Jennie Khan

Freelance Cellist and Teacher

Jennie Khan is an Auckland based cellist and cello teacher. She has a variety of experience performing both here and in Europe and has been teaching students of all ages for many years.

The Best Song(s) ever Written

Most of our sensory perception is relative to what we know, take wine tasting for example, you are unlikely to find the pomegranate notes in your Zinfandel if you have never experienced an actual pomegranate.

The same goes for art, the emotional reaction we have to a painting or a piece of music is not necessarily the same as that of the artist when they were creating it. Going one step further, even the most innovative of artists has influencers, those that have gone before that have been an inspiration.

As a musician, when we play a piece of music, of course we try to understand the story the composer was trying to tell. But interpreting this as ourselves we must draw on our own experiences and find our own inspiration.

I find it really interesting to know what music people choose to listen to, if any. I think it tells a lot about a person. For me, there is an eclectic range of things I like to listen to, depending on my mood. Then other things, I might not put the record on, but I love to play.

I wanted to share some of my music choices, it's harder than it sounds, there is so much great music out there,  and such a vast array of to choose? Well it made me think of Nick Hornby's book 'High Fidelity' (a good read by the way) The main character and his buddy in the record store pass the time making 'Top 5' lists. so I thought I'd give it a crack. Starting with the top 5 genres. Here goes...

Top Five country/folk songs:

'Fly' by the Dixie Chicks - based on the original album cover artwork

- Simple Twist of Fate - Bob Dylan
- Cowboy Take me away - The Dixie Chicks
- Oh my Sweet Carolina - Ryan Adams
- The Night they Drove old Dixie Down - The Band
- A Man Needs a Maid - Neil Young

Top 5 Classical works:

- Cello Concerto in E minor Op. 85 - Edward Elgar
- Adagio for Strings - Samuel Barber
- Piano concerto in A minor Op.16 - Edvard Grieg
- Symphony No. 7 in C# minor Op. 131 - Prokoffiev
- Symphony No. 5 in E minor Op. 64 - Tchaikovsky

Andy Warhol's Velvet Underground with Nico - Based on the original album cover artwork

Top Five Rock songs

- November Rain - Guns 'n Roses
- Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
- Angie - Rolling Stones
- Venus in Furs - The Velvet Underground
- Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits


Top 5 Blues:

- Bell Bottom Blues - Derek and the Dominos
- Still got the Blues - Gary Moore
- Many Rivers to Cross - Jimmy Cliff / Blind Boys of Alabama
- Cosmic Blues - Janis Joplin
- Change is Gonna Come - Otis Redding

'Small Change' by Tom Waits - based on the original album artwork

Top 5 Alt-Rock/Pop Tracks

- Tom Traubert's Blues - Tom Waits
- Paranoid Android - Radiohead
- Lonesome Tears - Beck
- Into my Arms - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
- Hope There's Someone - Anthony and the Johnsons


'Infidels' by Bob Dylan - based on the original album artwork

Top 5 Albums (to be listened to complete, beginning to end)

- Drella - Lou Reed and John Cale
- The Last Waltz - The Band
- Berlin - Lou Reed
- The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders of Mars - David Bowie
- Infidels - Bob Dylan

So it was considerably more difficult than I thought to narrow it down that much, You might find some of the categories a bit dubious but so often I find it hard to put them in a box. Plus there were so many great songs and artists, folks like Phil Spectre, Amy Winehouse , Ben Harper, Aretha Franklin, Björk, The Cars, that didn't quite make the cut. But that's I guess the beauty of the top 5, you really have to think about the song and what it has that merits it being there. Many of these made it because of a personal connection or memory or they have these epic instrumental arrangements.

Maybe you are familiar with some of these, maybe you've never listened to any of them. Either way it would be great for you to share your Top 5 'Somethings' in the comments below. I'd love to find out what inspires us in different ways as musicians, plus I always enjoy discovering new music I've never listened to before.

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