If music be the food of love then my heart must be pretty anorexic. In spite of the belief that music is a universal language, I fear I haven’t even mastered its alphabet, let alone learnt how to speak or understand it. I emote better with Cervantes’ quote that he who sings scares away his woes, after all I have managed to empty out karaoke rooms with a few opening notes…though I doubt Cervantes imagined his quote applied to such interpretation.
So, it is with great admiration, and utter bewilderment, that I regard musicians. I have the rhythm of a conga line at a bat mitzva, a total lack of memory for lyrics, am completely tone deaf and frankly have a shocking deficit of appreciation for the entire thing. This is not an easy admission to make in Chiang Mai, where live music is played in nearly every restaurant and bar and just about all my friends have a guitar at home which they promptly pull out at parties for a rousing sing-along.
I justify it as a personal handicap.
While brainstorming for this month’s theme, the Citylife team didn’t pay the slightest bit of attention to my protests and shot down all my suggestions to veer from the musical theme. I was forced to admit that I am an anomaly, and that most people in the world have a healthy and fine appreciation of all things music. I was told it makes the world a better place; which put me in my place.
My shameful admission aside, I am envious of those who have the talent and love for music. I see the effect music has on people: strangers coming together and feeding off one another in a jamming session, crowds collectively elevated to giddy ecstasy at a concert, love blossoming over a meaningful song, children producing trickles of tears on their parents’ faces during a school recital, I see these things and truly wonder at the ability of people to strum, blow, sing or drum to achieve such results.
So, in honour of all those talented musicians and their followers out there – i.e. everyone but myself – this month’s Citylife is dedicated to just a small sampling of the astounding talent to be found in Chiang Mai. We may not have featured Took and his late night guitar solos at The Brasserie, or songbird Soontaree Vechanont’s haunting Lanna ballads, The Good View’s pop/rock crowd pleasers or some of the more well established musicians, but we have attempted to bring to your attention a more varied, in some cases lesser known, in others world renowned, collection of singers and bands.
In part due to the constant cacophony that is blasted from his loud speakers, rocking our entire office daily, James Austin Farrell has assumed authority in the editorial department for all things music and has taken the lead with the magazine this month, interviewing a fascinating array of musicians, from Canada’s Handsome Furs, an up and coming punk/indie/rock band, to Modern Dog, featured on this month’s cover.
Enough with words, I will now pass you on to music, literature of the soul (or so I am told).