I’ve been figuring out how to share music with you, because music is important to me. It was a core influence in the writing of The Erenwine Agenda, which is not a book about music. It’s a book about design-thinking. And compassion.
The music carries the reader through the arc of design-thinking.
The music carries the reader through a journey of compassion.
Sound, in outdoor places—the hum of an all terrain vehicle, the whistle of birdcall—the sound of voices, carries the story.
It’s all music.
A phrase popped into my head upon waking this morning, one of those dream-state ideas. I wrote it down and googled it. It captures the essence of what I’m getting at here, even though I cannot find an exactly-perfect translation.
It’s something like:
flying high. Traveling fast. Tall travel; passing height. Tall passer; passing over, at a height.
And so, this phrase that came to me, will do by way of explanation. #altopassante
A couple of years ago I sat for coffee on Granville Island in Vancouver with a dear friend and we, David and I, discussed this very topic. David and I met as undergraduate students in a post-colonial literature class run by the English Department at the University of British Columbia and was taught by the very smart Aruna Srivastava. Neither David nor I was an English major: I was an Urban Geography student (before Architecture) and David studied Music.
Somewhere in years after that Commonwealth Lit class, those interests of literature, geography and music came together in my work.
This made coffee with David the perfect setup to stumble into a deeper awareness of my involvement with music in literature. David drew a further understanding out of my thought process and made the music make sense to me, at it relates to my own creative process of writing. And I’m thinking of him now as I write this post about waking up with “altopassante” on my mind, because even though he would say “you totally made up that word!” I know David gets the core concept of this flow between music and literature, because he taught it to me.
This is the music that takes characters to that “altopassante” place, that drives a story to a height and then drops, air-pressure-like, to indicate conflict; that rises again with that “altopassante” energy, to arrive us in a newer and clearer place.
This is the music of The Erenwine Agenda:
Jascha Heifetz, Bach’s Chaconne from Partita No 2 in D minor
Norah Jones, Come Away With Me
Anoushka Shankar, Rise
Psy, Gangnam Style (강남스타일) M/V
Rhos Male Voice Choir – Music From The Welsh Mines
Celia Cruz, Para Decirte Adios
Pat Benatar, Love Is A Battlefield
Bobby McFerrin, Don’t Worry Be Happy
Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Mozart’s Requiem
Barbara Bonney, Schubert’s Ave Maria
Julia Fischer, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons