Friday, January 28, 2011

Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound

Due to my active imagination and obsession with reading deep thoughts way too late at night, I was faced with another night of insomnia. I've come to terms with this. I just use the time to learn more stuff! I took advantage of living in the future, and used my Apple TV Netflix Watch Instantly contraption to view a wonderful documentary about one of my heroes: Joan Baez.

The thing I love about Joan Baez is she is brave... most likely the result of being someone who had an unconventional upbringing. She was raised by an intellectual college Professor, whose job moved them all over the country. He parents were very liberal, and cared very much about the world. This made a huge impact on Joan. She saw many parts of the country, and witnessed many different lifestyles. She saw poverty, riches, ignorance, joy. Music was always a part of her life. She felt a connection to folk music that had been long forgotten. She brought new life to old sounds.  

When the the Civil Rights Movement started, she was already a star. She didn't think twice about traveling to the marches in the south to show her support for De-Segregation. Her talent and passion won the attention of Martin Luther King, Jr, and her voice became a musical sound that symbolized unity and equality in the same way the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia symbolizes the idea of ringing in freedom.

Young Joan Baez was an upper-middle-class Mexican-American brown skinned girl, with European features and quick wit that got her access into places most minorities never get a chance to experience. Her spirit was, and still is, magnetic. Her charismatic ability to hypnotize a crowd with her beautiful voice and true passion was enough to make a gigantic impact on the American public. 

Who is this woman? Why does she care so much? These are most likely thoughts newcomers to her music thought. She indulged her fans a little, but the documentary I watched last night featured a woman in her 60's, who has dealt with the traumas of youth, giving her the confidence and wisdom to share what she knows. 

I can't recommend this documentary enough. Even if you don't relate to her sound, the spirit of Joan Baez is not only inspiring, but important for these times. 

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