When an opera diva opens her lungs and mouth and sings it’s like the raw emotions of all humankind flowing like white water rivers, wild bush fires, avalanches crashing, tidal waves breaking and molten lava surging down the steep sides of a volcano.
The vibration of that exquisite sound – even a recorded version of it – speaks to us in a primal way. Our cells respond.
Do you sing? Are you tone-deaf like me? Or do people say you have a good singing voice? Either way, do you sing?
And if you do, do you limit your singing to the shower, drowned out by the force of water, only sing along to your favorite tunes or do you belt out a song at any opportunity?
The first time I heard Madame Butterfly, ah, em, sampled by Malcolm McLaren, I found the original version: Puccini’s Un bel di vedremo from the opera Madame Butterfly, sung by Renata Scotto.
I didn’t know what words Ms Scotto was singing but it didn’t matter – any words here are merely an excuse to carry the human voice as it expresses our purest emotions.
I have since managed to attend a performance of Madame Butterfly. Now, when I listen to this piece of music I feel like hurts inside are healing up, little pebbles rub smoother, cracks come back together, some molecular magic occurs.
Tears come to my eyes and if I allow myself to merge with the sound, I cry. My ears ring inside. I hold my breath. I sigh. Crying to Madame Butterfly is like empathetic crying, pain, solace, comfort, love. Feeling you’re part of an amazing species.
Now here’s the curious thing.
Why? Because she was singing from her heart. Yes, and her soul. Singing loud and proud. She was singing with her whole Self – her arms open, her facing shining with a smile. Wow!
My child’s voice carried way above all the other children, and she ain’t a show-off. I stood there with the other parents, tears running down my face. I couldn’t help it.
I was so proud. Not of how ‘well’ she was singing in the way we would usually say, but of how WELL she was singing as in with abandonment, an open heart, healthily, happily, joyfully and carefree. How wonderful it was to listen to her song.
And this reminded me of a time at a parent and toddler group when the leader, who had a melodic voice and knew how to use it, would lead us all in song. Perhaps because her voice was so lovely us parents would mumble along trying not to drown her out or be heard at all really.
No doubt all of us had been told many times “you can’t sing!”. And so we didn’t, (except I suppose when people weren’t listening). But one parent, a Dutchman called Jan, who was as tone deaf as me sang at full manly volume!
I giggled. I was kinda nervous on his behalf. (How arrogant!)
When I was done giggling I listened. Here’s the weird thing – his really off-key and uncouth voice was harmonising beautifully with the leader’s. Was it because he was belting out the song with great enthusiasm and without a care for what anyone might think of his singing? His deep, raw voice with her sweet, clear voice created something unique and grand.
What a guy! What a great dad!
Of course, I had to talk to him about it later because he really was something else. You know what he said? He started telling me this lovely theory about how our individual voices naturally resonate at a certain frequency which aligns with the frequency of our individual bodies down to a cellular level — and how the act of our singing – no matter how ‘well’ or ’badly’ – is healing for us in a physical and energetic way.
This just made complete sense to me.
So that day I vowed I would mumble-sing in public no longer but sing loud and proud. Hmmmn, let’s just say I’m still working on my confidence levels with this one because about as many people have told me I can’t sing as how very loudly I snore. (Maybe my snoring is just a different kind of singing…. no?)
I wonder if we all sang more – like on the bus (yikes!) or in the street (double yikes) or in the office (fired yikes) whether we wouldn’t have such a powerful need to listen to other’s people’s refined and processed singing recorded in studios? Would people walk about in public with those bloody iPod earplugs in their ears the whole time, or would they listen to someone real, live singing?
If people commonly sang in public, if it was as normal as talking, would we have a completely different, kinder, more understanding, healthier even, society?
Image borrowed from amberpyxiel17.