By Sharon Tillotson
I feel like an interloper here because I’m not really a music aficionado. I’ve always deemed myself out of sync with the rest of my generation.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy music; I actually love it. I sang along with my older brothers – and fell in love at a tender age – as they played Elvis LP’s; bopped to the Beatles; discoed to The Bee Gees; rocked with Elton John… and everything else since and in between. I can sing the lyrics to a kajillion songs.
But I never owned a record player and to this day don’t have a music system. I don’t own an ipod. If I want to have music in the background I turn to my HD music channels on the TV.
It’s live music that does it for me. Pretty much any live music, be it a tinkling piano in a quiet lounge, a rockin’ band playing Credence Clearwater, or a full out symphony. But I will go furthest out of my way to listen to jazz. I love every instrument associated with jazz. The brasses, piano, percussion… But oh, the stringed instruments. Whenever I am asked what my favourite instrument is, I always answer: the violin. I cannot explain it but play me a fiddle or a banjo and I resonate along with it. Serenade me with a violin and I swoon.
I was stunned recently to see a competitor on American Idol rock CCR’s Have you Ever Seen the Rain playing an upright bass. It was edgy and sexy – and garnered enough votes to be carried forward. The very next week he covered Nat King Cole’s Nature Boy and was called a genius – with the same result. A couple of days later, the ‘Stars’ danced accompanied by a sexy violin! (yeah, the violinist wasn’t half bad either). Suddenly, it seemed, strings were in style again. And what style!
Creativity is the stuff of life. No matter the chaos in the world (or perhaps because of it), art will out. If either of these artists brings their acts to Vancouver, I want front row seats…
** On a related note: In a moving and madly viral video last year, composer Eric Whitacre led a virtual choir of singers from around the world. He talks through the creative challenges of making music powered by YouTube, and unveils the first 2 minutes of his new work, “Sleep,” with a video choir of 2,052. If you are so inclined, check out the video, and the followup result. It is pure genre-bending art and worth it just for the Whitacre swoon factor.