So after reading the title of this blog post, you might be thinking to yourself, “James Morrison? That doesn’t sound like a Peruvian name. What is Mark up to?”. Well, you would be correct, James Morrison is NOT Peruvian, although I cannot guarantee that there isn’t a Peruvian out there with the name James Morrison.
This week I am breaking tradition a bit, and instead of highlighting another song from Perú, I’ve decided to highlight an artist who has been very important to my Peace Corps experience.
Peace Corps is challenging. You find yourself committed to work in a foreign country for 2 years, a foreign country where you may or may not be familiar with the local language, where you probably won’t understand many of the local customs, where you will probably be stripped of your comfort zone, exposed, and forced to develop new strategies to cope with all of the new changes and challenges facing your life. A foreign country where you can’t just call your family whenever you feel like it to get advice, or call a friend to wish them a happy birthday, or even celebrate your own birthday with the people you care about from back in the U.S. A foreign county where the local food might put you out of commission for several days, where your host-family doesn’t understand that you sometimes just need time to be alone, even when you are sick, where your host country counterparts might forget about important meetings and activities that have been scheduled for a week. Peace Corps can be challenging.
Over the last 13 months here in Perú, I have had my fair share of ups and downs as I touched upon in my piece about hitting the 1 year mark here in Perú. However, one consistent factor which has guided me through both the good and the bad here in Perú has been music. Here in Perú, even more so than back in the U.S., I have turned to music to fjord the rough waters of service, and to release my emotional tensions and frustrations. I am proud to say I have enjoyed numerous solo jam sessions in my room, rocking out to Adele, George Ezra, Corazon Serrano, and of course, James Morrison, among others..
James Morrison hit the music scene back in 2005 with his debut album, Undiscovered, which touts one of my favorite songs, The Pieces Don’t Fit Anymore. Since then, he has released 3 further albums, each of which continues to feature his incredibly gritty, soul-filled, R&B sounds. His music is powerful, personal, and meaningful, and never fails to relax me and catalyze the processing of my pent up emotions and stresses, accumulated from my day to day activities as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
A few weeks ago I discovered that he had finally released a new album, and my joy effervesced. I immediately purchased the album, and subsequently listened to it about 10 different times. Once again, he hasn’t disappointed me, and his latest album was quickly added to my favorite playlist.
So, while this series will normally be focused on Peruvian music and sounds (which it will return to for next week’s installment), this week I felt obligated to highlight one of my absolute favorite artists who has helped me all throughout my Peace Corps experience thus far. I hope that all of you can appreciate his music as much as I have. James Morrison, some days I owe my calm and sanity to your music.
So, here is the titular song from his latest album, Higher Than Here, which I hope you will all enjoy as much as I do.
Other PCVs, what music or artists help you get through your service?
Until next time,