SPEAKER: Mr. McFerrin has asked that we gather round and bring ourselves a little bit close, and maybe empty out the last couple of rows so that when you all sing, youll be closer together. I hope that doesnt scare anybody off. So come on down and nestle in here in the middle
Mr. McFerrin, he recently came to the realization in his own work that his mission is to show people whats inside them, what music is inside them, and to use his considerable effort and talent and gift and genius to bring that out of people in the most unexpected ways. So hes here to help us do that today in context of this event, which is about the arts and mental health and the arts and health and how it impacts on the human spirit. And so I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to introduce Bobby McFerrin in a couple of minutes. And oh, that looks great, guys, you Youve done it. Good job.
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Hi.
All of you, anyway.
What are we doing here anyway? Hmm.
Did you all know that I was making this stuff up?
Let's all walk on down to the corner store. Get something to eat.
BOBBY MCFERRIN: My name is Robert Keith McFerrin Jr. I was born here in New York City 61 years ago. Lived up on 150th Riverside Drive. Juilliard used to be up that way. I used to go there a couple of times, I think. Studied some music back in the day, early 50's. Something like that.
My parents were both classically trained singers. I grew up in a house full of music. I grew up in a time when radio was very, very different then. Top 40 radio station would play just about anything you can think of. Now we've got separate stations for 70s, and you've got a station for this, station for that. But we had top 40 stations, and they played everything-- movie themes, Latin music, salsa music, Christian music, whatever.
I think we have a couple of-- some time for questions and answers. You can turn the house lights up now if you want. We can do some questions. I might sing another piece or two, and then more questions, whatever. What's on your minds? This is the only opportunity we'll ever have to meet, so you might as well take it. Because you'll never get this opportunity again ever.
So why are you all here? Tell me-- before I answer your question, why are we here together? Why are you people here? What's it all about? I understand it has something to do with the arts and mental health? Is that correct? I mean, you know.
SPEAKER: I'm here to see you, Bobby.
BOBBY MCFERRIN: What's that?
SPEAKER: I'm here to see you.
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Hey, you know, the first-- well, thank you very much. I'm glad. I'm here to see you. We're here to see each other. We're here to be seen and to see, to look and to look out, and to look within, and all that. Yes, you have a question?
SPEAKER: Yes, I wanted to ask how long would you say it took you to reach a place of complete freedom? Or do you feel that you've reached that place?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: It depends-- well, I feel very free in my technique. I'm very comfortable with my technique. There are nights when I feel I might be a little boxed in because of the acoustical environment I find myself in. What can impede my freedom to do just about anything I want to. Sometimes I have to go with the external instrument that I'm dealing with.
But most of the time-- I'd say 99.9% of the time, I feel very, very free, very comfortable onstage, very comfortable. I love to improvise. You know, everything that I did just now was all improvised. And I love the mystery of improvisation. I love doing it. It's fun. I'm very comfortable in my skin, very comfortable on stage, very relaxed. I have a good time.
It took me a long, long time to answer your question because I remember the first time I did this, I was scared to death. But I had to do it in increments. The first solo concert that I did was one solo song. I was working with a group. Jon Hendricks was a jazz singer with his wife and his daughter, Michelle, and myself. And he would give Michelle and myself a spotlight moment.
I knew one solo piece. So it started with one tune. Then I started getting invitations to do some jazz festivals. They'd give me 10, 15 minutes, and I could do that. And then gradually 30 minutes, I could do that. 45 minutes. Now I do about 90 minutes on stage, and I'm very comfortable with that. But it took me a long time. Very nervous at first. Yes?
SPEAKER: How do you breathe?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: How do I breathe?
SPEAKER: Breath training?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: I breathe musically. I incorporate my breathing in my improvs. I might use it as a percussive device.
You know, something like that. Or in tone when I sing. You know, there's a song I do called Blackbird.
I intone when I inhale. Things like that. Yes?
SPEAKER: I'm at an interesting place in my career having just moved to New York part time to push myself in my singing career. And how do you push yourself in your career? How do you inspire yourself?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: You know, I have a very creative team that pushes me into places lots of times. I have people around me who help me to stay creative, help me stay sharp, introduce me with all kinds of ideas and challenges. I like putting myself in situations where I know I'm going to learn something. When the artists that I'm working with have maybe a different way of expressing themselves, or they have their own language, their own way of seeing things, I like to work with these kinds of people who will help me to expand my own musical vision about things, my own vocabulary.
It's difficult because I live in a wonderful place. I live in a very quiet place. I live in Pennsylvania. I live in Philadelphia, but I live in a very interesting situation. My house is in a 300 acre sort of area that's been sort of federally protected land. It's very quiet. I'm on my porch swing just about every day. And it's difficult for me to eject myself from that seat and actually do some things.
But fortunately I have a wonderful family that-- my manager Linda Goldstein's been with me for 31 years. I think she's the smartest person on the planet. And she just is constantly thinking up this and that and this and that and this and that. So it's nice to be goaded along the way. It's nice to have somebody to say, have you thought about this? Have you thought about that? Have you thought about doing this, something like that? What do you think about working with this person? What do you think about do that? Blah, blah, blah. Goes on and on.
So that's what happened. So I don't do it all by myself. I think it's nice to put yourself in an environment where there are very stimulating people.
SPEAKER: Have you even been stifled by your own mental health as a musician?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Have I ever been?
SPEAKER: Stifled by your own mental health as a musician?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Stifled by my own mental health? No. No. Yes?
SPEAKER: Do you treat your voice, as jazz musician, as if it's instruments where the freedom and expression brings you to a higher place?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: I missed the first part of your question.
SPEAKER: I said, do you treat your voice as an instrument of jazz musician?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Oh, yes. Yes, indeed. I learned early on that since my body was my instrument that I needed to be very conscious about how I treated it because this is my instrument. So I do my best to take care of it, making sure that I'm not dehydrated, drinking lots of water, and I don't smoke-- things like that, just--
SPEAKER: I meant though jazz musicians have a freedom of expression that might be stifled [INAUDIBLE]
BOBBY MCFERRIN: As an instrument?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Oh, absolutely. What I'm saying is that my body is my instrument. It's not just my larynx. So I try to take care of myself spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically. It's all one package, and I recognize that. Yes?
SPEAKER: How do you practice? Do you practice every day, or is there some type of meditation that you go through?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: I sing every day. That's important. And I even find myself singing-- I wake up, walking down the street, and I discover that I'm singing. I've been singing for the last five or six blocks. But I sing a lot. Are you a singer?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Yes, you are.
SPEAKER: I'm a writer, so I write every day.
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Oh, yeah. Well, yeah, singing is my practice. Writing is your practice.
SPEAKER: When you reach your state of mind through practice of music and [INAUDIBLE], would you think you'd have reached it any other way?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Any other way of reaching my state of mind other than music, is that your question?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: That's hard to say. Maybe if I was-- certainly if I was gifted in something else, but I've been gifted in music. And this is the way I move myself towards mental health. I seriously feel that my singing in some ways is like praying. And when I sing, I feel that I'm at my best possible self in some ways.
I use it to change my emotional state. There have been times when I didn't feel well emotionally before I walk on stage, but within easily a minute, my middle self would change because of-- you can change the climate of your emotions by singing or doing something that's creative and playful.
There have even been times when I have not felt physically well, and after a performance, I would feel 50, 60, 70% better. So I do believe in the power of music to transform a person's mental health and physical health. I believe strongly in that. It's worked for me.
When I was 10 years old-- I think I learned this from my mom. When I was about 10, 11 years old, I remember being sick. And my mother gave me two things, and they made a strong impression. One was medicine for my aches and pains. But the other thing that was more important, she gave me music. She would turn the radio on, and she'd turn the classical station on.
So I would have the medicine working on the aches and pains in my body, and my mind would be fed with music, which would kind of distract me away from how badly I felt. And so I would get so absorbed into the music that I'd forget that I was sick. My mom knew this years and years and years ago, and it made an impression on me.
So whenever I don't feel well, one of the things that I do is either listen to music or I get up and sing. Yeah, And? it works for me. Yes?
SPEAKER: Did you always know that you where going to do something different as a soloist?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Did I always know this?
SPEAKER: I mean, yeah, because the traditional paths of singing are opera or-- obviously your style is really unique. Did you just kind of fall upon it, or you just said, okay, this is my path?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Well, it's interesting. I started out as a pianist. And my hero as a pianist was Keith Jarrett. And Keith Jarrett is known for his solo piano concerts. So when I recognized that I wasn't a very good pianist-- I mean, I was OK. I was working as a pianist. But I always had this sort of nagging suspicion that I wasn't a pianist, and I discovered one day that I was a singer.
So in the beginning, I wondered what kind of singer I was. I saw myself maybe working as a jazz singer with a trio, or with a big band, or a pop singer or whatever. But one day the idea of being on stage alone and singing popped into my head. It took me a year to actually allow this vision to take some shape. I could see myself on stage as a soloist, but I couldn't hear anything in the beginning. I could see it, but I had no idea what it sounded like.
So I spent six years singing into a tape recorder and trying to come up with the idea. I knew that my task was not only to sing everything in tune and correctly and stuff like that, but to give my audience enough musical information that regardless of where I went, they would have some reference points.
I can do that for days and days and days, and as soon as I leave it, every place that I go from there, you're relating it to [SINGING], so I was relying on your imagination and your own mind to fill in the blanks. So I understood my instrument was not only me up here on stage my instrument was you out there in the audience because you're filling in the blanks.
I've given you some information. Now you take it and hear it and absorb it, so now I'm free to go different places because your mind is referring everything that I do to the information that I initially gave you. You understand? So I feel that my instrument is not only me, but you. The audience is my instrument also. Yes?
SPEAKER: So I just wanted to ask you if you could talk about different kinds of reactions you've had from different audiences, children or people from different groups [INAUDIBLE]. Do you react or interact differently?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: It's Interesting how remarkably similar all audiences are regardless of their age or culture. I don't know what it is. It could be sympathy. Here I am onstage by myself. But I think that a lot of people can identify with the sort of aloneness of an artist. Everybody's got this core of-- I don't want to say, loneliness but-- I think I'm getting away from myself here.
But I think everybody kind of gets what it's like to be by themselves in those quiet moments when you feel yourself somehow. Performers, I think, are really good-- I don't the word performer, but an artist kind of gets to those places, those core, inside the core of a person, a person, and helps them to see themselves in ways that-- an artist acts like a mirror in a way, in a sense.
Audiences are remarkably the same regardless of where I go because I think it's not so much cultures and things, it's individuals regardless of what the culture is. You're going past the culture, and you're getting into the core of a person. I get asked a lot, have you ever had an audience not sing. And it's never happened. It's never failed. Audiences want to sing, I think. I think there's a desire to participate in an artistic creation of some kind. They want to help facilitate, help the artist reach their vision. So an audience is very supportive of me when I'm out here.
So audiences, regardless of where I am, are basically the same. Now, some audiences, some cultures might be a little bit timid initially, and I might have to really coax them. But they really want to do it. They really want to participate.
They really-- who hasn't had this fantasy? You're in an orchestral concert. It's 8 o'clock. The conductor is not on stage yet. It's 8:15. It's 8:30. And everyone's waiting. And finally, the personnel manager runs out on stage and says, I'm sorry, but at the last minute, our conductor's taken ill, is there anyone in the audience who knows this program? And you know that there's some people out there who would just want to run on stage and conduct this orchestra.
Well, singing is such a universal thing that I believe that everyone in the audience basically wants to sing. They want to participate. Yes?
SPEAKER: Can you talk a little bit about why you want us to participate?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Why I want you to participate? Well, first off, I get tremendous joy out of hearing hundreds of voices coming toward me. That's probably basically it. I think singing together is a very communal activity. I think it's meant to be shared. I think we're supposed to sing together. We're to exist in song in some kind of way. Did I answer your question?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: OK, good. Yes?
SPEAKER: Can you give advice on someone taking piano lessons, but the teacher said that the person is tone deaf? Can you give a--
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Wait a minute. Say this again. Can I give you some advice on, what, a tone deaf piano student?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Whoa. A tone deaf piano student. Can I give some advice-- I'm stumped. I can't think of anything. How tone deaf is this person? Do you know? Are you the student? Are you the teacher? You're the student. And you're tone deaf? What does that mean anyway? Oh, she told you that. Ah. Come backstage after this. We'll talk some more. I'd actually like to hear you. Is there a piano? Are you a pianist?
SPEAKER: Not just a pianist.
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Well, one lesson the teacher says you're tone deaf, come talk to me afterwards, OK? Yeah?
SPEAKER: So after discovering you were a singer and doing it into a tape recorder for six year, how did you then decide that you were ready, or how did you go about marketing your voice and marketing your specific skills?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Well, you can't talk to me about marketing because I don't know a single thing about that.
SPEAKER: Well, how did you-- I mean, at some point, you were singing into a recorder and you decided to--
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Yeah, well, I knew that I wanted to do this as an artist on stage. I knew that I wanted to do that, that I wanted to be a working musician. And I also wanted to do something that was different. And I believe that when you find what you're supposed to be doing and gifted, then this means that you can have some longevity in your career. I believe that if you really are honest with yourself, then you can have longevity. You can work because you're different. Everybody is different. Everybody's supposed to be different. I have a really hard time with cookie cutter singers.
I have a hard time with that. OK, now I've lost track. I've lost track.
SPEAKER: What was the step you took?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: What was the step that I took? Well, I'll tell you, an important step was finding a really good manager. That was a huge, huge huge, huge step. I'm trying to remember what I did in the beginning. I think in the beginning, I just would make flyers.
I would go to clubs and try and get an audition at a club or something like that. Get a mailing list. Send out cards. I'm going to be singing at such and such a place-- that kind of stuff. I did a lot of that kind of leg work in the beginning. That's what I did. I went to all the jam sessions that I could. Went to all the clubs, hung out. That's it.
First time I conducted an orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, I started going to their concerts, and I started going and hanging out backstage. And I'd say things, wow, you guys are great. I'd love to conduct you one day. And I just kept doing that. I did that for, I don't know, five, six months. Finally, the phone rang. Hey, this is the San Francisco Symphony. We heard that you were interested in conducting us.
But this happens on the heels of "Don't Worry Be Happy" right, so my name's out there stuff. But they called. The phone actually rang. Yeah, we heard that-- would you be interested? And I said, well, do you have March 11 available? That's my birthday. That's my 40th birthday. And they said, yeah, as a matter of fact we do. So ta-da! So you just become a gadfly. Yes, back there.
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Well, first of all, I got invited to this from a friend in town. I don't live here. And a couple days ago, I was just talking about one of my first memories of music from my early childhood is actually "Don't Worry Be Happy." Like singing along in the car. So I'm grateful to be here.
Also how did you get to a point of just knowing what your sound was?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: How did I get to that point? Well, I got to say, in those six years that I spent simply singing, I spent the first two of those years purposely staying away from listening to other singers because I'm a very impressionable person and recognize that if I started exploring other singers techniques, that it would be very easy for me to copy what they were doing. And I would eventually get lost in someone else's sound. So I purposely stayed away from listening to singers for-- it was approximately two years.
And then what I recognized what I wanted to do, I wanted to be a solo vocalist, what it would mean, what my task was as a soloist, what it meant-- what I had to do-- getting my technique right, getting my intonation so that it works well, and it's as close to perfect as possible, understanding that you needed to hear-- I needed to give you enough information so that I could solo around it, and you would still hear all the essentials. That took six years of working on this thing.
I remember calling my manager-- it was in March, I was in Ashland, Oregon and when I did my first 90 minute solo concert. And I called her up, and I said, I'm ready. I had a summer tour booked with a band. And Linda called the promoters and said, well, he's not bringing his band. He's doing this solo voice.
And people didn't understand that. They didn't understand what that meant. Solo voice? What in the world is that? Does it mean that you're on stage alone, you're accompanying yourself on piano or guitar? You've got prepared tapes? My interviews in the beginning were just really interesting because no one had seen a singer on stage without of band.
So half of those gigs were canceled, I'm sure. Something like that-- isn't that right, Linda? About half of those gigs canceled because they had no concept. But there was one promoter in particular in Germany-- Karsten Jahnke was his name-- he thought, oh that's kind of interesting. So my first sort of solo concerts took place in Europe, and particularly in Germany.
SPEAKER: Can you tell us what do you think of those shows on TV where people are competing like American Idol or The Voice? And also where do you think the music industry is going because artists can reach their community directly on the internet, so there's no need for this third party in the middle? Where do you think the music industry's going?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Linda, do you want to answer that question?
LINDA GOLDSTEIN: I just think that it's a great time to be a [INAUDIBLE] individualist. But everybody's scared they're all trying to do the same thing, and if you think fast in carving out your own territory, you can imagine where no man has gone before, you stand a better chance. So [INAUDIBLE] exists. So that becomes like-- does anyone remember the name of who won American Idol this year? It becomes white noise. It's meaningless.
BOBBY MCFERRIN: I have always wondered what I would say if I was ever asked to be a guest judge on American Idol. Part of me is kind of appalled by the idea, but there's another part that would like to actually go and give some constructive criticism to these singers because-- this is the first year that I actually watched the show.
And the singers who think that this is it, and if they don't make it on American Idol, they're finished, they're done. I would love to give some constructive criticism to some of these singers and really tell them what I think because you know Randy and Jennifer and Steven, it was me basically a love fest this year, I thought. Oh, you are so wonderful.
And if they gave some criticism, they wouldn't tell them why they felt that way. It was just, oh, you did you weren't hitting the notes right, and you just weren't as strong as you were the other day. Well, why not get into a deeper sort of critique of what they were doing? And I would love to do it for that reason, to offer that, give them my opinion. But at the same time, I don't know. Yes?
SPEAKER: What inspired you, and what are very inspiring type of music that you listen to?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: I love music of Africa.
You see? There's something about repetition in African music that's different from repetition in sort of modern pop music. Repetition in African music doesn't go in circles. It goes deeper. It's almost like a spiral going deeper, deeper. Every repetition you go deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper. And you get lost. You just get lost totally in the sound and in the music. You forget everything. That's what I like. It's like the tides. It's like the sun rising and setting. Everything, it just gets deeper.
Repetition in pop music, in sampling, for example, it's like they take a single moment, and it's repeated. But every time it's repeated, it's a dead moment. It's already happened once. It's no longer alive. So it can get kind of boring. But the Africans figured out that-- first off, let me tell you a little story. In fact, I'll just conclude with this, and then I'll sing a little bit more, and then au revoir.
My friend Yo-Yo Ma went to Africa. I was actually invited to go with him. But they ran out of funds, and so I didn't get to go. But he went to Botswana. Botswana. Because the two of us have been talking about music. We started our friendship, me behind conducting, and Yo-Yo wanted to learn more about improvisation and stuff like that. And he wanted to put some dirt on his bones when it came to playing. So we had lots of talks about improv.
Anyway, he goes to Botswana. He spends a couple of weeks there. And he sent me a little video record of his time there. And he lived-- he didn't live in-- I don't think he lived in a swank hotel or anything like that. I think he actually was out there with this tribe. And there's two things on this video that stood out and changed me forever.
The first one is the villages are all gathered together. There's an interpreter trying to explain to them who Yo-Yo Ma is, what he does. He's a musician. He plays the cello. And he's giving a concert at 7:30 at such and such a place. Now, the villagers are all standing around scratching their heads because they have no concept of performance. They don't understand why, first off, they have to wait to hear music because music is so integrated in their lives. They don't understand why they have to wait until 7:30 to hear it.
They also don't understand why they have to leave the place where they are and go somewhere else to hear it. I thought, if I can sort of bring this element of music is here, music is now, it's always in me-- I just happen to walk on stage, and wherever the music is at that moment, I open up my mouth and that music comes out. It's here. It's now. And I thought, this is the way I must-- this is the kind of artist I must be.
And The other thing is is that, when he was leaving, he wanted to take some music with him. And so he asked the village shaman to sing him like one of the village songs.
And so Yo-Yo took out his manuscript, and he starts to write--
And he says, sing it again. I want to make sure I got this right. And the shaman goes,
And Yo-Yo wants to know why it's different. And the salmon says, well, the first time I sang this piece, there was a herd of antelope in the distance, and there was a cloud passing over the sun. And I thought, now that's where it's at. Music should be always here, now, and different somehow because every moment is different. Our hearts have beat 100 times since we've sitting here, or 1,000 times-- however it is. Everything's different.
And so my concept as a performer has always-- I have tried to maintain that attitude. I don't like doing the same tune every night in the same way. I don't have a set list that I work from when I'm performing. I like to simply walk out on stage, sit in a chair, and open up my mouth. And whatever comes out, I'm committed to it.
Doesn't matter what my voice is like. On a particular night, it could sound like this, but I got to use what I got.
Whatever it is. Whatever it is.
You open up your mouth, you go, and you're committed to it. Whatever it is, you just stick with it. You know what improvisation is essentially? You know what it is? It's motion. It's motion. That's all it is. Anybody can do it. You open up your mouth, if you're a singer, and you just sing a note, and you just keep going. You're a pianist, you play a note, you just keep going. Just motion. That's it. Essentially, bottom line, it's motion. That's it.
It's got nothing to do with what you know or don't know. Whatever information that you've got in your head, you don't have to know anything. Kids improvise all the time. They don't know anything. They don't know anything harmonically or theoretically. They don't know anything. They don't know modes and scales and minor thirds and major third and augmented chords and diminished chords. They don't know any of that stuff. But what they do know is if they just open up their mouth--
I'm not going to school today. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
That's it. That's the bottom line. You could have all the theory in the world. You can know everything about all the tunes and stuff, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But if you don't open up your mouth and just go, you're never going to get anywhere. And that's all it is. It's just motion.
Get to the chopper.
OK, I'll sing something else, and then I go unless there's another question. One more question. Yes?
SPEAKER: Who are your favorite composers?
BOBBY MCFERRIN: Ah, Mozart. Oh Mozart, my goodness. Wow, what a genius. He is so much fun to conduct. There's a symphony that he wrote when he was eight years old, and I can't think of it off the top of my head. And I think to myself, how can an eight year old know these emotions? The depth of this writing, the depth of the emotions, the way he felt, you can feel it. You can feel his emotions.
And I don't understand how an eight year old could write this one particular piece. I can't think of the name of the symphony off the top of my head. It's a very short one. It's about 12 minutes. But he wrote it when he was eight.
I love Beethoven. I love-- let's see, Keith Jarrett is a composer. I liked his piano stuff. He's a good composer. But is that what you meant? Classical composers essentially, or anybody? Yeah. No, Mozart is by far the cat.
Oh, or how about--
Yeah, absolutely amazing. Absolutely amazing. OK.
I'll call you back, OK?
I've got to tell you one more story before I go. In my early days as a conductor, I was conducting the San Francisco Symphony, and we were doing the violin concerto in A minor, and I was the violin soloist. I sang the violin part. It's the one that goes-- it starts--
So I sang that part. And I had about 22 string players standing behind me in a semi-circle. So I was standing in the middle with the first violins, second violins, violas, cellos on the floor, blah, blah, blah. And in the second movement, I got horribly lost, terribly lost. And so I improvised my way back to a place that I recognized, and it was OK.
But in the meantime, the string players behind me were totally petrified. They were looking at me like, what are we going to do? What are we going to do? Are we going to stop? Are you going to stop and start over again? Because they could tell I was lost. And they were very uncomfortable. And I felt terrible. I was a brand new conductor. I thought, oh, I'm never going to conduct again because I put these people through such a traumatic experience.
Anyway, so it was the piece before the intermission, and everybody's walking off. And I'm backstage, and I'm apologizing, and I'm, oh, I'm so sorry for what I've done. I felt really terrible. This wonderful elder lady who was in the orchestra who'd been playing with me walked up to me and looked me in the eye, and she said, Bach would have loved it because, you know, improv. He was an improviser. I just thought, that's the best thing anyone could have said to me at that. Moment Bach would have loved it. Goodnight, everybody.
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Interactive performance by Bobby McFerrin, vocalist, conductor, Grammy Award winner and co-host of 2009 documentary "The Music Instinct," based on musician-scientist Daniel Levitin's book, "This Is Your Brain On Music."
The event was part of "The Arts + Mental Health: The Impact on the Human Spirit," a two-day exploration, through conversation and performance, of the roles that the arts play in mental health, June 2-3, 2011.
Hosted by the Cornell Council for the Arts in collaboration with the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.