Music as Inspiration

COVER ART! Yay. Belongs to them.

Last Christmas, my husband gave me an album, and I will say, it was the first album I’d been given as a gift where there was no actual album involved. It was digital, on the platform I prefer. It was a group he’d found through Pandora on the station of a group I’d introduced him to. Rodrigo y Gabriela is a band comprised of two incredible musicians, Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero, guitarist who fuse flamenco with a variety of things, including heavy metal, and the outcome is plainly amazing. The album of theirs that I have is 11:11. The playlist is as follows: Hanuman, Buster Voodoo, Triveni, Logos, Santo Domingo, Master Maqui, Savitri, Hora Zero, Chac Mool, Atman, and 11:11.

One of the downsides of getting a digital album is a severe lack of liner notes. Sometimes this isn’t an issue. But it took me watching a series of YouTube videos from the artists themselves to realize that the entire album has guest musicians on it. However, digging for background on Wikipedia (band, album) is actually more fun than just reading liner notes. :)

11:11 is Rodrigo y Gabriela’s third studio album, released in 2009. Because it has no lyrics (which I adore – it means that I can project whatever meaning I want onto the songs, particularly good when I’m writing to them), I don’t think they’ve enjoyed the mainstream popularity that their talent merits. All of the music on 11:11 is composed by the band.

Each song on 11:11 is dedicated to one of the artists who has inspired the band, and that information along with any guest musicians will be included with the post of the song review. Because yes, this is a series. Eleven songs for eleven musical influences, wrapped up in 11:11.

Music is a huge part of my writing life, and the inspiration goes both ways. Sometimes I hear a song and realize it’s just the perfect mental soundtrack to a scene, or a theme for a character, and those are for the moments when the character is already established and the scene is already written. Other times just hearing a new song, or an old song in a new way will bring to mind a character and inspire a new scene, or a new story. I can’t actually count the number of stories where that’s happened for me (no really, not hyperbole: a lot of stories were lost in the Great Laptop Crash of 2000 and something, so the number is now uncountable), but believe me, it’s lots.

In the days to come I’ll be blogging about each song in the album – what I think of it, what it’s inspired, and really, how much I love it. Because I do. This whole album is full of love for me and I give it as many stars as possible. Five? Seven? Twelve? Whatever.

If you’d like to check them out on YouTube, because honestly, I think you ought to be running and not walking, this is their channel, this is that series of videos I mentioned, their NPR Tiny Desk Concert which is bloody brilliant, and here, go straight to Hora Zero, my favorite song.

So, anyway. Back to the blog post. What part does music play in your life?

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