19 June 2009

"Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"

"Words make you think a thought, music makes you feel a feeling, and a song makes you feel a thought" - E.Y. Harburg

Thursday night is something I look forward to every week. Its become a new pattern for me: close up the lab, grab dinner, then walk downtown to Front Porch Music, where they hold their "OpenStage," a music coffeehouse. The evening opens with a feature artists, who plays for about a half an hour and then introduces the rest of the performers after that. Anyone can perform; you just come and sign up at the door. It's $3.50 to get in - $2.50 if you perform - and then coffee's only $1 a cup with free refill. There's also a bunch of snacks and yummy goodies; nothing costs more than a dollar though, or 80 cents, for that matter. A very small and reasonable price to pay for an enjoyable evening, in my opinion.

And an enjoyable evening it always is! From 7:30 until 11, I get to listen to live music from a variety of styles and techniques. This week's feature artist was Mami. She is amazing. The first time I heard her, she was the last performer for the night. I was getting a little tired of listening to music and was starting to want to go home, but oh my goodness!! The moment she opened her mouth and began to sing! I think all thoughts ceased; I was so struck by her music. Her voice - with its touch of a foreign accent - is a very rich and warm and complements her guitar so well. Her singing is - how do I describe it?!? She can convey such a range of emotions. Happy, sorrowful, longing, torn, thoughtful, joyful, plaintive....Her music draws you in and pulls at your heartstrings. Whenever she finishes a song, there is always that tantalizing moment afterwards, where everyone is still, holding their breath, utterly entranced by the music. And then the quiet rustling and the thunderous applause, after they have pulled themselves back to reality. Mami is certainly a favorite of everyone's. We always beg "just one more!" from her :-)

I always leave the evening relaxed and happy, my mind full of music and work far from my thoughts. The walk back is leisurely and the night warm, and I feel like somehow the world is so much more vivid. The lights are low in the houses I stroll past; a dog barks or a child laughs in a yard occasionally. There are low conversations from people sitting in chairs on porches. A car door slams shut, the sound standing out harshly against the quiet. But what I hear the most, is the other music, the music of the night. The crickets and cicadas in the grass, the rustling of the leaves in the light breeze and the water from the recent rain, trickling down the streets. The air is warm and humid, making the smell of the flowers so much stronger. This night, I could see flashes of lighting every once in a while. They gave the deep blue sky a strange pinkish orange streak. I could see it from the bench where I sat, on the hill outside of my dorm hall. And then the wind picked up more and a sudden downpour drenched the grass. My bench was under a tree, so I didn't get very wet. But the cool rain felt good. It hardly made a difference in the humidity but it made everything smell better and it made the night more happy to me. I could hear the birds were happy about it too, and I knew there would be plenty of robins searching for worms the next morning :-)

I love music. And nature. It makes me joyful and reminds me the Psalm I had read earlier that day....

"My heart is steadfast, O God,
My heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
Let your glory be over all the earth." Psalm 57:7-11

Let it be so!

1 comment:

  1. "the music of the night!" Phantom of the Opera


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