Bobbi Bernstein’s Music
Bobbi Bernstein—Musician, Singer,
Songwriter & Composer Extraordinaire
Dance for Joy is the title of Bobbi Bernstein‘s latest CD, and those words sum up the spirit of her music dedicated to and inspired by Avatar Meher Baba. While every artist can be said to be unique, I personally regard Bobbi as one of Baba’s most original and distinctive composers.
Songs on the album: Addicted to God Shuffle / Heart to Heart / You Inspire Me / I Want Thee / Divine Invitation / Myrtle Beach Rag / Behind Your Brown Eyes / Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff / The Game (words by Meher Baba) / Rockin’ Baba / Fish Out of Water / Mehera’s Waltz / Never Give Up / The Heart Holds the Key / The Losing Game / We Are All One
Bobbi has loved music since early childhood, when she could just play any song by ear. Her songwriting style reflects the influences of rock, blues, jazz, and show tunes. She is inspired by any music that lifts the spirits and touches the heart, and enjoys jamming with friends and sharing her love of music with children. Bobbi reports that she is “currently am in LOVE with the song ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams. That’s my kind of song!”
Here is Bobbi’s musical biography in her own words:
Percussion was a great love from an early age. Bongo drums were my first experiences with percussion, aside from banging on table tops. I started piano lessons at age seven. My teacher would write out popular songs of the day, using symbols for chords. It was early training to play from fake books and sheet music. My dear Mom played piano by ear—old time jazzy, ragtime style. She could just hear a song and play it. My parents loved popular music, such as “Begin the Beguine,” which was “their song,” so I grew up hearing The Great American Songbook.
Growing up in Union, New Jersey, I was certainly influenced by Broadway, only twenty miles away. When I was accepted at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, they signed me up as a music minor, so I got immersed for the first time in classical music. It was a great experience. I ended up giving a full recital in my senior year. It was the first time anyone included Geprge Gershwin music in a Skidmore recital. It was one of his classical pieces, but had a jazzy feel to it.
My next major training in music came from being asked to be in a variety of bands: rock, blues, New Orleans jazz, Latin jazz, etc. My songwriting often has reflected those influences. I started singing when the songwriting began, thanks to Darwin and Jeanne Shaw. Jeanne asked me to put a Rabindranath Tagore poem (“I Want Thee”) to music and I found I could do it! After two more Tagore poems, I composed my first song— words and music—”Just Love You.” No doubt that those Baba meetings at the Shaws’ home in Schenectady, New York, inspired that song. That was in the early ’70’s. I have been composing ever since, sometimes words from Baba quotes, or a few songs connected with Baba’s Mandali, especially Bhauji—and inspired by life! The classical training has led to some instrumental compositions.
During a period of my life, I worked with children and gave concerts and workshops at schools. My early library work as a Children’s Librarian allowed me to incorporate books, music, and movement in my programs. I especially enjoyed working with young children. and wrote some songs for them, such as “Chummy and Simba.” I have also played professionally in restaurants and other similar venues solo and with other musicians. My favorite venue is the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach. I enjoy presenting monthly concerts in the Saroja Reading Room and occasionally performing at the Meeting Place, and jamming afterwards.
I enjoy a variety of music. It would be hard to pin down my favorite style or performer. My CDs reflect this. I have released The Only Real Thing, the single “Yad Rakh,” and most recently Dance for Joy. They are eclectic, but my music seems to fall under the category of “Broadway.” Some of the songs that have been popular are “The Real Thing Calypso,” “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” “Meherabad, Meherazad,” “Myrtle Beach Rag,” “That Extra Mile,” “I Want Thee,” the instrumental (“film music”) “The Heart is Awakening,” and the first one, “Just Love You.” Hopefully, my music lifts the spirits and touches the heart. It does help me in that way.
It’s all His grace. I am very thankful for my generous and loving parents, who paved the way for all of this to happen. And most especially to Beloved Meher Baba.
Hear Bobbi sing the Tagore poem that she adapted to music:
That I want thee, only thee—let my heart repeat without end.
All desires that distract me, day and night, are false and empty to the core.
As the night keeps hidden in its gloom the petition for light,
even thus in the depth of my unconsciousness rings the cry—
“I want thee, only thee.”
As the storm still seeks its end in peace when it strikes against
peace with all its might, even thus my rebellion strikes against
thy love and still its cry is—“I want thee, only thee.”
- Bobbi’s CDs are available at Sheriar Bookstore; see links at Bobbi’s website.
- Bobbi Bernstein performing “YOU INSPIRE ME” live at “BABApalooza” on YouTube
- Bobbi’s page at Meher Baba Travels