Thursday, October 28, 2004

It's about time

Overshadowed by the incredible World Series victory by the Boston Red Sox last night was an event that, while perhaps not so momentous in the Great Scheme of Things--though I suppose it depends on your perspective--was also long overdue. McGill University, my alma mater, conferred an honorary Doctor of Music on a truly Great Canadian (I wonder where SHE placed in the voting): Joni Mitchell. To my mind, few other artists have ever blended such emotionally striking texts (i.e., poetry) with music that is both complex and highly original--not even Bob Dylan. Joni has it all, a Renaissance woman. She's a fine writer, a unique composer, a wonderful singer, an accomplished musician, a painter--AND, she managed to stay in control of her career and choose her own path. Among Canadian musical figures, her genius is up there with Oscar Peterson's and Glenn Gould's.

Joni and I have one thing in common (besides combining poetry and music--assuming one would call my humble attempts at playing the trombone while reading poetry as such): we have both read poetry at the Yellow Door Coffeehouse . But I doubt I'll be getting an honourary doctorate...

Here's a link to one of my favourite Mitchell songs: A Case of You

4 comments:

Aisha said...

Mine is Both Sides Now -- in that one, she is poetic and punchy, folk ballady and interesting at the same time.

Peter Garner said...

Hi Aish. Yeah, I love that one too. A few years back, CBC aired a 2-hour documentary on her life. Fascinating. I loved seeing the footage of her playing with Jaco Pastorius. Talk about surreal.

paula said...

Hope you'll forgive me, Ranger. I didn't know Joni Mitchell was Canadian, but have ALWAYS loved her and her songs. Thanks for posting this.

Peter Garner said...

No need to apologize, Paula, I'm sure most people assume she's American; and in fact, she lives in California. Like so many Canadian artists, she's had to go south of the border to makek a living because this country (both the government and the public) does so little to support its arts.