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Dr Rajendra Barve

Even shrinks need to unwind. And, yes, even they listen to a song when feeling blue, as the author here reveals rather lucidly...

I recollect a few years back I was in a little village somewhere in Austria and felt rather lonely. I had a Louis Armstrong song with me on my mobile phone and I would listen to it, quite often at times. ‘I see trees of green, red roses, too, / I see them bloom, for me and you/ And I think to myself/ What a wonderful world…’ I was overwhelmed with the intensity of the voice and the genuine love for the world.

A grab of Louis Armstrong singing ‘What a Wonderful World’ from www.youtube.com

Well, this is a Louis Armstrong classic… Not the astronomer, but the American jazz trumpeter and singer known by his nick name ‘Pops’! This is a song not only worth listening to, but a real treat to watch on your screen – for Louis had a tremendous stage presence. He had a very expressive, intense face, and while singing ‘What a Wonderful World,’ the cheery tone of the song shines through his eyes. When you see him perform, you can sense his belief in the hope and optimism that is at the heart of this composition.

Where does this optimism, this belief come from? Louis came from a very poor family, realising at the tender age of ten that if he could earn a few dimes his mother won’t have to compromise her dignity as a woman. A Lithuanian-Jewish immigrant family saw the musical spark in him and Louis began learning music. He was to became a foundational influence in Jazz.

When Louis sang ‘What a wonderful world…’ in his gravelly but melodious voice in 1967, the United States was consumed by racism in everyday life. The song was not an instant hit there, but Europe listened to it making Louis an overnight success.

More recently, the song inspired David Attenborough to present a unique tribute accompanied by images from the BBC’s wildlife and natural history archive.

Listen to another version of it uploaded by a music fan on You Tube, arranged and performed by American jazz saxophonist Kenny G. You will keep listening, and find yourself humming: “Yes, I think to myself, /What a wonderful world. / Oh yeah.”

Dr. Rajendra Barve is a renowned psychiatrist, Human Resources consultant - trainer and counsellor, who has contributed to the mental wellness movement in the community for the past several years. He reaches out to people through his columns in print and through his appearances on television

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