My friend sent me this video by Pentatonix to watch. So I did and it will come as no surprise that I liked it 🙂
And as usual it got me thinking – because I can’t really help it! There are so many links in this world that throw webs of fragile threads around us, until it feels as if we have only to pull on one and the entire world would change direction! I shall attempt to explain.
The song my friend sent was PTX’s cover of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen – and there is a reason why many thought it funny that Bob Dylan should have been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature when there IS Leonard Cohen. But poetry taste aside, and because and despite Hallelujah is a mysterious wonder, of course my mind jumped to the actual Leonard Cohen concert I saw a couple of years ago. Standing or kneeling, surrounded by vocalists and instrumentalists that are stars in their own right, the man himself delivered a performance that had the audience crying not because the songs are sentimental but because of an overload of beauty that twisted the heart into joy apparent.
And that has happened to me only once before, when an impressionable 20-something year old saw Tarkovski’s movies and understood that everything has been said by them and there is no other point to cinema. I changed my mind, of course, but even now at the back of my mind the memory of that certainty remains, setting the standard.
But back to the video, a capella singing is a favourite of mine, and especially when there are only a few people in the group so I can actually distinguish the voices and hear what it is they are trying to meld. So I heard this note, a low, resonant one, so I had to check it out which led me to learn of such things as basso profondo and oktavists. Which meant another trip on YouTube for Russian choral music (no organs in an Orthodox church, therefore voices will have to suffice, and my goodness they do!). But hearing those low, low, low notes had me remember throat singing (or overtone) which is such an eerie thing to listen to, on a warm autumn night, closing your eyes so that you can really hear this tiny Inuit woman who decided that WOMAD needed to know that the human throat is a wonderful thing… and if you live in a world where WOMAD exists, than it well behooves you to attend, you know? 🙂
And if I am listening to Hallelujah then I should also pay attention to the biblical hints in it (Thomas the unbeliever, Delilah etc.) and so that will also remind me of my favourite Corinthians quote (dissected somewhere else in this blog) and a choral rendition of it at the end of a movie that Tarkovski would have liked I believe, Kieslowski’s Blue from the Colours trilogy. Which of course brings me to Juliette Binoche who…
I will stop here. I have tried to count the “and”s I have used in this article because the links are just that. No buts or ifs, ands. With memory in charge not only of division, but the bringing together of people and times and knowledge.
How else would I live, if such things are possible?