea, swim so wild and you swim so free” and I’m automatically taken to a magical world. 

It’s not’s just children’s music either. When the Beatles come up on my Spotify playlist and Paul McCartney sings that he wants to hold your hand, the song with an upbeat melody and repeating chorus lightens your load, changes your attitude, and has you swinging on clouds and singing the song the rest of the day.

Oh yes, I wish I had that power.

Image by Pexels.

Music takes you places

I flip to another song, and I hear a mariachi band and Johnny Cash’s gravelly voice singing about getting burned. “I fell into a burning ring of fire, I went down, down, down and the flames went higher, And it burns, burns, burns, The ring of fire, the ring of fire.”

I’m there, I’m right there with the Man in Black. I feel the heat of love on the back of my neck. I reach for my wife, to grab her hand, and let her know that I’m thinking of her, and she’s not even in the car with me.

Yikes, I wish my writing had that kind of power. It hits me that my writing needs its own back-up mariachi band! At least a couple trumpet players to make sure a reader doesn’t decide to trail off after reading a graph or two of my work.

Image by Pexels.

Music serves as an escape

Yes, music has power all its own. When you’re sad, it’s the medicine that can brighten your mood. When you’re anxious, it can calm your nerves. When you need a wake up call, it can get you revved up. I think of the British punk rock band The Clash singing the apocalyptic song, London Calling, detailing the ways the world is — to steal one of my father’s frequent phases —”going to hell in a handbasket.”

“London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls
London calling, now don’t look to us
Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain’t got no swing
Except for the ring of the truncheon thing”

A coming Ice Age, starvation, and war sound downright miserable, but the song’s driving beat gets your heart pounding and awake to the world’s struggles. Yes, yes, music takes us places we never expected. So, while I’m disappointed my kids never wanted me to sing, I guess I sort of get it.

They wanted to join in the harmony themselves. You go guys, rock on!


This is the first in a five blog series this week on the ways music touches our lives. My musical tastes tend to be on the mellower side, some rock, country, a little blues and folk, and classical. My kids prefer rap and alternative music. No matter your tastes, we all have our musical preferences that touch our senses.

Let me know what you like to listen to and what you think of the series.

35 thoughts on “The power of Raffi, err, music

Add yours

  1. London Calling is a fantastic song. I’m a Fulham FC fan and it’s played in the stadium before every match, to build up the energy of the crowd. When you have 25,000 people singing along, it never fails to do so and always gets the match off to a good start!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, that’s gotta be a sight. I’ll have to Google that. I love the song, but it is funny that it gets people pumped up when the topic is so dire. Again, amazing how music works. Thanks so much for reading. My post tomorrow is on the one album that you can’t live without. I’m sure it will lead to some different opinions. Ha, ha.


  2. Love this, and love the power of music. Depending on my mood I could listen to anything, but I just took a spin class and the teacher always ends the class with letting us finish out how we like and she usually plays classic rock and today she ended with Van Halen and it was awesome and what I needed. Great post👍

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had a long drive yesterday, taking my son back to school from spring break. That was exactly what I needed some loud, classic rock to make the miles go faster. Love that you listen to a variety. I find if left to my druthers I’ll listen to the same thing, so I try to force myself to switch things up, listen to musicians I hear others talking about or mention. My kids tend to listen to a lot of alternative groups, I try to stay young by going that route. Interesting some of the groups I’ve found that way.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know I’ve REALLY enjoyed a blog post when I’ve started writing in my head by the time I get to the end 🙂 Music always takes me places. I have so many playlists: upbeat stuff to make me move as I do the dishes; really, really angry stuff for when I’m well, angry; ballads for me to sing along to. There’s very little I don’t like. I forget to listen to music sometimes though. I haven’t quite figured out Spotify and oh, I miss the days of homemade CDs of all my favourites, to listen to in the car. Funny, London Calling was only on the periphery for me when it came out. Thanks for giving it back to me, to ‘hear’ for the first time 🙂 I like THAT about music, too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, does that mean we’re going to be seeing a music-related piece sometime soon Patti? I like how you phrased that . . . “forgetting to listen to music sometimes.” I can relate. I forget sometimes to just put music on in the background. It definitely helps spur some of my writing. I think I forget because I’m not the most musically gifted. I didn’t play an instrument. I feel like I got interested in groups and songs later than others. You’re right about Spotify. I do like the ability to skip songs, even though, I miss mixed tapes. When my wife and I were dating, she used to make me mixed tapes to keep me company on the long drive to visit her. Loved those tapes. My post tomorrow is on the one album that you can’t live without. I’m interested to see how people respond.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wrote a piece, awhile back, on my ‘funeral songs’ playlist: songs that inspire me, lift me up, make me happy to be alive 🙂 It is the playlist I go back to the most often, and despite its title, has become my ultimate LIFE song list. Like you, I got truly interested in music much later as well. I loved disco (sorry, not sorry) as a teenager but oh, I missed so much other stuff! I’m forever introducing my husband to “a new song I just found” only to discover it’s 30 years old 🙄 And I love that your wife made you those mixed car tapes. Now THAT’s love 🙂💕🙏

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I love your idea of a funeral songs playlist, especially because there are so many one off songs that I like. I may not like the rest of the album, but for whatever reason, that particular song speaks to me. Plus, I’m thinking of the movie Love Actually where Liam Neeson’s deceased wife makes him play the Bay City Rollers’ song Bye, Bye Baby at her funeral. Hmm, I may have to find your piece and come up with my own list. Ha, ha.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ve added it to the brainstorming list. I see lots of songs that will make my wife laugh or feel silly:
        –1960’s hit, It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to.
        –Kool and the Gang, Celebration.
        –Queen, We are the Champions.
        I’ve always said that when I die, I want it to be a party. Why not. Ha, ha.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I completely agree with you about the power of music. It can lift you up with an upbeat tune or turn you melancholic with minor chords. Lyrics help, but for me, the best music is solely instrumental, because then my mind has 100% control over its thoughts without being swayed by another’s words. And, as a bookaholic, words are also important, not because they bring you to the moment, but because they let you escape it. And that’s sometimes necessary because, as your dad says, sometimes things are “going to hell in a handbasket.”

    I’m looking forward to learning what music moves you – and why.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love instrumental when I’m writing (thinking Yo Yo Ma or some violin music, enough to calm me, but not enough to take me off task. I love harder driving music when I’m driving. Thank goodness for classic rock yesterday driving home from dropping my son off at his school. I definitely needed the pick me up. I love ballads and love songs when I’m trying to think of something to write about. I write tomorrow about the one album that’s a must for you, the one you love listening to anytime, anywhere. I’m interested to hear other’s thoughts.


  5. Your story of “Daddy and Me” time made me laugh. I agree with you that music really has a universal power, that transcends language and culture, and really brings people together.

    Looking forward to reading the series of your series!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad it made you laugh, but I’m still sore over that one. All three of them did that. And of course, they never did it to their mother. Damn ingrates!!!! Ha, ha. It gets worse. My wife reminded me of this yesterday. When they were older and I was reading books to them, I would try to add little voices to the characters. Of course, they told me “just read Dad, no voices.” Ugh. My creativity is lost on my kids.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m joking. It’s all good. My kids are pretty much grown at this point, one in college, the other two out and doing their thing. Fortunately, they still give me lots of fodder to tease them. And yes, it is great when they come back and are appreciative for the sacrifices and things that you’ve done for them. A very good feeling inside.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This should be a fun series Brian! I listen to a wide range of styles, although opera doesn’t thrill me 😉 I tend to go by my mood, so rainy cool days are acoustic, cleaning the house is my classic rock favs, sometimes when I’m missing the kids I’ll find music that reminds me of them. Are you going to sing for us at some point? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree with Deb — so good, Brian! And I especially loved this: …”music has the ability to buckle you into your seat and send you around the world.” Wow! And hey, a little memory lane moment with “London Calling”. Not a bad opener to a Monday! 😉😉😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked that line. I see now that I forgot to add “send you on a rocket ship around the world.” Ha, ha, I’m glad it still works. Funny. My piece tomorrow is on the one album that you have to listen regularly or have on your playlist. I interested to hear the discussion. I’ll give you a hint: mine is not . . . Raffi or any other kid’s singer. (However, I must admit that I did like when the kid’s picked Kenny Loggins album, Return to Pooh Corner.” Ha, ha.)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I really like a wide variety of music…both current and “oldies.” People ask me who I like and I can rattle off a number of artists and groups that span fifty years, and those call-outs would likely vary depending on who I had heard most recently. Lots of favorite performers. I don’t usually “target” specific music for specific moods. I just put my “heavy rotation” playlist on and roll with whatever comes up next. Music always brightens my day when I put it on, and many older music I listen to inspires memories of events that took place when the songs were current.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I so relate! I feel the same way about the power of artwork—one glance and off we go into whatever world the artist takes us. Writing, on the other hand, requires a commitment on the part of the reader. No fair, right? Nope. Us writers really have to sing for our supper. Err—I mean write.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, those music and artist types in our mix have so much easier than us Julia. Ha, ha. They just show one image or riff of a song and they got their audience. We, writers, have to keep stringing our audience along from paragraph to paragraph until we get to the end of our piece. That’s tough work. We need to ask for more money. Ha, ha. Love it — “Us writers really have to sing for our supper. Err—I mean write.” You get my sarcasm!!!!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I read Part 2 of this series first, so I’m backtracking. Yes, music has a power no other art form can equal. We may not be constantly reminded of lines from books or movies, or great visual works of art, but we’re almost ALWAYS humming or singing SOMETHING. There’s not much music I don’t like, although I can only take heavy metal in very small doses.

    Liked by 1 person

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