Vocal memories

Vocal memories

I grew up with my Mum and my three sisters singing in 4-part harmony while we did the dishes. We had a song for calling in the chooks, we had a song for taking out the compost, and we had songs we sang over washing and drying the dishes. We made tapes and sent them over to family in Wales. Let’s do a tape for Nana! Mum wrote her own songs that we sang about living in a full house, Tiananmen Square, peace, whales and recycling. She also taught us songs from Sweet Honey in the Rock and other far flung areas of the globe, like Chile. It made for a rich and fulfilling environment growing up. She used to take us to the Daylesford Singers Festival over New Year.

When I was 14 years old, Mum, Dad, two of my sisters and me travelled to Wales. My brother and eldest sister stayed in Australia. I remember visiting my Uncle’s house. Mum was sitting on the couch between her two sisters who she hadn’t seen in 25 years. Suddenly, they start singing in 3-part harmony. It was magic. The Welsh have a strong tradition of group singing.

Singing in harmony is mostly about listening and giving up the need to lead. Surrendering to following and being one with another – in fact a group of others. And it’s a dance. There are times to lead and times to follow…  I wonder where else this shows up in life?