Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Kol Imma (Voice of a Mother)
With all the talk about Kol Isha out there, I thought I'd post a personal take on (my own)singing.
Before we listened to lots of lame kiddie music, RaggedyMom had lots and lots of my own albums that I loved, and still do. There is no better way to make kugel night more fun than pulling out some old music and belting out those lyrics that are deep-frozen into your brain.
After finding that there was nothing (surprise!) on the radio, I pulled out some old cassettes. My choice for the potato kugel (potato kIgel, according to RaggedyDad) was The Zombies Greatest Hits. This was actually the first tape I ever bought, at 11 years old. I listened to it every day, repeatedly for years, and to my credit, I know exactly how many seconds to pause at the end of one song before I take a breath to start the next song right on cue.
The Zombies were a popular yet somewhat obscure group, and are probably best known for the song "Time of the Season." (Also, "She's Not There", "Tell Her No") I had heard "Time of the Season" on a record of my mother's and wanted something I could listen to on my walkman. Singing along to it all these years later, I would say that the lyrics on some of the tape, and that song in particular, are waaay too sexy for an eleven-year-old!
I wonder if anyone is familiar with the Zombies' sound and has also heard the California band Smash Mouth ("Walkin' on the Sun"). Ever since I heard them, I thought they sounded like a reincarnation of the Zombies (maybe it's the sound of their keyboard).
Mid-session cleanup and carrot kigel time was devoted to another favorite, The Jayhawks (now defunct). Coming out of Minnesota, they are the quintessential folk rock/alt-country band. Their early albums are particularly heartfelt, and the harmonies are golden.
Years back, I went to a record store in Manhattan where the Jayhawks were performing to promote an album. I found myself pretty close to the front, and after the show, when Gary Louris was signing my CD, he said, "I saw you in the audience. Wow, you were singing along to every word!" Well, friends, that moment has been relived so many times in my mind it's embarassing. To say it has been one of the highlights of my otherwise "singing while cooking" career is an understatement.
I grew up hearing my mother singing Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell around the house as she dusted and cooked. The grocer we frequented when I was in my stroller days used to call me Maria Callas for my tendency to break into song. Ann and Andy hear a lot of spontaneous singing, and I hear them break into song a lot too, particularly Ann, who loves to belt out original lyrics about her thoughts and her day.
One of the more difficult things for me when we have long-term male non-related company (RaggedyDad's stepfather, for example) is being unable to sing around the house. But most of the time, my kids enjoy Kol Imma quite often. Singing to and with my children is one of our most cherished pastimes, whether or not anyone ever hears it.