It is really wonderful when the leader of the nation, while being super busy with the complex task of managing all the crucial issues for the country also plays the role of a leader for training the young minds on art and culture. Only a visionary can do that. Make the time and effort for making a summer list of songs for young people to listen to who are off from school perhaps for the summer. Also making a suggestive list of books he likes and reads as summer reads.
Yes, I am talking about the visionary leader President Barack Obama. It's his last summer in the oval office and he shared the music that he listens to, both as daytime and evening list. He has been releasing such lists in the summer from the last five years.
This year President Obama created two Spotify playlists, one for day and one for night, released to public in August. The playlist spans from rap to jazz to Manu Chao.
Here are samples from both of his playlists:
The President's Summer Playlist: Daytime
1. LoveHate Thing - Wale
2. Smooth Sailin' - Leon Bridges
3. Elevator Operator - Courtney Barnett
4. Home - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
5. Many the Miles - Sara Bareilles
It continues up to song 20 as does the next partial list.
The President's Summer Playlist: Nighttime
1. If I Have My Way - Chrisette Michele
2. Espera - Esperanza Spalding
3. Tell It Like It Is - Aaron Neville
4. Alright - Ledisi
5. Trapped By A Thing Called Love - Denise LaSalle
6. Lady - D'Angelo
President Obama turned 55-years-old this year. Michelle Obama threw a party to celebrate his birthday, which included such guests as, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, Stevie Wonder, and John Legend. It is clear the leader is music bound. But what is amazing about him is, he extends his music and book reading to the nation, especially to the young. This is quite unprecedented.
Daytime Obama is a mixture of comfort food, classics, and some uplifting funk, soul, gospel, and hip-hop. Nighttime Obama is all about calming down. The list is smooth. Australian indie rocker Courtney Barnett is an unexpected and excellent choice.
In August, President Obama shared his official summer reading list -- a mix of fiction and non-fiction, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning surf memoir, a psychological thriller, and a science fiction novel. It is a glimpse of the presidential book case!
While summer vacationing with the first family on Martha's Vineyard, Obama was most likely cooling off from the summer heat by perusing “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life,” by William Finnegan. According to Amazon, the book is “Finnegan's memoir of an obsession, a complex enchantment”
The list of five books also includes “The Underground Railroad,” by Colson Whitehead; “H is for Hawk,” by Helen Macdonald; “The Girl on the Train,” by Paula Hawkins; and “Seveneves,” by Neal Stephenson.
Interesting to note, in Obama's list for summer reads last year, "The Lowland" by Jhumpa Lahiri was one of the ten. Jhumpa Lahiri, a name near and dear to our Bengali readers.
This is a wonderful example for leaders in our country to also perhaps share some of their readings and music preferences for the next generation in the nation. It is a refreshing thought coming out of leadership to emphasize what is beautiful in life. Let's bask in that thought!
Samira Abbasi is a singer & writer.