Sunday, November 07, 2004

Break on Through

The week was about pent-up energy, some positive and some negative.

This weekend has been about music.

Friday night, feeling like throwing plates at the wall, I went to CBGB's. The music was disappointing. The place itself never disappoints: layers and layers of concert stickers, floorboards that were last mopped...when? It's like archaeology under your feet.

My friend S. knocked at my door at noon, dragged me out of bed, and we went to the Living Room to learn shape note singing, a la Cold Mountain. I love music, but I have very little experience with making music of any kind, and even less confidence. Individually, I get the idea of a scale, rhythm, the length of each note, etc. Trying to combine them, I get muddled. I took a music appreciation class in college, and while everyone else scoffed at how easy it was and how they were taking it to fulfill a requirement, I was struggling to hear the difference between major and minor keys with any kind of consistency! (Yes, yes, I am aware of the fact that music played in a minor key sounds sad). So, I was not sure what we were getting into or whether it was a good idea! But as soon as we entered, everyone started being very nice to us. They laughed at my black humor about music skill, gave us a songbook, and tutored us in the basics.

Essentially, there are four shapes - a triangle is "fa," a square is "la," a circle is "sol," and a diamond is "mi" - which replace the regular oval at the end of each note on the scale. You begin each song by singing it using fa sol la and mi, then sing it with the words. We sat according to our voices - they put newbies in tenor - and people took turns leading.

It was really fun. At first, we could barely follow where they were on the page, but by the end, we could sing along pretty well, especially when there was a strong voice in our group whom we could follow when we started to get lost. The music was all traditional Christian music. Some of the tunes were familiar to me from my own Catholic upbringing, but most of the hymns were unfamiliar.

I think I might just go back next month! The singing was fun and will get easier with practice, and the people were all incredibly welcoming. There was a broad range of ages, from other people our age through people in their sixties. There are so few things that I do that are diverse in terms of people's ages, it's nice to be part of a community that is not just twenty-somethings.

Tonight, S. and I went to Irving Plaza for a concert. Erin McKeown opened, and rocked, as she always does. Then there was a LONG break between sets - everyone started to get impatient - and then the Waifs played. I have their CD but had never seen them live before. They are an Australian band, but their music is closest to Americana. The set got off to a slow start, but by the end, when they did a big rocker with Erin back on stage jamming on her guitar, I was very impressed. This show turned out to be more of a release of my plate-hurling energy than the harder stuff at CBGB's.

6 Comments:

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Blogger Couch Potato said...

Help me Dude, I'm lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new plasmatv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)

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