TED Conversations

Ken brown


This conversation is closed.

Sharing exceptional voices

It can be anyone from any age and era,we sing to one another,birds sing,just about all creatures do but there are those (i believe) amongst our kind that have a touch of something,call them what you want,gifted,talented,exceptional.A powerful singer will move in ways that can be trained but also one can see how it helps move them like the song is playing out inside them,through them.

It can be anyone from anywhere on the planet.

  • thumb
    Aug 10 2012: As an radio programmer I know what is the value of sounds. Like plants . Each voices has got something. We should listen it, promote it and conserve it.
    • thumb
      Aug 10 2012: You must hear it all Jay,Do you have any personal ones that you would like to share?
  • thumb
    Aug 8 2012: Where to start! Louis Armstrong, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Joplin, Adele, Amy Whinehouse, the late Chavela Vargas, Nina Simone, Ayo, James brown, Edith Piaf, Andrea Bocelli, Angela Gheorghiu.....

    A favourite of mine at the time is Emili Sande http://youtu.be/Axh74Cf0qSg

    And a voice that always makes me smile is the one and only Louis Armstrong http://youtu.be/E2VCwBzGdPM
  • thumb
    Aug 8 2012: Bet you can't watch this the whole way through without crying
    Or maybe I'm just soft.
    • thumb
      Aug 8 2012: Is it me or did you notice that nina continues to play the piano while singing and searching and almost look to be on the verge of having her throat stopped up with old loves or just the power of the song or, like what she said about the conditions that would arise to write it.
    • thumb
      Aug 8 2012: I may be a softy too...Thank you, this has got to be one of the most powerful performances ever.
  • thumb
    Aug 7 2012: I am not really into music but I do know what I like. Some make you want to close your eyes because they are so smooth and some make you want to get up and dance.

    I like Barry White, Frank Sanatra, Miles Davis, Whitney Houston, Barbara Striestand, Burt Baccrat, and classical music. Guess I am a pretty wild kinda guy. There are plenty of others I like also but time and space are short.

    Guess I was to old for heavy metal, acid rock, rap and other things that are now called music,

    The sweetest voices on earth belong to my grandkids. Once they learn how to carry a tune, sing on key, and develop a voice they will be awsome.

    • thumb
      Aug 8 2012: There's nothing wrong with those great singers/actors,I never liked Whitney until she remade dollies song she did for the Bodygaurd,though it was mushy, one couldn't deny the power she put into it.
  • thumb
    Aug 7 2012: I will start with a little known lady,a professional from a time gone by

    This was recorded in 1991

    This is today 21 years on
    • thumb
      Aug 7 2012: Chris Botti! I saw him by chance on KERA flipping through the channels one day, he's pretty cool
    • thumb
      Aug 7 2012: I really enjoyed her, Ken - enough to look at several others with her in them. Thanks.
      • thumb
        Aug 8 2012: There's no one like "The Big O" Deb and when he and K D remade "In Dreams" he still had the force of a mountain coming down,
        • thumb
          Aug 8 2012: Can you help me find a link? For some reason I might be looking in the wrong place.
      • thumb
        Aug 8 2012: Sorry Deb,this week i've been fumbling with little things like the names of songs and i did it with you,it's "Crying" here's the link,Damn, i'm only 43!


        My cousin use to say he was born with a voice washed in silk.
        • thumb
          Aug 8 2012: Thank you, my aunt and I have decided to share a brain as we age because I have all her early memories anyway. Thanks to you and your cousin!
  • thumb
    Aug 11 2012: Here are a few more favourites:





    And this version of Led Zepellin's "Going to California" by Never The Bride is quite something too. http://youtu.be/dWy6PVN86D4
  • thumb
    Aug 11 2012: Hi Ken and everyone else. In N.Z. society there is something called Tall Poppy syndrome, it iis a regualatory social rule that works to bond men together when there are limited social and physical resources. Tall Poppy is an allegory which is mentioned in Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece and the Bible. Apparently the hormone Oxytocin which is released by the Pituitary gland is involved. Oxytocin reduces fear and anxiety as well as being very important in childbirth as it increases uterine contractions. In chldbirth breath control in the form of panting helps delay a too rapid birth which could badly damage the mother and reduce her later ability to breastfeed. I would like to speculate that in men and women oxytocin's role as a free radical needs more attention. A powerful singer uses oxytocin because as Ken noted powerful singers can convey emotions. Ken loaded a clip of Pavarotti and a group of men singing. Women are always interested in men who are singing rather than fighting, it raises their own oxytocin levels and helps in bonding as women feel safer. A more agressive man is a danger to everyone. I want to speculate on the role of society in the regulation of hormones and the other way round. People feel better after singing with passion not only because they have taken in more oxygen and dispelled more carbon dioxide etc but also they have increased their oxytocin levels. This might explain the huge popularity of singing as a social bonding activity not only does it help with social stress but also with enviironmental pollution. Not a biologist, the vocabulary and molecular structure of hormones you would have to look up but the research is already out there, it is exploring the possible links..
  • thumb
    Aug 10 2012: You know it isn't over til the fat lady sings Ken Brown. Referencing again the link to Pokarekare Ana, not the tourist version but a serious debate about the impact of a folk song, it's roots and the uses of a song to look at prickly subjects like politics and economics. Angry about the loss of N.Z. welfare state and the so-called free market liberal economic model in use now because it just increases the gap between the haves and have nots and people are not commodites they are unique and special and who knows what potential is lost when there are insufficient resources. http://folksong.org.nz/pokarekare/index.html accessed 10th August 2012. Fat lady shouting and barging in on other people's conversations is sometimes necessary, trying to find a melody but it takes more than one voice at times.
    • thumb
      Aug 10 2012: I actively tell the young to leave the country,spread across the planet,go to the old countries and the old draw card England which is still the first stop on Kiwi's minds when they first leave and if they decide to come back then they have burned their wanderlust early.

      It's not just Maori and our Pakeha anymore,if we had a century more of intermixing without the advent of the 20th century then we could of merged and our Pakeha could've become Ngati Pakeha,the largest of our tribes but sadly this is not reality instead it's us and them and the others which deserves to be mentioned,the Indian kiwi's and the Asian kiwi's and my cousins the islanders.

      I haven't heard Po Karekare ana sung in two decades except for Dame Kiri,the face of modern folksong is different,here's a group that i think represents the young of the 2000's here though they have gone their own ways it shows that each decade there is a changing of ways.



      All these boys can claim Ukaipo,they were born in nz just like you,currently i think the best representative for Nz music would be Hayley Westenra.
  • thumb
    Aug 9 2012: Love u Ken, how is that volcano behaving. I grew up in N.Z. and as much as we are always seeing the haka every time the All Blacks play also know about the Maori ballads, going to miis-spell this but Po keri keri ana. It is about catching a mood, an emotion, the zeitgeist. A single person who can do that is so powerful but so is a group. I think this is the idea behind orchestras and symphonies. It is certainly behind beautiful music such as African singing (think Graceland by Paul Simon) and Welsh male voice choirs. You do need a certain structure to the larynx and throat and a certain vocal 'conditioning' to sustain a career in singing or you can get severe vocal damage. Everyone complains N.Z. people are too 'nasal', good singers have brilliant breath control because they sing from the diaphragm and can hold the long notes. Just a few thoughts.
    • thumb
      Aug 10 2012: Nasal my foot!

      You've been a Pom to long,next minute you will be saying that the Ozzies talk like they are wearing pegs on their noses and kiwi's have the pegs up their noses hehe.

      Would this tickle your fancy? I wish i had been there.


      Mt Tongariro,lucky they were expecting some activity and reported it through the news on the weekend so it wasn't a shock,it seems to have lapsed back to sleep,i hope the old saying holds on for a wee bit longer "Let sleeping dogs Ly"
      • thumb
        Aug 10 2012: Ken you are so right I really am a kiwi in the wrong pond. How about that for a mixed metaphor. Still have family in N.Z. and they have a holiday home in the park. Apparently the volcano was just opening up a few new steam vents, which is what I am doing here on T.E.D. Want to direct you to http://folksong.org.nz/pokarekare/index.html particularly section Sailing Away. Am using it on my own debate to try and illustrate what happens when other countries asset-strip either with benign or beliigerent intentions. It destroyed N.Z.s ability to provide a welfare state for it's people. You know kiwis can't literally fly but us kiwis are brilliant travellers and I am doing my best to fly on here. We might be regarded as mere children by the worlds of global politics but we are the original society to get it more or less right in terms of Maori and Pakeha. It's all in the balance. Not naive, not aying everything in N.Z., is roses, do know about the thorns but at least we have a rich cultural mix and we are survivors.
  • thumb
    Aug 9 2012: Another great artist


    This one seems to speak to just about everyone i've ever met


    When i first heard this womans voice i was a kid
  • thumb
    Aug 7 2012: A little 'ole voice: Billie Holliday... - her voice goes straight to my bones and heart.


    But then, Tom Waits gets me too:

    • thumb
      Aug 8 2012: Those two are a Havanna and a lick of Canadian Club or whatever poison that tickles your fancy on a Sunday afternoon.
  • thumb
    Aug 7 2012: Lauryn Hill has one of the best singing voices imo:

    His eye is on the sparrow clip from Sister Act 2
    • thumb
      Aug 7 2012: There may be No line of the bible that scares me as much as the one in this song does. If he sees her why does he not catch her?
      • thumb
        Aug 7 2012: I've never read the Bible myself, but the line in the song, "I sing because I am happy, I sing because I am free" and the way the two girls sang it was really moving
    • thumb
      Aug 7 2012: James here is one of my favourite exceptional voices and I am sending it to all those charmingTexans! I love this!


      oops I meant this one:


      And one of the all time most beautiful voices and songs:


      I cannot end without giving you a Canadian beautiful song (this one was written by a Canadian and this rendition is my favourite of all time. Talk about exceptional voices!)

      • thumb
        Aug 7 2012: lol hey, just because I'm Texan don't mean I like Texas music that much. I'm very contradictory to the stereotypical Texan :)

        @third song:
        I bet that boy feels pretty badass in the end haha
        This song reminded me of this ballet dance about a guy with a missing leg and a lady with a missing arm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IfvO-HZMPU

        My mom loves that one a whole lot.

        @fourth song:
        Canada Pride ftw! ...hallelujah...
        • thumb
          Aug 8 2012: That's OK James, I will love these enough for both of us. That Lyle Lovett song is adorable to me!
        • thumb
          Aug 10 2012: James, that ballet reminds me of a Kurt Vonegut story I read in highschool and have never been able to find again. Wow.
      • thumb
        Aug 8 2012: LOL ok

        just saying, I've never been a fan of country, I just don't see the appeal, but that's just me
    • thumb
      Aug 8 2012: Try listening to her "Zion" track,she wrote it for her baby.Just so sad she dropped out of sight, a lot singers today quote lauryn as an early inspiration but in saying so i think today's artists have more access to professional backing earlier in their careers with a lot more technology,not that i'm saying that the singers of old weren't great but you can hear it when you compare it.
    • thumb
      Aug 8 2012: I love Lauryn's voice, her unplugged concert for MTV was awesome. http://youtu.be/bIn5_PTM3Bo
      • thumb
        Aug 9 2012: Helena, your wisdom and beauty always make me remember Tracy Chapman's voice. I thank you for a million tidbits.

        here is Tracy for everyone's enjoyment.

      • thumb
        Aug 9 2012: can't even tell you how much I loved this, thank you.
        We pay the price daily.
      • thumb
        Aug 10 2012: Wouldn't it be great to see a joyful world dancing? You can pick music for me anyday. I save everything you help me know about and learn and love it. How is your nephew?. We will create a better world for him and as it turns out for me. Do you know what people called me when I had the stroke - not medically but in a derogatory fashion? You guessed it - retarded- what an interesting way for someone like me to learn to identify further with suffering and prejudice. OMG they jet propelled my recovery so that I could defend others who had no ability to speak.
        • thumb
          Aug 10 2012: Indeed.
          Music is a great passion of mine so I could be here all day sharing!
          My nephew is doing very well, thank you. And yes. I'm committed to create a safe and loving environment for him. Fortunately, he is still too young to be aware of any prejudice. I cannot comprehend such lack of humanity and despicable ways and I'm truly sorry to hear that, on top of having to struggle with your health you had to deal with such unreasonable people. I admire your resilience.
          Here's another singer that, although according to some, he may not have great singing skills, he is so real and authentic that I can't help but fall in love with his performance. Very rarely amazing talent is accompanied by extraordinary passion and this guy is so full of passion it's contagious, he's singing ability becomes secondary to me. You may want to skip the first minute or so at the beginning and end...x factor video...
        • thumb
          Aug 10 2012: Um....These people who called you retarded must be retarded if they said that to someone that suffered multiple strokes,strangely enough strokes are common and can happen at anytime at virtually any age,it just happens until we can truly forecast a persons possible medical future and be able to take steps to change it,it's just the way it happens and there is always recovery.Retarded? that's the absurdest thing I've ever heard of, ever.

          I use to work with elderly stroke sufferers and the hardest thing was to keep themselves from getting lazy.
      • thumb
        Aug 10 2012: Helena,you've got great taste,thank you for Ayo i like her accented english,it gives her music a personal stamp.

        Have you ever heard of this singer,this performance grabbed me.

        • thumb
          Aug 11 2012: Hi Ken,
          Thank you. For some reason TED isn't letting me know about any replies to my comments and I had totally missed this.

          He is amazing, thank you for introducing me to him.