We all have melodies that run throughout our lives. They remind us of who we are, where we’ve been, love, happiness and disappointments. I’m a collector of melodies, lover of music and lyrical words but I’ve no musical myself ability whatsoever.
Our recognition of music and tone starts before we are born, we listen from the womb. I was born into a musical, well, music loving family and I was sung to through my mothers stomach. My Dad, convinced I was a boy sung ‘My Boy Bill’ to me in his deep voice. I don’t think he was disappointed, well maybe a little but he had a boy eventually in his third marriage, my mum being his first wife. Dad used to get up and sing Al Jolson songs in pubs as did my grandad, dad now 78 still sings throughout the day.
I was named, as mentioned before here, after a Judy Garland song ‘Liza, Liza, Skies are Grey’ thus the title of my blog. I have mum’s Judy Garland scrap book, started when she was just a teenager, it’s very precious to me as she was her number one fan.
So many of my memories are connected with music. My Grandmother, swinging her skirt around her knees at parties after a few whiskies singing ‘Danny Boy’. My other Grandmother’s love of the Opera and the poster of Placido Domingo she had taped to her lounge door well into her late 80’s and the stories of her as a poverty struck young woman climbing up into the ‘gods’ to watch the opera.
When I asked my step father after my mother died what song reminded him of her he said ‘The First Time Ever I Saw your Face’ Ewan McColl’s version. When he died a month later we had a bagpiper play his coffin into church, just as he used to play the boats out of harbour as a young man. Music brings them back every time I play something that connects us and I play these melodies often.
I was an officiant at a funeral recently, it’s a long story how I got to do it so I won’t go into the in’s and outs and bore you, but they wanted someone who was spiritual but also a vegan which is a bit of an ask. I wasn’t a trained celebrant but I ticked the other boxes so I agreed to give it a go, no in all honesty, I wanted to do this young man proud. He had died at 28 of a heart attack, very sad but as I learnt about him from his family I heard what a love he had for life and he loved to sing. Would you believe he sang at his own funeral, well recordings of his voice for two numbers ‘ Poor Unfortunate Souls’ from the Little Mermaid and ‘Hakuna Matata’ from the Lion King. He was larger than life in personality and he sung these songs with every bit of his heart and soul. I have to tell you when these numbers played it was like he opened the chapel door and walked in through it.
That’s what music does, it takes you back, brings back and reconnects us to precious memories.