World Music

I took a lIMG_20150807_141840ot of photos this summer. And spent a lot of time thinking about what can’t be captured in a photo.

Mostly, I was thinking about cicadas. Along the trails outside of Boulder, Colorado in the States. In the trees lining the narrow roads of Perugia, Italy. Electric. There is something other-worldly about these creatures who leave their bodies whole behind every seven years or so, clinging to the branches; and whose buzzing is so loud it pushes into your sleep. Home a week, and I hear them still.

And, still, the melodies of Russian and Italian. The interpreter’s soothing voice, Italian sliding over into English words with no change in melody. No pause to garner attention. Pay attention to it all: how the body speaks, too. The inhalation before. Or the slight shift of weight in the hips when it spills from one form of expression to another.

Going back to the U.S. is always odd. The hyperawareness of sitting between chairs. I am never sure which “we” I belong to. I have a duel identity, and none at all. “America” is loud and lovely, and not. And the people there find it odd I use the word lovely so often. After all, I live in Norway, not England. I have a stilted, halting musicality that sometimes struggles to express its own, self-contained logic. I gesticulate in the wrong language. I shift when everyone else inhales.

In Perugia, Bogdanov spoke about melody every day. How we all have it within us, continually: rhythm, melodies. It is how we move. I have meditated on this. Tried to be honest about it with myself. But I move with words. Staccato or flowing, there are no violins in my head. There are voices.

In a closet in a gym in Perugia, I found roller skates. I can hear them on a wooden floor. I hear, indistinctly, the chirping of my three girlfriends at 12 years-old, voices seeping through the walls from another room of my life. Drowning out the opening melody to “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

And, in case anyone is wondering, I am still loud. Feeling too often like a muffled trumpet, I slip: You can hear me on the trains, a coarse rhythm and a disjointed melody. Electric. I’ve left bodies behind, after all.

Whole bodies.

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