What do artists do? Some show us the world as it is. Others help us dream of what it might be. I put the Russian refugee Israel Baline — Irving Berlin to you — in the second group. His songs often depict a world where love and joy are possible, even inevitable.
He wrote of “a land that’s free for you and me.” Of course, another immigrant. And a Jew. If he came here today, would he be welcomed?
He understood that humans need music and words, beautifully allied, to get closer to joy for ourselves and to offer it to others.
Doctor Berlin prescribed this in 1928, and it is still good advice: regular doses of spiritual phototropism.
Nick Lucas, vocal and guitar:
Whispering Jack Smith’s subversively swinging version:
And something much more recent, from Tal Ronen’s Holy Moly at Smalls, December 24, 2015, with Tamar Korn, Tal, Steve Little, Rossano Sportiello, Jon-Erik Kellso, Jay Rattman:
Everything that grows, and that includes people in front of their computers, needs sunshine to thrive, something more than Vitamin D: we need sunshine in our souls. I offer Berlin’s music and these three bright performances as bright rays streaming through the window.
Nourish your own soul in the sunshine, but don’t block anyone’s else’s view.
May your happiness increase!