Posts Tagged ‘singing’

Mary Fahl in Colchester, 9/17/10

September 18th, 2010

About four months ago, to celebrate the publication of To Join the Lost,* I organized a house concert for Mary Fahl.  This Friday, I had the good fortune to attend another one.  At my house concert, when I asked Mary what she would like me to say as an introduction, she told me to speak from the heart and to keep it short.  So I did.  But seeing her again has revived thoughts of all the things I could have said.  Here are some of them.

Each time she begins a song, it is a shock, the transition from an ordinary world in which a beautiful (but not too much so) woman stands in front of you with a guitar, chatting and joking and generally being charming and intelligent, into another place entirely.  It is as if one opens a door and a huge wind comes through and blows the world away.  Then the song ends and there she is, winsome as ever, with her stage patter.  And even though you think you are ready for it, the next time she opens her mouth to sing there it is again, that wind and the huge red sun and suddenly nothing else.

There is the matter of her stage presence.  I think the shock of hearing her sing is partly due to that.  We exist only in relationship.  The Mary Fahl who exists in relationship with her audience, I am sure, like any performer relating to an audience, exists nowhere else.  But there are certain performers, like Mary, who appear to relate to the group watching them so easily and naturally, that it is easy for the group to believe that yes, this is who she is, she is being herself for me, as if she had no other selves – this is the “real” one.  From there it is a short step to that sense of intimacy that is so similar to the intimacy we feel when we are enjoying the company of another person, alone together.  She is telling me things about herself, she is funny, she is interesting.  It is like being with a friend.  It invites us to react to her from that part of ourselves which is capable of intimacy, that soft place of giving and receiving and mirroring laughter and tenderness.  

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