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Dreamland

My first date with Maria was a Van Morrison concert, and his music, particularly “Moondance” and “Tupelo Honey,” wove its way throughout our relationship. After it ended, Van became for me both exacerbation and balm. But time moves on. Fortunately.

As the Covid pandemic gripped us in fear and sadness, working from home, I felt a growing need for cheerful, upbeat things.

As the Covid pandemic gripped us in fear and sadness, working from home, I felt a growing need for cheerful, upbeat things. I’ve always been attracted to sad songs, which anyone who knows depression will understand. But I’ve learned that often you can kickstart your mind into a better place merely by doing something happy or enjoyable. It can be very difficult to find the energy, but if you manage to, it can work.

And, I’d heard all the usual songs somanytimes.

One day late in the Spring of 2020 I was at home laboring on a large lab organizational project. YouTube was providing background music. In an idle moment I glanced up at the YouTube window and saw that their suggestions algorithm had served up a song accompanied by this picture:

I was instantly (ahem) intrigued. So I clicked and heard my first ever Electro Swing tune, a song called That’s Right! by a band out of Palermo called “Swingrowers.” The woman in the picture is their singer, Loredana Grimaudo. The music was happy, upbeat, just what I had been looking for but didn’t know it. That’s Right! is a great tune, and it showcases the musicality of the band (the descending bass hook is hypnotic) as well as Loredana’s lovely and powerful singing. It’s a big favorite of mine.

But it isn’t the song that moved me.

Electro Swing is essentially dance music infused with elements of jazz, swing, blues and nearly anything else the artist might like. A lot of it is electronic, unsurprisingly, although Swingrowers do play traditional instruments. Being a dance genre, Electro Swing’s lyrics are generally not all that deep or meaningful. Most are standard love songs, or novelty tunes, or the usual paeans to partying, drinking or schtupping. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. One of the exceptions is another Swingrowers tune, “Dreamland.

When Maria suddenly ended our relationship in early 1977, it was the beginning of a nine year decline for me, emotionally, academically, even physically. I became mired in the past, replaying that failure over and over. I was determined to never, at any cost, risk being hurt like that again.

And then, after nearly a decade, suddenly, inexplicably, there was Gina. She was kind, patient and loving. Completely honest. Gina was the one candle in my darkness. Her answer to my fear, my suspicion and my corrosive cynicism, was simply “Trust me.”

Follow this link to Dreamland.” Loredana’s Sicilian accent can make the words a bit hard to understand in a couple of places, but the lyrics are in the video’s description.

 

 

Profile photo of Dave Ventre Dave Ventre
A hyper-annuated wannabee scientist with a lovely wife and a mountain biking problem.


Tags: music, electro swing, dance, trust
Characterizations: right on!, well written

Comments

  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    How wonderful that this photo popped up at just the right time for you, Dave. The sultry woman who can sure sing with swing, does it for you and that’s what counts. She is lovely to look at and enchanting to listen to. Thanks for keeping positive and sharing this story with us.

  2. Khati Hendry says:

    Thanks for the clip—lots of fun!! Who can’t like that music? And it mirrors the joy of finding Gina. Lovely.

  3. Marian says:

    Fabulous, Dave, loved this song and am grateful to you for writing about it and introducing us to this fun group.

  4. Ah, the pleasure/pain of wallowing in sad songs…I know it well. Just as I know the kind of upbeat music that makes you tap your toe. I’ve always wanted to understand poetry better, but it so often eludes me. But music? Even without words, or without understanding them, it speaks loudly and clearly. Thanks for the intro to Swingrowers…sometimes you just gotta dance!

  5. John Shutkin says:

    Thanks, Dave. I really loved both songs, but can sertainly understand, in the context of your life, while “Dreamland” is the one that truly moves you.

    Incidentally, though you probably know this, the Brian Setzer Orchestra has also done some great “retro” numbers and, more recently, the Postmodern Jukebox, which is a group of musicians put together by pianist Scott Bradlee with a rotating collection of lead and back-up singers — and cool choreography, too.

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    Thanks for introducing me to something new and happy. It moves me to dance (if only in my head).

  7. Suzy says:

    I had no idea there was a youtube algorithm! Shows how naive I am, I guess. Thanks for introducing me to that, as well as to this fun new style of music. So glad it helped you when you needed it.

  8. Susan Bennet says:

    Wow, Dave! It’s a dark snowy day here, and as soon as I put on your song I couldn’t help but get up and swing down the room. I’m going to sign off and keep dancin’ — thanks!

  9. Ditto Suzy, who knew YouTube had an algorithm?

    So glad you found that song Dave, and of course found your wonderful Gina!

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