On my dark days where all i see around me is shadows and hope seems like a lifetime away, I doubt my every decision and every move. i question yet again the value of music as a career - am I contributing to society with this, am i making a difference to the lives of others, is this a superficial job?! (I know, shocking that I even entertain such thoughts…)
true, its nothing life-changing. Nor life-saving. and yet, when i truly think about it, it is. so very much.
my very first live-performance was probably when i was four years old. it was “Cats”, and i surprisingly remember the experience (contrary to “remembering” based on my mother´s recollections to me) of sitting in the Victoria Theater in Singapore, all in the dark, and the huge cat figures all around us, the sounds they made. I remember that fascination I had for this fantasy world we lived in, if only for an evening.
ten years ago I experienced my very first Jörg Mannes choreography. It was the production of “Lux” and it was mindblowing. I sat there transfixed, as the entire stage - covered in black sand and underlit with a fiery light - came alive through the dancers’ explosive movements. Tears welled up as my heart opened and a fury of emotions caught me unawares. The next day I bought my very own copy of the music from “Lux” - Giovanni Sollima’s album “We were Trees”. Ten years down the road, I still catch as many productions I can of Mannes' works, some many times over. It is one of my favourite things - the world halts to a standstill for the two hours as I lose myself in the achingly sublime coming together of music and movement, brimming with cheeky humour, grace, a kaleidoscope of emotions, and the wildest of imagination.
There is also the evening I spent in Tunbridge Wells with a dear friend, a glass of wine in hand, listening to her Spotify playlist. Neil Diamond’s “If You Go Away” came on and as he sang: But if you stay I'll make you a day / Like no day has been or will be again / We'll sail on the sun, we'll ride on the rain / We'll talk to the trees and worship the wind”, something about that potent mix of raw emotions in his voice and those words opened the floodgates in me and I grieved, for all the people I’ll never get to have another day with.
I could go on like this for days. There are so many more memories and experiences, like glittering jewels in the treasure chest of my heart that I just keep adding to and which make up the sum of my life. Like the first time I came across a huge Gerhard Richter painting in Köln and it sucked me right into its whirlpool. Like the first time I read the poetry of Alvin Pang and Agnes Chew, and teared right there in the bookstore because there was so much YES! in their writings, speaking right to me. Like the first times I heard Andreas Scholl, Patricia Kopatchinskaja or the Uptown Jazz Orchestra live in concert and my jaw ached afterwards from too much joy.
So yes, this is a gift. And YES, it is indeed, truly live changing.
The power and the magic of the Arts is something so intangible that we often undermine them. And yet without them our lives, our very being would be so much poorer. They are an outlet for our emotions, the happy ones, the dark ones, and all those in between and beyond; those we have kept pent up and repressed, of which we might or might not be aware of. The Arts provoke us, they comfort, embrace and ignite us.
They awaken our souls and make us alive, rather than just purely existing. If we let them.