Yes, I know a lot of you are shivering in winter temperatures in the northern hemisphere. But here in Australia it's the end of a long, hot summer. A summer just right for listening to music. Usually that's a treat I have to save for after work as I find music, however terrific, interrupts the flow of words and the sound of my characters' voices. But lately I've had a little time between books. Time when I've been busy around the home trying to catch up on chores I really don't want to do in the heat, or in the car, running errands. It's been perfect for listening. And what a treat!
First up I've been sampling my new Christmas acquisition: Ella and Louis the Ultimate Duets. It's a terrific 2 CD compilation guaranteed to soothe the kinks out of tense shoulders, get feet tapping, and ease the pain of long-neglected paperwork. My old recording of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong is long past its use by date after years of use and this is a terrific replacement. I love the easy relationship that's so evident when these two get together, as well as the great sound.
The flow is relaxed and fun with lots of old favourites including 'I Won't Dance', 'Let's Call the Whole Thing Off' and 'Dream a Little Dream of Me'. These are vintage recordings from the 50s so it's a real blast from the past. I missed Ella and Louis the first time round (they were a little too early for me) but a friend introduced me to them years and years ago and I've been enjoying their music ever since. The lush, rich tones of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong's outrageously gravelly voice just work so well together. Perfect if you're in the mood for some gentle relaxation.
My other summer treat this year has been a lot newer and came courtesy of my teenagers. A year or more ago I heard music coming from my daughter's room and just had to ask about it. Violins, harpsichord and pop? Vampire Weekend, came the reply. A US band that brought out its first (self titled) album early in 2008, they were unlike anything I'd heard. Helpful information about them being a baroque indie pop band with African influences didn't help. What mattered was that the music appealed. Pop with a unique twist and, I soon discovered, great to listen to.
So this summer, as I've found more time to listen, I've revisited 'Vampire Weekend' and their second album 'Contra' and have found them both upbeat, a little different and fun. I still prefer the first album with its slightly baroque flavour, but it's been a summer of enjoyable listening.
And there are so many other new sounds to discover. Having teenagers with eclectic music tastes is a wonderful education, believe me! I never know what I'm going to hear next, but it's rarely boring. And right now, before I'm looking down the barrel of my next deadline, I have the opportunity to sneak a couple of albums on the CD player myself. Wonderful!
Where do you get your musical discoveries from? Listening to the radio? From family, friends or the net? Or do you prefer staying with old favourites?
Annie's got a mix of old and new this month herself. THE BILLIONAIRE'S BOUGHT MISTRESS is out in the UK in hardback this month. It was previously released in a centenary anthology. And in Australia and New Zealand, FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE-CHILD is on the shelves. She can't pick a favourite between them. If you want to find out more about them, or enter her latest contest to win books, visit Annie's website. To buy them, visit UK Amazon or Mills and Boon Australia.