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Daily Tune On – 5 Ways To “Imagine” John Lennon

I think the piece I wrote about David Barratt’s audio sculpture, “Karito,” going up in the United Nations Visitors Gallery this week has stayed in my subconscious and subtly set the tone for this week and how it should end.  John Lennon’s “Imagine,” with him singing it, is too big for “Cracks In Sidewalks,” but I kept coming back to the song.  I guess I was thinking about peace, peace, peace.   With the presidential election around the corner, and the economy pretty much tanking, it is a more pleasant thought.  And I am hopeful, hopeful that these thoughts of peace will soon become our reality.  “You may say I’m a dreamer.”

Since I decided I couldn’t use the Lennon version of the song as it’s just too famous, but still couldn’t get the song out of my head; I thought wouldn’t it be interesting to explore five other artists interpretations of his song.   So that’s what I set out to do.  I spent the afternoon today, listening to a multitude of arrangements of John Lennon’s classic song of peace, “Imagine.”  Besides the artists below I listened to Jon Bon Jovi, Dolly Parton, Patti LaBelle, Queen, and on and on.  A lot of people have sung this song.  But below are the 5 Ways To “Imagine” that I chose.  They are quite diverse and cover a wide range of singers, ages, and styles but in each of the performances you will hear the artists unique and heartfelt interpretation of this classic that we all know and love.  I hope you enjoy them.

To listen to the performances below either click on the link you want to hear, or cut and paste it into your browser.

Neil Young from the 9/11 Tribute to Heroes Concert

Avril Lavigne singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” in aid of Amnesty International’s fund raising effort to save Darfur.

Mark Knopfler & Chet Atkins – Imagine (instrumental)

Jack Johnson

David Archuleta, 17 year old American Idol runner up

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Monday Crack – “Karito” an Audio Sculpture by David Barratt

Come together.I’ve been hearing about this project from my friend David Barratt for probably more than two years now.  I have to say it’s ingenious and I can’t wait to experience it first hand.  David, a songwriter/composer with gold and platinum albums to his credit, and a recognized world artist, was asked to install his audio sculpture, “Karito,” in the visitors lobby of the United Nations, and the day of his opening after years of anticipation, and many hours of creation, recording and hard work is just around the corner.  David’s installation will be up and open to the public from October 15th through November 19th and we should all try to experience it if we have the opportunity to do so.

“Karito,” the Esperanto word meaning “love of one’s neighbor,” was created from the national anthems of the 192 member states of the United Nations.  David recorded 1500 different pieces of music to put this sculpture together.  What he did was to record all of the anthems in the same key using the exact same instruments for each one; a violin, viola, cello, bass, brass, and a plucked instrument.  The themes were then mixed and individual music files were created and put onto several MP3 players.  He then placed the MP3 players around a room, and put them on random shuffle.

What David has created in the process is a unique experience for the participant.  “Karito” is designed so that when one walks through the space of the installation each step that you take you will hear different parts of a whole, meaning different parts of all the United Nations countries anthems blended together.  Your position and where you walk, will determine what you hear.  As a result each visitor will experience it differently.  With some instruments in the forefront or possibly the background, it will be impossible to determine whether you are hearing the beginning, middle, or end of an anthem, because mixed together they become a musical country of their own, without borders, beginnings or endings.  And since it is random and you cannot predict what you will hear next, you just have to move one foot in front of the other and enjoy the discovery.

Accompanying the audio are large panels that double for walls and written on these panels are the lyrics from the various nations anthems, again in a random order.  It is suppose to create a flow, a continuity that has no beginning or end, much like a circle.

This has been a very ambitious project, years in the making.  It is innovative, of beautiful sentiment, and exceptionally timely and I for one can’t wait to go.  During these uncertain troubling times I am happy to have an opportunity present itself where I get to reflect upon the possibility of peace, coming together, and the creation of a greater whole.

The United Nations Headquarters
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY

To learn more about “Karito,” I have included a link to the website below.  I have also included a link to David’s personal website where you will find much interesting artwork and music.  Just cut and paste the link into your browser to access it.



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