I was listening to Mike Francis’ “Let Me In” some days ago and that indelible tune and voice brought me back to high school and college in an instant. It was just very recently that I found out that Mike Francis had passed away in 2009 by reason of lung cancer and as I dwelt into the song, it was only natural that melancholy would follow.
His voice and songs to me signify the moments in my life when I still had dreams, when I still dreamt; and having the time with friends that I would keep perhaps through the rest of my life. Those memories are now suspended in youthful buoyancy, in a place where there were no worries, just smiles, echoing laughter, a sense of belonging-ness and not a care for whatsoever which seemed to last and last.
I remember dancing to “Let Me In,” “Friends” and “Survivor” in this joint we had in our tiny little island-town and everyone in the whole club would dance in unison almost like a choreographed wave to this 3 to 4-step swaying movements that we all knew and at that moment, did anything else matter? I remember us talking over the smooth beats set to the loud acoustic systems, asking each other if so and so walked in yet? I liked it that we did that; to me it exhibited our dedication to socialize at all costs. I also liked it that girls danced with girls and even boys with boys in groups and no one thought anything of it. Fun to us was defined in innocent ways; not really attached to mating, hooking up or any sort of these unnecessary dramas that beset the youth of today.
During those times, we could just be lounging around in a common hangout place for all the friends and a song by Mike Francis would be the music on the background. Our FM stations also knew when to play his tunes – which was all throughout the day; week in and week out. The music did not seem to get old because it had that laid back, relaxing sound to it and it was not a surprise to me that much of Francis’ music fostered the Chill-Out and Lounge mixes of late.
As I deviate back to Mike Francis and the song however, I recognize that with all the people that connect me to this song having grown up, living their own lives and our youth concluded, I get a well-defined pang of sadness. Even though the time, the music and the people still continue in the 80’s – dancing, laughing, talking over the songs and swaying uniformly in my mind, the slight tightness in my chest reminds me that I am not there anymore. And with the musician gone, I feel that my moments with his music now remain in another time and place which I love and cherish but cannot go to anymore.
Grazie per la musica e ricordi. Ciao Francesco…
When I first met Señor Husband, I was excited to share Mike Francis with him but it was taken with a cold reception at the time. Not too long ago though, he heard a Chill-Out/Lounge mix titled “I love You” and told me this was his new song for me. When I first heard it, I was certain I knew the voice and with more research, he found it was one of Mike Francis’ last recordings and that’s when I discovered he died only a few years back. At this moment, Husband cannot get enough of Mike Francis’ tunes and I liked it that Mike’s music had come full circle in my life.
I do not know a whole lot about Yael Naim except that she sings the lyrics of this catchy piano acoustic song “New Soul;” not just sing, but she also plays the piano piece. Gadget people have for sure heard the intro of the ditty in the Macbook Air commercials when it first came out and was first introduced to her in this manner.
I, on the other hand first heard her in Pandora Radio and was hooked to the pure, innocent and whimsical brand of her sound and the touch of poignancy with the ballads. Yael’s main collaborator David Donatien, a multi-instrumentalist, worked with Yael after her previous 2-3 albums fell short of the acceptance that was due her and I believe the rest is… critical acclaim.
With the advent of “Yael Naim,” her second solo studio album, the indie-pop music world hasn’t been the same. The songs in this album are in French, Hebrew and English; this is “renaissance” in and of itself. The songs I particularly love in the album are: “New Soul,” for it’s catchy tune and lyrics; Far, Far, because it is heartrending, and Paris – which is sang in Hebrew with some lines in French, for its poetry. I hope Yael and David will always make their music with this freshness of an approach so that I will have something to look forward to in my MP3 player when I need to.
Whose voice echoes in my Ipod these days? it’s of a woman whose pronunciations of English words while singing are in French and Hebrew accent, named Yael Naim.