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Music Memory - MC Abdominal

Music Memory is sponsored by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, offering the "Music For Memory Project":  a program based on the effects of music and stimulation on people with dementia, by providing them with iPods containing personalized music. For more information, visit

MC ABDOMINAL  - he is the man behind Abdominal and the Obliques, the jazz meets folk meets blues meets hip hop threesome. Their most recent album is called Sitting Music. MC Abdominal shares this Music Memory:

My mom, in her retirement, works part time as a librarian in a synagogue. As part of that job, she also does some programming for the seniors group there. she asked me if my band and I, Abdominal and The Obliques, might be interested in performing a daytime concert for her group. I was a little skeptical, given that we're a live hip-hop band, but ultimately we took the gig (we do a fairly mellow, folky/bluesy take on hip-hop, so thought it might at least be semi-palatable for the seniors).

As the performance date approached however, my nut job mother decided to take it a step further: she asked me if I would be willing to come in a week early to do a rap workshop with a small group of the seniors, who would then perform the raps they wrote with my band on the date of the concert!

I showed up on the date of the workshop and was immediately blown away: there were six seniors excitedly waiting for me, joking and chattering away with the energy of high school students. The oldest lady in the group (in her early '90s!) had been so excited about the prospect of the workshop, that she had already written close to two pages of (surprisingly decent!) raps!! What ensued was a very productive workshop, where each participant wrote four bars worth of lyrics, amid much laughing and high-fiving.

On the day of the concert, My band began playing and I handed the mic to the first performer, who nailed her verse and then adeptly passed the mic to the next rapper. And so it continued until the mic reached our 'cleanup hitter', the 92 year old lady, who, it had been decided, would perform her entire two page rap. She did just that and knocked it out of the damn park! The crowd of seniors went crazy!!

This was an amazing musical experience for me; one that I'll remember for the rest of my life. It showed me the amazing power music has to bring together people of all ages and walks of life, and how it can stimulate the minds and spirits of people that our society may have prematurely written off.


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