A date with Bocelli

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The lights dim,
the spotlight rests
on the man in black
He swings his baton
and the choir bursts
into its opening song
A prelude piece
to set the stage for
the tenor to come.

And then we get
that first glimpse
as he walks in
The crowd roars
anticipation heightening
breathing suspended
A collective hush
descends upon
his fans.

The orchestra plays
the opening lines
and that magical voice
starts to sing.
Song after song
enthrall the audience
All held spellbound
by those faultless
soaring notes.

And I sit there
heart racing
goosebumps rising
shivers running
down my spine
enchanted, captivated,
strangely elated,
feeling touched
by the divine.

My mind
searches restlessly,
for words to describe
the sheer joy of listening
to that incredible voice.
Words such as
soaring, sublime,
magical, divine
they all fall short.

But as the music rises
to it’s final crescendo
I thank the stars above
for letting me share
these moments
with one of their own
walking down below
this tenor, this musician
this magician of song.

Songbirds

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The sound of
young voices
raised in song
like fledgling birds
chirping in
a whisper quiet forest

Their untutored
voices follow
the teachers
commanding notes
reaching for
that elusive key

Voices rise and fall
soaring high
sinking deep
magically creating
the semblance
of a melody.

Song

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A song plays
In my ears
Mine alone
I lose myself
in magical words
and musical notes

In that moment
I become someone else
A young girl
crushing on the boy next door
A woman thanking
her vulnerable man
A phantoms protege
destined to shine on stage

And as I sing these words
Their life becomes mine
their feelings belong to me
And I am
in turn
overwhelmed
infatuated
heartbroken
ecstatic
angry, hurt, devastated

Then
the song ends
The last note dies out
And once again
I become I
Wife, mother,
best friend, daughter

But somewhere
deep inside
a part of that song
remains with me,
Adding more colors
to my life
making me
complete.

Yesterday…… A tribute to the Beatles

“Want to go for a Beatles performance at the MPO? Tickets are going fast” was the message from my friend Julie, one evening in February. And having loved the Beatles from wayyyyyyyy back in primary school, there was no way I was going to say no! And so, just about a month later, we found ourselves seated in the very last row of the Malaysian Philharmonic’s theater in KLCC.

Waiting in the dark hall for the performance to start, I really didn’t know what to expect. Would it be something I would enjoy? Would it be a stiff, formal performance or would the orchestra do justice to the wide range of happy, crazy, wild, sad, emotion-filled  Beatles songs? But the moment  conductor Mark Fitz-Gerald walked out onto the stage dressed in a brilliant purple and red striped jacket, (straight from the album art for Yellow Submarine) all my fears were put to rest. This man, was definitely a Beatles fan. The audience exploded in claps and cheers, and the tone was set for a fun, magical  evening!

The orchestra swung into the simple but incredibly lively Can’t buy me love, and the screen behind the orchestra came alive with photographs from the Beatles’ early years. The MPO team had put together a collection of some truly wonderful pictures of the fab four. Most of the pictures were from their younger days,  the heady, happy, can’t-believe-how-successful-we-are days, when the smiles came naturally, splitting faces in half, and fame and fortune had not yet taken their toll.

As the orchestra continued its meandering  journey through John and Paul’s (and George’s) compositions, as picture after picture flashed by of the four boys laughing, jumping, singing, fooling around, I could feel my eyes prickle with a faint hint of tears. I must confess that I get teary eyed at the drop of a hat, or whenever I feel nostalgic (whichever comes first). Pictures, smells, sounds, trees, flowers, food, music, everything and anything can trigger memories. And even when the memories are happy ones (which they mostly are), I think of moments gone by that will never return, and it makes me just a little bit sad. Which is exactly what happened on that evening of 24th March. Part of me was swept away by the music, and part by the memories. I could feel myself traveling down my own long and winding road (sorry, couldn’t resist that one!) of memories and feelings. Or more accurately, memories of feelings.

The Beatles and their music have been part of my life from perhaps the age of 10 or 11. An early, faintly embarrassing memory is of singing “I wanna hold your hand” loudly, and not completely tunefully in front of the class. Hopefully the class has forgotten this traumatic moment by now. An even more embarrassing memory is of singing Yellow submarine for a school band audition, and the aftermath thereof. Those were the years in which I loved their rock n roll sound the most. She Loves You, O Bladi O Blada, Twist and Shout, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Hard Days Night, When I’m 64. All songs with a great beat,  and easy to sing along to 🙂

Move on to college, and life was one big party. Far from home, loads of freedom, and not much responsibility, beyond managing my grades. My three BFFs and I formed a little (not so musical) group and our theme song was *drum-roll please* Drive My Car, from the album Rubber Soul. In fact, that song pretty much summed up our repertoire as a group 🙂  Those were crazy years where entire conversations could be carried out using lines from Beatles (and other bands’) songs. Midnight gab sessions, long walks, journeys by bus and by train, picnics and parties, and always, always  music. I remember listening to John Lennon’s solo songs a lot. Beautiful Boy, Woman, Dear Yoko, Jealous Guy. I loved them all. Intensely.  And the song I listened to the most? The Ballad of John and Yoko. For some reason I listened to it a lot. Well I know the reason, I was madly jealous and wishing it was ME he had written all those songs for!

Post marriage, the Beatles were one of the musical acts hubby and I agreed upon. In those days, Metallica wasn’t my thing (though I’ve learned to appreciate them now) and Bob Dylan wasn’t his (though he’s learnt to appreciate him now) but we always agreed on the Beatles. And as we enter our seventeenth year of marriage, we have a host of common favorites. In My Life, Strawberry Fields, Here Comes the Sun, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, The Long and Winding Road and many more. Far more complex and layered compositions, perhaps reflecting the more complex, layered lives we lead as we grow older?

Throughout the concert, conductor Mark Fitz-Gerald made a point of telling the story behind each song they performed. Like how Paul wrote Hey Jude for Julian Lennon, to make him feel better after John and his mom got divorced. Or how Black Bird had a deeper, underlying meaning and was a commentary on the race riots happening in the US at that time. Listening to these stories, I felt myself tearing up once again. This time the tears were for the Beatles. For the songs they gave us.  For the fame and fortune they earned, and the price they paid for it. The controversies, the heartaches, and in the case of John, his life. I still remember hiding under my blanket, playing Imagine and sobbing my heart out when I heard he had been shot. I didn’t want to explain to my mother WHY I was crying at the death of a musician all the way across the world from me. But that was the power of their songs and their music.

And as I left the theater after the concert, I made a promise to myself. That I would try harder to introduce my daughters to the magic that was the Beatles. So that one day, hopefully, they will be able to look back at their life, and mark their journey by the Beatles songs they heard along the way.

Peace!