What piece of art changed your life? How did it affect you?
Lisa: Well, thinking back to when I was a kid makes sense since we do music for kids. Two life-changing visual arts that captivated me were: the Disney films Fantasia, Snow White, and Bambi. They were absolutely beautiful to watch, and I did so, over and over (even though it always frustrated me that Snow White cooked for seven little men and hardly knew her prince.) I was also captivated by the Warner Bros. cartoons of Chuck Jones.
I realize these are two very disparate entities, but perhaps that gave me balance. Sort of like my love of the Beatles and Rolling Stones.
Both the Beatles and Rolling Stones provided the soundtrack to my early life, with "The Long and Winding Road" and "Something in the Way She Moves" playing as I role played romantic stories with my Barbies. The Rolling Stones' "Angie" and "Fool to Cry" (and many others) mark off teen dances and the romantic blues in my early life. Linda Ronstadt's "Hasten Down the Wind" record got me singing and was the first album I ever bought. But it was Chrissie Hynes and the Pretenders that made me want to leave home and move to New York City, which is exactly what I did.
Lastly, the movie Amadeus really got me loving Mozart. And within that movie there's a piece by Mozart used in scene when Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) recalls hearing Serenade No. 10 in B-flat, KV361. I have it on my iPod now, and whenever I'm on the road and need peace, I listen to it. Another classical piece that has a similar effect on me is Eric Satie's Gynopedia. I remember listening to it on one of the lullaby CDs I bought for Jesse when she was a baby. It was always effective in soothing both of us. Now, years later, she plays it on our piano and it has become one of those many magic things I am thankful for.
When I think of it, there are countless wonderful songs that have absolutely affected me, and can--like looking at a favorite old picture--transport me back to a time, even a moment in my life. If there's one good thing about humans, it's our ability to make art--whether aural or visual. I honestly think it's one of the things that makes us what/who we are.
Mikel: A changing point for me was my first visit to the campus of Johns Hopkins University. I was an unsophisticated 14-year-old kid from East Baltimore whose cultural high point was Black Sabbath. A friend from high school invited me to see a film at Hopkins on a Friday night. Afterwards, we saw some bands and visited the coffeehouse. It was like a whole new world in technicolor had opened to me. Art exhibitions, music of all styles, and interesting people from all over the world eager to share and converse made my weekends new and exciting.
I would later see musicians like Michael Hedges and Howard Markman and develop friendships that are still lasting. Though I was never a student there, I will always see JHU as the place where my personal exploration began.