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Nancy sent around a link to this video of Bobby McFerrin presenting at the 2009 World Science Festival (we're hoping they'll also release video of Xavier Le Pichon's presentation soon). I don't really know much about McFerrin, but admittedly my impression of him in the past has been cynical — his late-80's chart-topper "Don't Worry, Be Happy" was always a little too earnest for my ears. But I was pleasantly surprised to see McFerrin give this simple, fun, and extremely effective demonstration of the universality of the pentatonic scale.

As it turns out, McFerrin's been on our "big list" of potential guests for quite a while, but like our other music show ideas he's never quite made it into the schedule. This video convinces me that I should probably rethink my impression of Bobby McFerrin, and the following quote makes me think he's worth moving up on our list:

“Music for me is like a spiritual journey down into the depths of my soul. And I like to think we’re all on a journey into our souls. What’s down there? That’s why I do what I do.”

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9 Comments

How wonderful! I love the universality of music! The most simple few notes when put together making a beautiful sound are a gift from the creator that we don't listen to very often.

You might find it helpful to listen to his 23rd psalm for his mother
from MEDICINE MUSIC

I would like to learn more about the "petatonic scale"... what songs?

Oh please reconsider. I've attended Mr. McFerrin's shows and he embodied the qualities that I believe are important in a spiritual practice. Reverence, playfulness, openness, and community. I was one of the thirty or so audience members waving their hands frantically to be chosen to go onstage for an impromptu choral session. It was definitely one of the higher points of joy in that year.

I completely agree with DFaith.  Experiencing Bobby live in concert was an amazing and beautiful spiritual experience.  

Beautiful I loved it

Wow. What a gift this morning!

I heard him 25 years ago at the start of his career in a performance at the historic Bijou Theater in Knoxville. A genius not only musically but in his ability to take his audience with him. And NO SLOUCH on the science OR the spirituality of music.

I am seeking a spiritual core, changing churches (not denominations once again). Heard your show with Bobby McFerrin yesterday.and reclaimed my right to have music as my spiritual ground. Watching this Science 2009 clip further restores that knowing. Instead of looking for a church I am now looking for a place to sing-- gospel music, McFerrin soul music in me--=whatever. Thanks for a great show with a great artist.