Sunday, June 6, 2010

Music, my love

I wonder if all artists are secretly (or not so secretly) envious of artists working in other art forms. For me, it’s music. As someone who writes and occasionally paints/draws, I am always conscious of music’s greater power; of its innate capacity to transport in a way that all other art forms aspire to but rarely attain.

Like so many people, I feel profoundly deprived in not having a good singing voice. I play the piano, and that’s lovely, but it’s not the same as being able to use your own body as your instrument of expression.

Recently I went to see Jen Cloher and Jordie Lane at my local, the Thornbury Theatre. Since then, Jen Cloher has been rocking my world. (Jordie already had a hand on the cradle.)

I’d heard Cloher on the radio a couple of times before this, but it wasn’t until I saw her live that I was properly switched on to her music. I’d forgotten how good seeing a someone perform live is for finally “getting it”, whatever it is a performer has to give.

In the case of Cloher, it was a revelation. How rare to see that combination of ferociousness and vulnerability.

I am now in that heady stage of infatuation with her latest album, where I just can’t get enough of it. I know that intensity will pass, but right now she’s singing the words that I need to hear.

When I listen to Cloher’s songs I get that absurd sense of disbelief that no one has written them before now; how is it that something so perfect would not have existed, would not have been made tangible if this person hadn’t been there to create it?

This thought always triggers a wild mix of gratitude and melancholy in me. The kind that has me pulling over to the side of the road and just taking in a big deep breath. Because I can. Because I've been given a life.

Ain’t that the wonderful thing about art: that strange sense of cathartic relief that comes with hearing/viewing/reading something that releases you; that reminds you why art is essential to the self.

How can you describe the effect great music has on us? I don't have the words. I just know what I feel: that music shatters you just as it makes you whole.

I killed the bird
With the bird
Killed the song
With the song

Killed myself

(Jen Cloher, "Birdsong")


katiecrackernuts said...

I've been on the Cloher band wagon, get it ... band ..., for a while. Brilliant stuff. Live and on the albums. Brilliant, bone-rattling-ly good stuff.

Frances said...

Rachel: A few posts ago, you asked something like: "Is this what my mother fought for?"

You haven't answered it, but I suspect that the answer lies in Alex Kates Shulman: what mothers won't tell their daughters is that they will fall in love with their children.

What did your mother fight for, Rachel?

genevieve said...

I think you are right, Rachel - I envy painters and those who can make meaningful marks - yet, I sing and scribble a bit.
Go figure.

little red hen said...

Oh yes I envy people who can play music and singing in particular (It's a bit hard to carry a piano about!)Sometimes when I used to work a long way from home I'd be listening to the radio as I drove there or home and suddenly be sobbing all on the strenght of a song that just connected with me. I also envy those who can write I really dont have that gift and I wish I did.

wooldancer said...

yet isn't our personal perception of our own talents/abilities subjective and often the most critical.. i recall your singing voice from our childhood Rachel, singing in the loungeroom together never felt so good. To me, your voice was, and will remain to me, beauty-full.

Cartonish said...

I really like music but the problem is that I am not good at it. It is a pity but I can't be composer neither a singer.

Cartonish said...

I remember when I was doing the test to enter to the music club that ironically was sponsored by online pharmacy and I couldn't do it. I was the worst there