Nadia Elkharadly: The Musical Journey – Bridging the Gaps

There is so much music out there.  Have you ever stopped to think about the literal amount of music that exists in this world?  Take Toronto alone.  Everyone and his brother, sister, mother and uncle seems to have a band.  Then take the rest of this planet.  Every city, every town, every village and every hamlet has a music maker, and groups of them that come together.  As Frank mentioned in his column, it’s so very daunting, almost exhausting to think not only about all the music you are trying to discover, but all of the music you’re missing as well.  Sadly, it seems impossible to ever know everything there is to know about music.  Everyone has their knowledge gaps, it’s inevitable.

Discovering music, whether, it’s old, or new, or just new to you, is a life long journey.  It begins when you dig your first beat as a little kid, realizing that combinations of sounds and rhythm can be fun and enjoyable.  As a child, I loved the black and white films of my parents’ youth, Egyptian movies that were more musical than narrative.  I’ve been told I used to dance and sing along with child actress Fairuz from the moment I could stand up and form words.

Driving in the car with my dad, I would listen to French songbird Edith Piaf, and learned to love her emotion filled voice, and songs that clearly belonged to another time.  My mother loved music growing up, and transferred that love to us kids.  We listened to the radio and watched Much Music nonstop.  The music of the 80s was the soundtrack to my childhood.  Madonna, Pet Shop Boys, Bon Jovi, Crowded House are all artists and bands that I remember hearing all the time, and grew to love just as much as my mom did.  She didn’t neglect the Cancon either.  Montreal songstress Mitsou, Canadian rocker Laurence Gowan, and Newmarket band Glass Tiger featured heavily as well, and from a young age I knew that great music could be found right here at home, as well as from other parts of the world.

The first cassette I ever bought was Bryan Adam’s Wakin up the Neighbours, and that marked my first ever musical discovery.  I listened that tape every day.  I knew every song inside and out, and I couldn’t get enough.  I must have been 10 or 11 years old at the time.  From the time I was a teenager, my musical appetite could not be satiated.  I would scrounge together my allowance and whatever change I could accumulate from when my parents gave me a 20 to buy something, and head to the big HMV store downtown.  I bought every Soundgarden tape I could find, beginning with Superunknown and going back to their first releases with Subpop records.  Grunge and alternative were my genres of choice and I learned everything I could about the bands I grew to love.  The older I got the more I dabbled in different types of music, from hip hop, pop, and R&B.  Then, as you all know, I dove headfirst into the world of Canadian Indie music, learning about amazing bands and artists before they hit the mainstream and make it big, and enjoying every minute of it.

Despite my voracious appetite for music and musical learning, I’ve had, and still have many knowledge gaps.  My love of classic rock and classic rock influenced music is clear, but my knowledge of more than a few bands is, well, pretty dismal.  I mean, I love the basics; Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Band, The Who (Guess and otherwise), and more.  These are the bands that influenced the bands I loved (and still love) from the 90s, so that transition was easy.  But there are times where I find my knowledge woefully lacking, and I’ve been embarrassed about it more than once.  It became that the shame of it all was too much to bear.  I knew I needed help.  The first thing I did was admit I had a problem.  And then, I went to a friend for support.  My good friend Mary agreed to help further my musical education, and has sent me a massive list of albums, songs and bands to listen to, and I’m working my way through it.  Tom Waits, The Dead Kennedys, Dr. John (his Dan Auerbach produced record is killer!), these are all part of my homework to improve my musical understanding.

Sharing musical recommendations between friends to expand both their knowledge, and my own, is one of my favourite things to do.  If it wasn’t for the generosity of my friends, I wouldn’t know about Band of Skulls (thanks Kim!), the Weeknd (Thanks Aleks), or My Morning Jacket (Thanks Ryan!).  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  I know everyone’s inner hipster wants to show off that they found something first, or they knew about that cool band first, and how could someone not know about this that or the other cue massive eyeroll and sigh.  I’m sure I’ve been guilty of all of the above myself from time to time.  But I’m trying to correct that behaviour, because no one likes a smug hipster, no matter how well they rock a pair of skinny jeans.

I talk about music a lot.  I’m sure it’s annoying that I talk about music so much.  But it really just comes down to the fact that I just really love music.  Sure, I can be a giant music snob sometimes.  Sure, I may judge those who sing the praises of the likes of the Buble, the Biebs, and anything in that vein.  But I don’t pretend I know everything there is to know about music.  Hell, I don’t even pretend that I know very much about music at all.  All I know is, I know what I know, and what I don’t know, I’m dying to learn.  The joy of this musical adventure we’re all on comes from admitting your knowledge gaps, and embracing the chance to be educated.  In the end, it’s not about competing over who knows what or who knows more.  It’s about sharing that knowledge, teaching each other, and learning from each other, with no judgement.  Anyone who truly loves music is in it to share it.  It’s why musicians make music.  It’s why I write about music.  And it’s why we spend so much of our time, money and everything else on this musical adventure we’re on.

Until next time,



Nadia’s column appears every Tuesday

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Nadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

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