Tag Archives: Music

Mahatma K Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr

Mahātmā Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Born: October 2, 1869

Assassinated: January 30, 1948

Martin Luther King Jr.
Born: January 15, 1929
Assassinated: April 4, 1968


by Rick Bretz

Throughout history, public figures or groups use violence  to replace diplomacy and negotiation to achieve righteous.  Whether it is to silence people who disagree with your view or achieve power through the physical taking of land, or other means of wealth that translate into control and authority, it usually results in innocent lives being destroyed or disrupted.  Today is a good day to look at two individuals who went a different route.

Today is Martin Luther King’s  Birthday Memorial Holiday.  He tused many strategies in fighting for civil rights including borrowing some of Gandhi’s beliefs in his effort to gain independence from colonial rule.  They both were assassinated and were also effective speakers and leaders.


The movie Gandhi is one of my favorite autobiographical cinematic experiences due to Ben Kingsley’s perfect pitch portrayal of the man.  What I find most interesting about the movie is how Kingsley embodies Gandhi’s non-violent protest ideology.  Two particular scenes strike me as brilliant in showing this.  The part where Gandhi sit in front of large mass of fellow Indians and tells then how exactly they will  fight the English government.  The other scene is Gandhi’s Salt March in protest to salt taxes and prohibition of making salt.  It’s a simple protest but highly effective.  Gandhi’s effectiveness can be partly attributed to media and the world wide press publicizing his actions, protests, prison sentences and ultimately his successes.

The Philosophy

noun: ahimsa

  1. (in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain tradition) the principle of nonviolence toward all living things


Ahimsa also has a more spiritual meaning than the physical refraining of no violence.  The word also refers to transcendental philosophy of not bringing into your thoughts or mind any violent thought to anything in nature, man, woman, animals or any living being.  It’s on a deeper level than physical.

In the movie, he is sitting almost in a prone position on a stage inside a valley surrounded on all sides by British soldiers.  Following the ideals of Ahimsa or non-violence,  Gandhi called on his fellow Indians to resist colonial rule by “Quitting India”, avoid paying taxes, do no patron government offices, do not buy goods brought here from Britain but all the while showing respect for soldiers and the police force.  The act of not hitting back when you are being arrested or beaten enabled the movement to get positive press.  The Quit India speech as it is known today called for passive resistance in order to obtain certain goals,

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Gandhi and his political partners earned their independence from colonial rule.  This success led to other issues with different religions and the fighting that resulted in the deaths of Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims  across the country.  A resentful Hindu extremist took Gandhi’s life.  The internal strife eventually resulted in the formation of Pakistan and India who both now have nuclear capability.

The Civil Rights Leader


Treating people as you would like to be treated with respect and dignity would seem to be innate in all of us.  However, people have a lottery aspect to their lives–new born babies can’t choose their parents. The nature versus nurture brings to each of us the history and prejudices of the family and the geographic culture.  Martin Luther King Jr was trying to change that or least make his audience think twice.  When he spoke on television, radio or on grand stages in person, he wasn’t just talking to his core audience, he wanted to reach his shadow listeners to make them think twice about the future and kind of America and Earth we should all inhabit.

Martin Luther King Jr was a magnificent speaker.  This ability to motivate his followers and galvanize people to march, ride buses and stop at walk in to segregated bus stops,  sit in, eat at a segregated restaurant, be subjected to prison sentences while not fighting back will always be remembered.  His words during some of his famous speeches are for all time.  The “I Have a Dream Speech” entered our history on August 28, 1963 and has many famous lines in it as his voice thundered across the Washington, DC Mall.

Quotes from “I Have a Dream Speech”

“Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.”

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.”

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Featuring these two significant people in history during times when people want to bomb, kill, maim  and destroy because people disagree with their views is all the more important.  All sides can agree or disagree but there is one idea we should all agree on–treat people with dignity and respect and as Martin Luther King Jr said judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.


Favorite Female Music Voices

by Rick Bretz

Interesting voices have always been pleasant to hear. The selections below from the music industry are based on these measures: Passion, Versatility, Outstanding Live Performances, and the best one, does it catch your ear and pull you in.  A voice can be deep, gravelly, soprano, alto, clear, clean, distinctive, have range, and illicit an emotional response.  This list of ten can be longer because there are many voices that please the ear while doing daily activities.  These are just a few of the voices that make my list.

Maria McKee, Lead Singer for Lone Justice as well as a solo performer. Favorites: Shelter; Ways to be Wicked; Sweet. Sweet Baby, Show Me Heaven, Breathe, Wheels. She has an incredible stage presence and can sing a ballad or belt out a rock and roll tune that mesmerizes audiences.




Stevie Nicks, Member of Buckingham/Nicks, Fleetwood Mac as well as solo performer and back-up singer for many other artists. Favorites:  Dreams, Standback, Stop Draggin my Heart Around, Silver Spring, Landslide, Nightbird. One of the most instantly recognizable voices in the music business and an equally impressive song writer.

Ann Wilson (Heart), Lead Singer for Heart. Favorites: Crazy on You, Barracuda, Straight On, Magic Man, Never, Dream Boat Annie.  Her voice can send chills when she hits certain notes.


Bonnie Raitt, Pop and Blues singer and outstanding guitarist. Favorites:  Nick of Time, Not the Only One, Thing Called Love, Angel From Montgomery.  Her voice is clean and can handle a ballad or blue tune. She sets the mood with her voice no matter what genre she sings.

Janice Joplin, Member of Big Brother and the Holding Company, Solo Artist. Favorites: Piece of My Heart, Mercedes Benz, Ball and Chain. Me and Bobby McGee. Passion and memorable live performances define this legend’s reputation.

Linda Ronstadt, Member of The Stone Poneys and solo artist. Favorites: Poor, Poor Pitiful Me, Hurt So Bad, Blue Bayou, You’re No Good. She is the one performer who can take a classic hit  from another performer and make it her own.  She has been able to make her mark in many different musical tastes throughout her career.


Grace Slick, Member of The Great Society, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, Starship. Favorites: White Rabbit, Somebody to Love, Wrecking Ball, Dreams, Seasons. Her voice on White Rabbit hypnotizes the listener while on Somebody to Love she shows off how she can do voice gymnastics when she needs it.

Adele, Solo Performer. Favorites: Rolling in the Deep, Someone Like You, Skyfall, When We Were Young.  Just listening to Rolling in the Deep should give you an idea of why she is considered one of the best voices to come along in a while. The Jame Bond theme Skyfall is fine example of her vocal skill also.

Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders), Lead Singer for Pretenders. Favorites: Back on the Chain Gang, Brass In Pocket, Don’t Get Me Wrong, Talk of the Town.  The Pretenders’ classic Back on the Chain gang features Hynde’s voice in all of its glory as she goes up and down the scale.

Aimee Mann (Til Tuesday), Favorites: Voices Carry, Coming Up Close, What About Love, Lucky, Love in a Vacuum.  Mann’s  voice cuts through the music on everything she sings, especially for Voices Carry and What  About Love.

Other interesting voices

Rickie Lee Jones, Natalie Merchant, Sara McLaughlin, Melissa Etheridge, Tina Turner, Pat Benatar, Tracy Chapman, Joan Armatrading, Mama Cass,  Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde), Amy Winehouse, Christine McVie, Annie Lennox, Debbie Harry, Lady Gaga, Kate Bush, Christina Aguilera, Enya.