BlackMary

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He said, `You sound like a young boy, like a child, like an old woman, like an old man’ – Lisa Gerrard

Posted by on Tra 8, 2011

He spoke Croatian, she spoke Indian/Sri Lankan and they understood each other perfectly.

As you may or may not know, I was in Australia with my youngest son recently.  And every afternoon, if it wasn’t raining, I would take him to the local park.  It was nothing fancy, just a couple of swings, a slippery dip and a seesaw.  And it was on one of those afternoons that I witnessed one of the most amusing and yet oddly amazing events ever.

While we were at the park, a little girl of Indian or Sri Lankan descent who was about my son’s age came to play.  As my son is quite a friendly chap, he started talking with her in English.   However, he soon realised that she didn’t know  a word of English, only Indian/Sri Lankan.  So my son switched to talking Croatian, assuming that if it’s not English she’s talking it must be some strange form of Croatian.

I stood there watching bemused by the whole situation, wondering what would happen next.  And even though he spoke Croatian and she spoke Indian/Sri Lankan, they understood each other perfectly.  Because they were not only speaking with their tongues, they were speaking with something more, with a universal language.  With their bodies – pointing, looking in various directions – with their emotions – raising their voices in anger, laughing – and telepathically, almost knowing what one wanted the other to do.

And this whole situation made me think about that other “universal” language, the language of singing.  I don’t understand a word of what Lisa Gerrard or Mariza or Cesaria Evora or Bulgarian singers sing.  And yet these women touch me to the bottom of my soul.  Because they don’t sing just with their voices, they sing with something more.  They sing from the bottom of their souls, from the ends of the universe, and that’s something no matter what language we speak we can all understand.  It’s like Werbeck always said, the voice is more than just the vocal chords – it is our whole body, it is our whole being, it is our whole universe.

So next time you have to say something to someone and want to convey more than words can say, why not sing it without using words.  You might be surprised at the results…

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