“Music is about transformation and transcendence, we are experiencing something that we cannot see, we can hear it, it gets inside our bodies and it can change us”
Last night Freedom Is a Voice by Bobby McFerrin starts playing on the radio and his play on words and melody as well as the apparent light nature of his music got me thinking “this chap genuinely seems like the happiest chap ever”. So naturally as one does I then decided to dedicate the remainder of my night and subsequent midnight to digging deeper on the man with intent to find out what “makes him tick”, what’s his story kahle kahle!
I went through as much material as I possibly could in the time I had between the start and end of e ‘’night data/owl” be it documentaries, performance videos, interviews, articles you name it I went through it. And weirdly to my surprise the answer to my question was right in front of me the whole time, The Music makes him tick, The Music makes him happy! How and why did I think otherwise.
While in the process of what I’d now say in hindsight was stalking the man, I got to know more of the man, more of the music and while at it got some fire quotes but I was not content with just that I felt a strong urge to share all of what I was witnessing with someone else. Now question was how do I go about doing that on this platform without simply copying and pasting what one can already easily find on the internet. So I decided to do a smallo nyana profiling of my own on Mr. McFerrin and this is what I came up with:
“We are all graduates of MSU – making stuff up”
I have witnessed several times the wonders Masego does when he creates a whole song literally on the spot while performing and I’d always thought that level of improvisation can never be topped, turns out it has already been topped decades prior. Bobby is hands down king of improv, and he does it all with no use of instrument. He creates amazing music on the spot using just his voice, hands, feet, chest my people ngithi I saw mans put a mic against his Adam’s apple and it sounded good! Matter of fact he has an entire album made of songs that were created on the spot in studio and as a result cannot be recreated.
“Nothing bores me more than a song played the same way twice”
Bobby created his biggest ever hit “Don’t worry, be happy” which was also improvised then went incognito only to show up later on conducting an Orchestra?!? I mean who does that, who goes from creating music with literally no instruments and lyrics to conducting a 30 piece orchestra? Clearly the man isn’t just king of improv but a true lover of music and hands down a musical genius.
“…my favourite part is when I’m not the one singing”
Now performance wise, Bobby’s live performances are as charismatic as it gets and can be used as definition for “audience interaction”. The audience at his shows do not only consume the music but are an integral part in the actual creating of the music and by this I mean there is a big chance at some point you might find yourself holding the mic and leading an entire auditorium in song!
Bobby McFerrin is a musical genius, book writer, hit-maker and performer of note but most importantly he does all that while putting on that wide contagious smile of his!
Ok I admit nam I improvised and my improvisation might not be up to par, but hey it does say “I hope my lack of writing skills is overshadowed by the passion conveyed” on intro to the blog!
Do check out this actual 3 part YouTube docie and any other content on Bobby McFerrin, let’s engage!