Every once in a while I hear or see an interview that immediately draws my attention and holds it. Often the topic might be something I know very little about or may be about something obscure or something I am not at all interested in — but the person speaking about it is SO passionate that I can’t help but care!
I heard Carlos Santana in an interview such as this one evening on PBS. He made quite an impression on me. He speaks with such insight and obvious passion about his music — about life — about screaming charisma and conviction.
(African Music) It pitches your whole existence into a state of joy that can’t be bought. (It has) intensity of spirit and joy.
Real musicians remind the listener of a forgotten song inside them. And when you hear that forgotten song, you know, you get chills, you get tears, you dance, and you don’t even know why,
Music is to glorify the light in you.
I give a chance to give voice to the invisible ones.
Victory is won already, you know? And the only enemy is fear. (They) talked about that a lot. You transform fear with your supreme joy, you know? (Commenting on what he learned from Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu).
Listen to the whole interview here:
I’m also intrigued by non-famous passionate people. I enjoy hearing them talk about their work.
An interview I saw on a PBS Newshour last fall completely bowled me over. This woman’s passion for knowledge and for exploration nearly burst through the TV screen. I wish every child could have a science teacher like Carolyn Porco, the leader of the Cassini imaging team at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
Read more about the mission and see more photos here.
See? I got pulled into the vortex! These images are absolutely stunning and amazing. Check out more of NASA’s space images here.
Speaking of ordinary people who are extraordinary:
If you have never heard this young woman speak, please consider watching at least part of this video.
Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai, 16, rose to international fame when she was shot in the head last October for speaking out against the Taliban’s ban on girl’s education. Malala made a remarkable recovery, becoming the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. Margaret Warner talks to Yousafzai about her mission. —PBS Newshour.
I always enjoy hearing about the “behind the scenes” people — the people in the trenches — the people slogging through some tedious, long, possibly dangerous or nearly hopeless project. I found this story, featuring the work of National Geographic photographers who happen to be women, intriguing not only because of their obvious passion for their work and for this project but for their insights and the resulting art.
I come to the conclusion that passionate people make the best art. They make the best music, the best photographs, the best books. They also make pretty terrific teachers, scientists, and well — people in general.
Many of my friends know that I am “hooked” on Antique Archaeology, a TV show featuring Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe. These two guys drive around the country in a white van, looking for “rusty gold” (i.e. what most people would call “junk”) to buy and sell. I love the show because they are passionate about what they do. They are passionate about preserving history and historical objects. They meet interesting and passionate people who care about the same things. Who knew people could get so excited about rusty old signs and dirty old motorcycles? I’m drawn to the LOVE they have for what they do, and to the respect they have for each other, for the items they buy and sell, and for the people with whom they deal.
Another show I admit being “hooked” on is Project Runway. It is one of those “someone gets cut from the group every week” shows. The premise is fashion designers working on tight deadlines and tight budgets to create fashion forward and on trend garments which meet specific parameters set by the show’s producers and hosts. The fashions are judged and then the worst and best designs are chosen. “One day you are in, the next day you are out” is Heidi Klum’s famous line from the show. The mentor for the designers is Tim Gunn. He is passionate about his job and about helping each of the designers bring the best out of themselves. The designers are (mostly) passionate about what they do and about what they are creating. When people care and have a lot at stake, tempers can flare and drama can occur. But wonderful things can happen as well! Often kind, wonderful, beautiful moments come about in the midst of all the stress and self-doubt.
And because I never seem to know when to stop…a few last thoughts and quotes to leave with you:
Many charismatic and passionate (and famous) people spring to mind: Martin Luther King, Billy Graham, Nelson Mandela, Jacques Cousteau, Jane Goodall, Neil deGrasse Tyson. Not many of these people would leap to mind as “passionate artists” but they all share a passion for their chosen life’s work — and for humanity. Maybe each of these folks will get their own blog post about this topic some time in the future! We shall see.
Jacque Cousteau nearly convinced me to become a marine biologist!