It's time once again for my weekly music post. This is where I take some track from my music collection, blog about it, and share it with people via e-mail, sending it as an attachment to their gmail accounts. I always try to supply some related internet links for people not on the list, but this time the music is just too obscure. Sorry about that. Anyway, if you want to sign up to receive weekly music and don't have a gmail account, just let me know, and I'll be happy to send you a gmail invite.
Okay, here's the backstory. A few years back, I worked on and off for a non-profit that trained and sent volunteers to work in development projects in third world countries. I met a lot of fascinating people during this time. One was a musician named Warren. I never really got to know him very well, since I was arriving there soon after he had returned from a year-long stint in Mozambique. He was finishing up the program (which included a bit of follow-time back in the US), and, like many people at that stage, he just wasn't interested in meeting any new people like me.
For his close friends, he made a mix tape of various songs and pieces he had composed. I was completely unaware of the tape's existence until I discovered a copy many weeks later that had accidentally been left behind by one of his friends. Listening to it, I could see that he had talent, but I only listened to it a couple of times. After all, the tape hadn't been meant for me, I didn't know Warren very well at all, and I was also feeling a bit slighted at not having been given a copy. But I did make a point of holding on to it, and recently I digitized it, so I could preserve it in my music library.
Listening to it now, more than seven years later, I have a much greater appreciation for his music. What's really interesting for me is that it reflects his experiences and feelings while he was enrolled in the program, and it seems clear that different songs were written at different times, some in Mozambique and others after he was back in the US. Anyone who has done one of the programs can easily relate to the songs, but it's strange to experience it all expressed as music. Unfortunately, they were all recorded in his bedroom on a cheap tape recorder and not in a professional studio. Warren recorded eleven pieces in all (I use the word "piece", because a few were instrumental.), and I will share three of them with you.
The first is called "Kitchen Table" which is clearly about his life in Mozambique. I did once hear Warren remark that what was really strange there was that many of the people he met there, particularly the children, very much resembled people he had known in his old neighborhood, both in appearance and personality, constantly giving him the weird impression that he was actually back home in the US.
The second is "Together, My Friends" which has to do with getting together with friends one last time. Of course, this is something that happens several times to anyone who participates in one of those programs. First you say goodbye to people in other groups who leave for their assigned country before you leave. Although they will eventually come back, you know that you will miss their return, because you will be overseas. Then your group's time comes, and you leave behind friends you have made in more recent groups. Then you come back to the US, leaving yet more friends behind. And finally, the program comes to an end, and all the people who have been with you in your group right from the beginning all go their separate ways. I think this helps explain why, at the end, Warren didn't want to invest himself emotionally in any new people.
The final song, for which he named the collection, is entitled "Gotta Get outta Here". Warren actually didn't complete all of his assigned time back in the US. One night when it was very late, he just packed up his car and left. No one even knew he was gone until the next day. Incidentally, in the background you'll hear a lawnmower. The odds are very good that that was me; I was doing a great deal of yardwork during this period.
I have no idea what ever became of Warren, although I would hope that he's had a very successful musical career. I don't know anyone who's had any contact with him, and I don't remember where he is from or his last name. In fact, there is even the chance that I have mis-remembered his name, and it's not even Warren. It's kind of weird how I'm the one who ended up preserving these songs.