Thursday, March 21, 2024

small planet, big feelings

Usually on teaching days, all I do--all it seems I can do--is teach and then head home to veg. But today, despite some kid-care challenges, I managed to have tea with BOL and then walk over to the Wharton to see Small Island Big Song with EM. 

When EM first asked if I wanted to go to "Small Island," I thought it was a dramatization of the Andrea Levy novel we both love--it isn't. It turns out to be a beautiful cross-cultural collaboration between musical artists from about 16 islands dotting the Pacific and Indian oceans. I didn't understand a single word... and I didn't need to... the music was so joyous and transportive. I loved the artists' camaraderie and synergism. And their final song about the danger to the Great Barrier Reef sounded sorrowful and (rightfully) angry and nearly brought me to tears.

Things I thought about during the concert: 

1) How my last set of season tickets at the Wharton was pre-pandemic and I need to see about getting tickets again. They have Six playing this weekend, and I would have liked to go. 

2) Because I couldn't understand the lyrics at the concert, I thought about how much my mom likes Nelly songs (esp. "Hot in Here" and "Ride Wit Me") although she probably only gets about 50-70% of the lyrics (because of slang and accent). The kids find this HILARIOUS. (I mean I do too... my mom has never smoked anything in her life let alone an "L.")

3) I hadn't yet finished The Bee Sting at that point in the evening, but its climate grief really connected with the music in Small Island Big Song. One of the characters in The Bee Sting rages about how strange it is that poets keep writing about birds and flowers and so on as though whole species aren't disappearing every day. That is SO true! (10/10 for The Bee Sting, BTW.)

Pic: Small Island Big Song in concert. I'm off to see if I can find their songs on the internet. 


StephLove said...

I've never had season tickets to anything, but I can see the appeal. It would get you to go to things you might not otherwise.

Nicole said...

When I read "my mom likes Nelly" for a split second I did not think you meant what I thought you did, and then you said "Hot in Here" and "Ride Wit Me" and I realized that yes, you DID mean that. I am in solidarity with your mother because those are some seriously good songs, but I'm just picturing your mom "it's getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes" and "smoke an L in the Benz" and, well, it's quite the visual I'm getting!

maya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gillian said...


Nance said...

2 Things:

1. I burst out laughing when you said your mom liked Nelly, esp. those two songs and how your kids think it's so funny. Now I truly understand why my sons get such a kick out of me liking "Knife Talk" by Drake even though I have no reason why and more reasons why I shouldn't (and the video creeps me out so bad that I only watched it partway through one time).

2. Sometimes, I wish I didn't understand any words to songs. I find my brain working so hard to decipher the words that I can't just relax and enjoy the music in totality. The concert you attended must have been a really immersive experience that let you truly enjoy the music as a whole.

(oops, maybe 3 things: thanks for the final review of The Bee Sting!)

maya said...

Steph--They have options to mix and match, so one doesn't have to get tickets to every single thing, but maybe 6-7 annually? It was nice to have things to look forward to.

Nicole--For full effect, you MUST imagine my sari-clad mom and grill-faced Nelly singing a duet!


Nance--It always makes me smile too. I must go look up this Drake song now :)!

last day/first day

And that's a wrap on classes until August. There are exams and meetings next week and task forces that will meet through the summer and ...