Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stillness {Day 9}: The music will take you there

The hubs and I went out for a little date tonight.  Went to a 'house concert', our friend called it, when he invited us.  A small concert in his home, an Irish singer and her guitar.

We chatted a bit, had a quick drink, then took our seats in the living room.  Fil Campbell stood up front and with the beautiful music of the Irish accent tripping off her tongue before she even started singing,  she invited those who knew the ancient folk tunes to sing along with her.

She began to sing, just like that.  Sad aching music wound its way around the shoulders of the guests:  I saw chins lift, and eyes mist as even the hippest of hipsters heard chords that resonated in the collective psyche of mothers singing lullabies, of grandparents singing forgotten choruses.

What is it about music that so instantly moves, so immediately takes us to distant memories and buried thoughts?

I wondered, in that instant, if this might be something to do with Stillness.  And of course, like all things of Quality, of course it had everything to do with Still.

Music is a thing that can command our entire attention.  Certainly it can be background noise.  Certainly there are forgettable tunes that can - no must - be forgotten.  (Barbie Girl by Aqua, anyone?)

But real music has power like no other to fully still our hearts and minds.  And I'm not just talking a lovely Irish folk tune.   I have clear memories of a Portishead set where I could have been anywhere, at any time, and the thrum of bass underneath would still reach me.  There was a underground jazz club on one of my earliest dates with Nilsen, and the memories are only of sound, and heat, and dark and more sound.  There is the incredible moment on my wedding day, when the trumpets swelled, and my husband (!) and I turned around to walk out and face the rest of our life.  All I have to do is hear the opening chords and I tear up.

Stillness, at its heart, is being aware - keenly aware - of your place in the cosmos and the complexity of all that surrounds you.

Music, I decided tonight, is just about the most direct way to get there.

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