3/21/20: The lion sings tonight

Damn, these are crazy times. Even just a week ago seems like years. I hope whoever reads this is healthy and safe, and that if you’re ill, you get well soon.

I’m right near New York City, which as of now has become the center of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. Everything is closed, there’s a curfew at night, and we’re all encouraged to stay at least six feet away from each other – no mean feat considering that this is the most densely populated part of the country. I haven’t been more than six feet away from other people in decades.

I have been out for walks, and reactions from other people are pretty interesting. Everyone is careful to keep their distance, and greetings have ranged from totally ignoring me (which is pretty standard behavior around here anyway) to a big wave hello from across the street. Hello! You look like you’re okay! We’re okay too. Stay safe.

Like so many other people, I’ve been laid off for the interim, and I’m spending a lot of time listening to, writing, and playing music. One rabbit hole I tend to fall down on is the “how many versions of one song can I find?” game, which I find fascinating. I’ll get interested in a song, and try to find different versions of it. I enjoy comparing the arrangements of the songs, which gives me ideas for my own stuff.

A couple of days ago I realized I could no longer live without a copy of the Tokens’ “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” so I bought it.

That made me think of Miriam Makeba’s “Mbube,” which is an earlier version of the song.

And then I realized I have They Might Be Giants’ “The Guitar,” which came out in the nineties and took the tune in a whole different, and awesome, direction.

They all have their high points. Miriam Makeba’s voice is so pure and strong; it cuts through my heart like a knife through butter. The Tokens version has that classic sixties pop production sound and a great vocal arrangement. And They Might Be Giants, as always, takes a fantastically creative approach to the song.

Enjoy all three, while I go wash my hands.

Published by Elizabeth Walsh

I love music. I listen to it, I compose it, I play it, I write about it. This is more or less a bunch of songs I really like, or dislike, or just can't get out of my head. More info about me and what I do is at www.elizabethwalsh.org.

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