I paused the blog yesterday out of respect for the music industry’s Blackout Tuesday movement. It was a day of action, not without its complications and controversy as there were varying opinions on what people should or should not post or hashtag.
In the end, I did what felt right in my heart, to show my respect and to honour people. And since I draw from artists, many of whom set music aside for the day, I participated as they recommended: I spent the day quietly reading and listening to many viewpoints about the historical abuses of Black people dating back to the time they were forced on ships in Africa to endure lives of slavery in North America. All the while, I was aware of the mistreatment of Indigenous people across North America and my country of Canada’s continued failure to honour treaties made with the Indigenous nations many generations ago.
As I prepared to resume my blogging, I decided I wanted to feature some artists of colour to honour the communities from which so much fabulous music has come. One of the musicians I respect the most is the gifted composer, arranger, instrumentalist, producer and teacher, Jimmy Greene.
Sweety and I came to know Greene and his wife Nelba Marquéz-Greene in the three years they lived in our city, Winnipeg, with their two precious children. The Greenes are two of the most courageous, kind, humble, faithful and generous people we know, and we admire them so deeply for the way they have lived their lives, both before and after unimaginable tragedy struck their community and them personally in 2012.
From Greene’s website: “The deluge of political divisiveness, horrific violence and hateful rhetoric that seem to have polluted our lives on a daily basis over the last few years have left many people across the country and around the world feeling angry, frustrated and hopeless. It would be more than understandable if that feeling was even more intense for Jimmy Greene, for whom the flood of outrageous headlines and social media missives play out against the backdrop of personal tragedy… Greene refuses to succumb to the negativity, however.”
And in the liner notes of Greene’s CD Beautiful Life, Greene say, “Much attention has been paid to the way in which my precious Ana died, but this album attempts to paint the picture of how she lived — lovingly, faithfully and joyfully.”
Greene and Marquéz-Greene have devoted themselves to making sense and meaning out of their grief and loss: she in establishing and overseeing The Ana Grace Project, a multi-facted and dynamic organization in which she works tirelessly to improve the lives and circumstances of all children; and he with his most recent CDs, Beautiful Life and Flowers, both dedicated to Ana, honouring a remarkable young girl whom we had the gift to know. The CDs occupy a special place in a display case in our home and are a constant reminder of a family that means so much to us and that we miss dearly.
“Day after day I see children play,
Laugh, turn and wave goodbye,
Your beauty in their eyes
Can’t help but wonder why….
Time’s moving fast
Can’t change what has passed
Love will outlast this life
The day my life is though
My heart will search for you through the sky
We’ll live in paradise
When I come home”
(“When I Come Home,” by Jimmy Greene)
Greene, who was nominated for GRAMMY awards for the album Beautiful Life and today’s song from it, recently completed his doctorate in music.
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy. And if you like the music, please support the artist and buy it.
Here’s a video of Jimmy performing the song on The Meredith Vieira Show, from the show’s official YouTube channel: