Sometime this morning between 4.30 am and 6 am a strange realisation struck me:
I’m more influenced musically by my own culture than I thought.
I always thought it all began when I started binging on Rock and Blues music. I told myself the story that before that, the musical part of my mind was almost a blank canvas.
Of course that’s not true.
I’m a child of my culture and its musical history is part of my DNA.
From the first lullabies and children’s songs, many of them penned by poets and composers, I’ve been exposed to things I never consciously chose or thought of as influences.
This morning, in particular, I realized to my very own surprise that I’m influenced by German 1930s movies. As a child I spent a lot of time at my Grandparents’, and my Grandma loved those films. They often had pop songs of the time, or big dance revue type elements with showy costumes. I’m a little confused by the amount of 20s and 30s hits I seem to know.
Also, I find it strange to align the image of my pragmatic grandmother, who was constantly worried about something or other, with the shadow of the young fun-loving girl that had all the carefreeness knocked out of her by the war. The memory of her I treasure the most is of when she taught me to waltz in her narrow kitchen. I was about 5 or 6, and I loved the giddy, happy version of her. I don’t think I ever saw it again.
Like my Grandmother, I think my country’s culture never really recovered. It feels exhilariting to dig deep, and underneath the rubble, the crestfalleness and contrition, to find a more joyful, a more innocent face.