Those avid readers of my blog (both of you) will be aware that my girlfriend Rosie is a fantastic, tirelessly working Music Teacher. To keep her children creatively active and inspired, she recently put on a School Concert online. Her idea has subsequently been copied by Lady Gaga and chums, but I’ll gloss over that.
One of her pupils had written a catchy little number called “Corona Time”, which had all watching the concert humming the melody as we all logged out of Zoom, and on with our lockdown lives. Part of it’s catchiness came from it’s South American styes of son, bolero and danzón, that reminded me of Buena Vista Social Club. They’re a fascinating group, who were set up inthe 90’s with the purpose of bringing traditional styles of South American music more into the public eye. They certainly did that, and more. You’ve only got to think of the 2018 smash-hit Havana by Camila Cabello to recognise the lasting effect of that project.
I hadn’t listened to that group in a long long time. It was great to be reunited with this music which I’d loved a lot as a teenager. There’s something really special about when you revisit music from earlier periods in your life. It’s nostalgic, of course, but it also rejuvenates you. When looking through old photos it feels hard sometimes to believe the person in the picture is the same person looking at it, but when you listen to music you haven’t heard for ages it’s undeniably you who experienced it back then! It can be almost therapeutic in a way, reminding us of different periods of our lives, and how we’ve grown and changed since. It feels pretty close to time-travel.
And time-travel is something I think we all need at the moment! Escapism of any sort. A few weeks ago we were asked to be part of a brilliant charitable project. We recorded a few of the movements for Bach’s St John Passion, which have been lovingly stitched together into episodes of the entire work which are being released weekly, and feature a huge roster of many of the UK’s finest singers and instrumentalists.
I hugely urge you to check it out HERE , and feel free to donate to Help Musicians UK if you feel moved to! It’s a great charity that will be helping keep the music industry afloat during these tricky months of cancelled concerts, recordings, lessons, and the rest. There’s four episodes so far, and a few more to come. The music is, of course, sensational.
In the Coronavirus-free Alternative Universe, we King’s Singers would be currently arriving at the stunning Schloss Elmau in Germany for a concert there tonight. We’d have had an early morning flight (remember flights?!) and a transfer through some stunning mountain scenery. Pat would be trying to wash out some spilled oat-milk flat white from his freshly ironed shirt, Johnny would have completed the Times Cryptic Crossword in record time, Jules would be checking with the venue staff that the back-stage snacks were Gluten-Free, Eddie would be eating said snacks and hanging up his suit, Bru would be making sure our six stands are perfectly symmetrical on stage, and at the exact same height, and I would be trying to work out what we should rehearse whilst starting to do some vocal warm-ups. Ah, it’s nice in this Alternative Universe.
Better be off. The other boys are on the stage already, waiting for me.
Oh, and Happy Birthday us! 52 years young. Cheers to that!
Keep healthy, and keep singing.
Schloss Elmau. What a beauty!
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