Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Untamed Music

It was my third time, I think, at the Ottawa Folk Festival. I was on the lawn chair side, sitting beside a friend. I love the Folk Festival. I've been to the Blues Festival, and I love the music but it's too big - I feel overwhelmed by the crush of people and it almost always rains on me when I'm there. The Folk Festival, at least at this point, was smaller and more civilized - a neat division between ground-sitters and chair-sitters, no trouble being near enough to the stage. Here I fell in love with Jesse Winchester, who was quiet and unassuming in speech and wove an unbreakable enchantment in music. Here I developed a huge crush on Fred Eaglesmith, who was the very opposite of quiet and unassuming and made me wonder why I had never realized how great songs about cars, freight trains, and big ass garage sales were. Here I began decades-long love affairs with The Wailin' Jennys and David Francey.

In the warm August air, under the stars, I heard the Wyrd Sisters sing Warrior a cappella for the first time.

For the first time, I understood why dictators have poets and musicians murdered. It seemed less like music than wild magic, sowing seeds of potency and passion in each transfixed listener.

I don't know if it changed my life forever, but I think of it often. I am an older woman now. And I am much less afraid of speaking out. Because those who cannot speak for themselves need us to be warriors for them.

*****************************

Whew. Okay. Scintilla Project, Day 1. Patti, I can't figure out if I love you or hate you right now.

10 comments:

Patti said...

I get to comment first!

What a moment that was. You reminded me of the times when what I read or hear raises the hairs on my arms and moves me to tears.

I'm going to go listen to that song right effin' now.

Patti said...

Oh yeah. Definitely the former.

That's two, count them, two comments.

Mwah-hah-hah-hah (Count Dracula laugh).

Brandeewine said...

Oh...love, love, LOVE this.

"For the first time, I understood why dictators have poets and musicians murdered. It seemed less like music than wild magic, sowing seeds of potency and passion in each transfixed listener."

I know this feeling. To read just the right words on a page, to hear just the right notes, to see the perfect brush strokes on a canvas...they give us the hope to go on.

I'm glad you joined in on the Scintilla fun.

Amanda said...

This: For the first time, I understood why dictators have poets and musicians murdered. It seemed less like music than wild magic, sowing seeds of potency and passion in each transfixed listener.

Is perfect. The most perfect sentence I've read today!

Amanda said...

This: For the first time, I understood why dictators have poets and musicians murdered. It seemed less like music than wild magic, sowing seeds of potency and passion in each transfixed listener.

Is perfect. The most perfect sentence I've read today!

Nicole said...

This is lovely! I've not heard of this Scintella thing - looking forward to your posts!

Amber said...

Wow. I am gobsmacked by the beauty of this post. You rock, Allison.

harriet glynn said...

It's so hard for people to describe why the arts are important. It takes poetry to do it. *sniffle* Well put!

Mom of the Perpetually Grounded said...

At the risk of quoting the same part as the others.

"For the first time, I understood why dictators have poets and musicians murdered. It seemed less like music than wild magic, sowing seeds of potency and passion in each transfixed listener."

Amazing. Moving. Perfect.

Betsy B. Honest said...

I had a crush on Fred J. too, developed at a music festival. Couldn't stop listening to him. But it ended when he toured to the small town I am from and I drove up to take my Dad to see him and his repartee was verbatim from the show I saw him in 2 years before except that he went on a riff where he got angry at us, the audience, for being smaller than he'd hoped and probably not going to by any CDs and on and on about how he was really to important to be singing to us. Very offputting. Now I just can't even listen to him, not even Summerlea, without recalling his scorn.