Black History Month, Locstyle, Part 1: Bobby McFerrin

Photo: Carol Friedman

During February, Loc’d Life will honor Black History Month with profiles in loc history. This week’s post features Bobby McFerrin.

If the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is the only thing you know about this wonderfully talented musician, then read on. This Grammy-award-winning musical genius has conducted workshops at Harvard, The World Science Festival, and created “flash mob”-style choirs with his ability to draw music from everyone. And yes, he wears locs.

Music resonates with everyone. It so resonated with McFerrin that at age 27, he knew that it was his calling. Today, he has carved his own musical career with a blend of jazz, classical music, performance art, and music education. Take a tour through YouTube and you will see him leading an audience in the pentatonic scale. You’ll also see him performing “Ave Maria” with an orchestra. Even Henry Mancini’s “Pink Panther Theme” gets an unheard of rendition with McFerrin’s artistry.

Born in Manhattan, New York City in 1950, music was in his blood. His father, Robert McFerrin, was the first African American to be a regular with New York’s Metropolitan Opera. His mother, Sara, was also an operatic soloist who is a Professor Emeritus of Music at Fullerton College in California.

His breakout song was “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” which won the Grammy Award’s Song of the Year and Record of the Year in 1988. His career highlights include serving as guest conductor in some of the nation’s most prolific symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and others.

Today he travels the world through various music education programs, symposiums and a new collaboration slated for later this year.

Bobby McFerrin is living proof that if there’s a song in your heart, the world will follow along with your melody.

Check out this video of his performance with Esperanza Spalding (who won last year’s Grammy Award for Best New Artist) just before the airing of the 53rd Grammy awards. This is not only music at its finest, it’s natural hair in all of its splendor!

Source: Wikipedia, YouTube,

Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

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