One and All My Life are just an extension of my mom’s music

Simply excellent. Glad I got to watch the concert.

Listening to One by Metallica as I’m reading my news, I’m struck at how beautiful the string arrangements in the middle of the song, around minute 4 and then around minute 6 or the end. Okay so perhaps ‘beautiful’ might not be the appropriate word to describe metal music but hey, I’m no expert! I just like to listen to whatever my ears take a liking to. It got me thinking (I know, dangerous activity this, thinking) your taste doesn’t just evolve by itself, it takes into account influences by people closest to you; people in your household and friends.

What are your toes made of?

My parents actually has similar musical taste. They both like pop music at their time which given their age it means everything from jazz, swing, to rock n’ roll. Because of my dad western influenced education, he also likes classics. So come to think of it, the noises my house produces were rather wide-ranging. At any given time you could be subjected to Mozart, Benny Goodman, Elvis, The Beatles, Strauss, Louis Armstrong, Simon & Garfunkel, and Michael Franks. Each kids responds differently to this cacophony of sounds.

 

His voice is amazing. Right up my second sister’s alley. If she listens to current music that is.

My oldest sister seems to absorbed it all and likes whatever is cool at the moment. My brother takes after my mom and pursue a more rockin’ sound such as Kiss, Genesis, Iron Maiden, and Dream Theater. My other sister is firmly in the gentler sound genre. She likes Rick Astley and other similar crooner. Me? Since I was born even later, not only I got to listen to my parents’, I got the ‘benefit’ of my siblings too. This time, those who cranks it out loudest seems to win.

In his time, this dude is a pop star!

Yes, I like classical music. I enjoyed listening to the old masters, I am moved by operas and listen to some arias for fun. Yes I like pop music. I still love Madonna and Michael Jackson – I actually cried when he died. I absolutely adore Take That and has a huge crush on the Backstreet Boys. Yes, I also like rock music. Given that out of all the older siblings, my brother got to drive me around most it is no surprise I also likes the sound of Kiss and Whitesnake and I thought the art covers for Iron Maiden was very colourful and funny. I dunno why those skellies seems funny instead of scary to my 6-year-old mind. Perhaps my skewered sense of humour just developed early.

 

Oh look, a skeleton rides a plane! Funny! Right?

So I listen to all kinds of music but the clincher is of course the music of my highschool years. During my time this is no other than that famous Seattle sound aka grunge. I think highschool girls around the globe were in love Kurt and Eddie (well not me. Kurt made me want to cook while I kinda want to give Eddie a chill pill) at that time. Eventually, if push come to shove, ripping guitars and decisive drums wins out among others. I like rock music and its many variations a little bit above everything else. I still think that in an alternate universe, my name is Mrs Dave Grohl. (yes, how old are you again?)

Hello dearest 😉

Who do you listens to and what or who do you think influence your taste?

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Hash, High School, Het Museum

Flag of Amsterdam. The official city motto is ...

Flag of Amsterdam Image via Wikipedia

When people find out that I finished my high school in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, they usually thought it’s cool. Some though get all glazzy eyed and thought OMG, did you smoke like, pot, like everyday? Err… Well, while one of my classmate did give an impromptu lesson on how to roll a joint tobacco filled ciggarette paper in the school lounge, I never actually try them. The glazzy eyed crew were not impressed. So, what did I do in high school?

Not getting high every weekend that’s for sure.  I was so naïve or idiotic -probably the latter- I didn’t even realise what weeds smells like until Jou pointed it out to me during one of our many excursion to the Dam. There we were, Luci, me and Jou, my hs crew,  pondering whether we should get a tattoo, where and what when he suddenly sniffed the air and remarked ever so casually,

“Dang, it smells so strong today!”

then Luci concurs “Yeah it does doesn’t it?”

“Smells what? It always smells like this,” said the resident idiot

“Doh! Its the red light district. Coffee shops, space brownie?” asked Jou

“You mean hash?”

“Ding ding ding! Hello! Where have you been? You do live here don’t you?”

“Well… I just didn’t realise what it was. I just thought this area smells funny…”

“What do you think it is?”

“The dirty canal?”

I think Luci just laughed and Jou gave me the biggest eye roll ever known to mankind. And this all happened in broad daylight I might add. So no we weren’t under any kind of influence, except maybe all those tertier hand weed smoke/space brownie baking smoke inhaling. Hmm.. come to think of it, that’s probably why I’m slightly kookie.

So yeah, it is safe to say I also didn’t partake in any drunken debauchery in high school. What I did do is exploring the museum and music. Suffice to say that the Dutch has their share of great arts. Rijksmuseum is truly an amazing museum. The Doll House by far is my favourite part. So back in the 18th century, the hot item of the day is to own a Doll House which was a replica of their house and it would show you’re rich enough to spend money on ‘frivolous’ things. One such lady (or her family) donated her doll house to the Rijksmuseum.  I just love to stand there imagining the woman – it was a woman’s thing, not a little girl- who used to owned that doll house. Would she let the daughters play with it? Or did she, when no one is looking, play like a little girl that she once was? Then, as it is an accurate copy of what a house looks like at that time, I started imagining what would it feel like living in a house like that? Would I like it? How does it feel to have two doors? One for the servant and one for you? Must be interesting.

I would go to the museums with Sarah. She’s just so smart it was interesting to see her take on things we see. We’d have lunch afterwards, a slice of pizza with a glass of cool soda in Leidseplein. But Sarah wasn’t just my museum buddy, she’s also my music buddy. Well, not together because we played different instrument, she plays(ed?) flute and I do vocals. But we’d perform on the same events. One that I still remember is when our school entered a music festival/competition that was held in the International School in the Hague. There were a bunch of us, we actually go on a bus to get there, there were kids who played the piano, flute, and some other instruments. I was in the choir, I think we performed the little fawn song and one other I can’t remember. For a brief moment we felt like musician traveling from city to city to perform a show. We were supposed to watch other people’s performance and learn from them but since we were the only ones there from our school we ended up just going to each other performances for support. We both got blue ribbons! Happy!

This was also where I truly understand the meaning of a stage persona. How, when one steps onto a stage you can transform into whatever character that you’re inhabiting for that moment and if you’re good, you shines. See, they invite some the jury deems the best to perform at the end of the day. There’s this one boy who got to sing. What he sang I don’t remember, but I do remember watching him sing on that stage wearing just normal clothes but he looks totally amazing. He belted his heart out and he just has this aura – I can’t take my eyes off him. Then, a very funny thing happened. Whole thing over, speech etc presented, we filed out the hall trying to locate friends and the right bus. And I saw him. And he looks? Just normal. Just your average high school boy leaning towards geek chic. I was so surprised. Was this the same guy that was on stage just moments ago? Pretty much crushed my hopes of ever marrying an actor someday. They just look dashing on-screen (which was confirmed as I worked on television later on and met actors but I digress)

And that’s what I did in high school. Choir, vocal lessons, making up songs with Mel and her guitar, getting Haagen-Dazs with Mel, watching loads of movies with Kath, Luci and Jou, checking out the American bookstore with Kath, tramsurfing (have you ever done it? Highly recommended), and of course, dancing the night away. You can not really life in Amsterdam as a youngster and not check out the nightlife. The tourist club, the interesting places, places only locals know… out when the sun still shining and home when the sun is back again and not because the sun never drops 😉 Just where did I have the energy? Ah youth!

A thought just suddenly pops into my head. Would Mel ever take me on her bike through A’dam little straaten again? Most probably not, since the last time we did we almost went into the canal. Ah no, that wasn’t with Mel, that was with Helene. Ah well. I prefer walking instead of biking around there anyway.

Monday Silliness :If Your Life Was a Movie, What Would the Soundtrack Be?

One of those tag along things, this one is actually kinda hilarious. It seems to like Chrisye more than any other on my playlist. Try it yourself and see how it works 🙂

IF YOUR LIFE WAS A MOVIE WHAT WOULD THE SOUNDTRACK BE?

1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For the first question, type the song that’s playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button TWICE
6. Don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool…just type it in man!
7. Tag a bunch people – including the person who tagged you, and hopefully they do it too!

1. Opening Credits
Terbang – Gigi

2.Waking up
Tentang Kamu – BCL

3. First Day of School
Keep Rock – The Changcutters

4. Falling in Love
Burung Camar – Vina Panduwinata

5. Fight Song
Lenny – Chrisye

6. Break Up
Aku dan dirimu – BCL

7. Prom
Low – Foo Fighters

8. Life
Call and Answers – The Barenaked Ladies

9. Mental Breakdown
Mambo no 5 – Lou Bega

10. Driving
Mi Mancherai – Josh Groban

11. Flashback
Beku – Chrisye

12. Getting Back Together:
Lebaran Sebentar Lagi – Gigi

13. Wedding:
Khayalku – Chrisye

14. Birth of Child:
Jumpa Pertama – Chrisye

15. Final Battle:
Aku _ Gigi

16. Death Scene:
Adam’s Song – Blink 182

17. Funeral Song:
Hands Clean – Alanis Morisette

18. End Credits:
Desafinado – George Michael

What, no songs about me? Change the playlist. Now!

Kitaro in Concert

Looking back, I realised the soundtrack of my childhood comprised almost the entire genre of music. Each member of my household play different tune. I’d hear Elvis, The Beatles and Michael Franks from my mom, classical, big band, swing, and calypso among others, from my dad. Then there’s my 3 older siblings who are just as varied, my brother likes all type of rock, my sister likes pop, and my big sister likes whatever she thinks cool. Of course don’t forget the odd dangdut coming from our maid’s radio.

I don’t if it was my big sis or my bro since their taste sometimes overlap. All I remember is that some of the music they played just goes on and on. One of the contributor to these cacophony of sound is Kitaro. So, when Babeh asked if I want to see Kitaro, I said why not. Always welcome the chance to see live music.

So there we were last night, at JCC after waiting what seems like forever, nearly 50 mins from the published time, watching Kitaro live on his world tour. I must say, it was better than I expected. Yes, his songs seems never ending but I was fascinated by the mixture of sounds and instruments he used to make up these songs. There were at least 7 keyboards, 3 Taikos, a drum kit with timpanis, violin, guitars, and some wind instruments I-have-no-idea-what-their-names-are. His band consists of 2 keyboardist, one that looks like rhythm keyboard, a violinist, a guitarist and a drummer. Then there’s Kitaro the man himself who played the rest of the instruments.

Since he doesn’t sing nor dance, his shows makes full use of lights and colour. He also used a projector, projecting mostly landscapes and planets. All the band wore black, he wore a sleeveless coat over his dark gear, but even the colour of his coat is quite subdues, purples and greys. Well at least that’s how it looked from the tribune. Thus the play of light and colour that enhanced the mood of his music. Red and blue, during the percussion time, the light also plays with him, going on and off according to the beat.

Like most musician, he shared the light, focusing on each player solos. On one song he even share the light with a half-sphere disco ball, placed on the stage. Him and the band are completely dark, the light only shone on the ball bouncing off lights to the ceiling. While it is wonderful to look at -babeh thinks it’s cool, I said, it’s just a disco ball. He said but usually it’s hanged on the ceiling. uh, okay then- and certainly complements the music, for me the effects is not unlike being in a planetarium watching comets and stars chasing each other. I half expected a commentary, saying something like, “And now… the andromeda star is chasing the sitara comet. This only happens once in a blue moon…”

But seriously, it was a good concert. We were taken on this amazing audio-visual journey that really moves you. My favourite bits were the percussions. I don’t know how he does it but he made those drums ‘sing’. With the help of the rhythm keyboard to set the mood I swear somehow the drums just sing to us. It funny cuz drums don’t usually have a melody like say, a violin. They play a beat. But not on Kitaro’s hands. Cool!

Certain songs took me back to my childhood. Back to Menteng, playing with my cats while my siblings stereos blared out from their respective rooms. I got a bit sentimental on those songs. It reminds me of when I used to go watch prog-rock concerts with my brother. I bet he would’ve enjoyed the concert as well.

Then suddenly it was over. I look at my watch and it was 10pm! We’ve been entertained for nearly 2 hours. It just fly by. That’s how wonderful it was. Kitaro talked to the audience 3 times. First was after 2 songs where he said that the last time he came here was 15 years ago! Then he thanked us for our support for Japan. Second time was the end of the show, he introduced the band members before playing an encore. Finally he closed the show, said his last thanks, and exited with a bow.
I noticed a band member put his hands like the way I was taught in jiu-jitsu many years ago. interesting.

Thank you so much Babeh for taking me to see Kitaro. I like it a lot! Here’s to the next concert. Whatever it is 😀