I recently wrote about Beautiful Noise, and how this is a song that always makes me think of my father. Then came Jae’s prompt, to write a tribute to mom, and no song came to mind. Not one specific song that is.
A wide variety
As I sat thinking about one song that always makes me think of my mom, nothing came to mind. I think if you ask my children the same about me, they will also not be able to mention only one song. Just like my mom did, I love many different kinds of music, from classical to rock and many in between.
Mom was maybe less of a rock chick than me, and more of a classical music lover, but in broad terms our musical taste was the same.
Mom was a huge Presley fan, and his music was very much part of my upbringing. Strangely enough, when I think of Elvis, or hear any of his songs, I think of my mom, while my father loved his music too. I still remembered when Elvis passed away — I was ten — how sad my mom was. She cried, and was sad for weeks after his passing.
Songs of Elvis she really liked were:
- Suspicious minds
- In the ghetto
- Are you lonesome tonight
- Wooden heart
- Always on my mind
- Love me tender
- There goes my everything
Nowadays you don’t hear much of his music, or you hear covers, although of course many of the songs he sang were covers too.
One thing mom loved to listen too, and even more so towards the end of her life, was classical music. She absolutely loved the New London Chorale — a British choir that popularized classical music — and owned several of their albums. Her favorite of their music was the one with the Matthew Passion. She and I had tickets to go to the Matthew Passion in April 2017. The tickets were bought in October 2016, and by April she was already so ill, not able to walk more than 3 or 4 meters, that we had to cancel.
Where I really enjoy listening to classical music, I love popularized classical music much more, and I do think that it’s because of mom’s influence. Where I only listened to the New London Chorale when I was with mom, I loved listening to Helmut Lotti’s classical albums whenever I could.
Mom always had the radio on when she drove to and from work, or to visit family. Sometimes she would point out a new song to me, and those would be from totally random artists. It could be songs by Beyonce, or Ed Sheeran or Amy McDonald, or any other artist. When she liked a song, she really enjoyed listening to that song, and it didn’t automatically mean she liked the artist, or liked any of their other songs.
After Elvis, she never really was someone who was a fan of a specific musical artist or group.
I sang in a choir for the first time when I was still in school, encouraged by mom to try out for it. I did it for about two months and then gave it up for gymnastics, because I only had time for one extracurricular activity. Mom had been a gymnast too when she was in school, so she wasn’t upset when I stopped singing in the choir.
Years later — I was a young adult — mom and I sang in the same church choir in Pretoria. We only did so for a couple of months, then I got divorced for the first time and moved down to Cape Town. About three years after I had moved to the Netherlands, mom and I joined a gospel choir, and we stayed there for about two years. We mostly sang in churches on a Sunday, but also appeared on television twice and had a Christmas concert in one of the oldest and well-known theaters in Rotterdam. We both enjoyed the choir singing, and I still get a smile on my face when I hear ‘I will follow him‘ and remember the joy on mom’s face when we swung to the music!
Mom passed about 5 weeks after her seventieth birthday. A week before her birthday, she wanted to have everything on paper for her funeral. Together with my uncle, who was a vicar, she decided on the psalms she wanted in the liturgy. But, she also wanted music played when her coffin was carried into the church.
She chose ‘O Fortuna‘ from the Carmina Burana by Carl Orff.
Dramatic, emotional music and ‘O Fortuna’ literally means ‘Oh Fate’ and it’s about the inescapable power of fate. I think mom was trying to tell us all something.
My taste in music is a tribute to mom
Where I believe both my parents had a hand in me loving a wide range of music, writing this made me realize my mom was the bigger influence.
My love for classical music I have to tribute to mom. This is something my father never listened to. I listen to music with emotion, love a song because it speaks to me, whether it’s the words, or the melody. I don’t get all weak-kneed about any performers, even if I like some of their songs. That’s another tribute to mom. She never told me what to love, or forced me to listen to something, but just led by example.
Maybe that’s why some songs that came out after her passing, also make me think of her, simply because I know she would’ve liked it too.
© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay