Category Archives: Music

I’m a Survivor!

Yesterday I came across a song that truly inspied me.

I could not find whether the reference to premature birth is to Reba Mcentire’s own life, but it does resonate with me. I was, after all, born three months too early.

Often, survivorship refers to people who have endured childhood or domestic abuse, have survived serious illnesses like cancer, or stuff like natural disasters. Babies are too young to remember the hurdles they overcome as they survive the neonatal intensive care unit, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t survivors nonetheless. Preemies beat the odds, after all.

I remember when someone asked me what experience I was proudest of overcoming, I responded that it was premature birth, because without having overcome that experience, I wouldn’t be alive. Even my suicidal crisis in 2007 doesn’t compare to this, as I was not physically close to death then.

I am very happy to finally have found a song about a woman born too early. I know I got a CD for my birthday with songs on it about a boy with a birth defect, but these are written from the father’s perspective. It is hard to find former preemies even on large social networking sites like Facebook – I created a group for them and no-one except for the friends I added would join. There is a group on Yahoo, but it isn’t active at all. By listening to this song, I feel validated that prematurity was something I have survived, yet also encouraged to move beyond mere survivorship.

There is not much known about the effects of premature birth on the surviving children. Well, it is known that many develop autism and related conditions, but I mean stuff like attachment disorder. There is a lot more research on the traumatic effects on the parents of preemies. This frustrates me. I know that trauma before the age of three is hardly taken seriously, because a child is too young to remember it and those who claim to remember, are often accused of faking. I agree that memories before age three are rare, but that doesn’t mean that experiences from very early life can’t affect attachment and later personality development.

The important message in this song is however to be proud of your survivor status and to move on and reclaim yur life. I try to do that and am totally happy with this new music find.

Linking up with Motivation Monday, Inspire Me Monday, and Wellbeing Wednesday.


Songs That Have Had Meaning in My Life #TuesdayTen

Today’s Tuesday ten theme is “songs stuck in your head”. Lisa of The Golden Spoons twisted the theme to songs that describe motherhood. I am going to participate in this week’s Tuesdya ten with some of the songs that have been important in my life over time. YouTube is blocked on my computer for now to save on bandwidth, so you’ll have to look up the songs yourself.

  1. The Dubliners – Molly Malone. This was one of the songs we learned during our only English lesson in fourth grade – back then, Dutch students didn’t start regular English lessons till sixth grade. I was touched by the sadness in the song. When my parents, sister and I went to see a folk band at Vlieland (an island we used to go on vacation), I spoke to the band members at the end of the performance and they played this song for me.

  2. Johnny Austerlitz – Oh Waterlooplein. This was one of the first songs I learned when joining a children’s choir at age ten. Waterlooplein is a place in Amsterdam where people used to sell their used stuff. When I went there myself in a few years after learning this song, the things sold at Waterlooplein were mostly new and expensive, and the nostalgia sung about in the song was far gone.

  3. ABBA – One of Us. This song was on the first CD I bought myself in around 1998 (and yeah, I really didn’t have a CD player prior to that). I loved the lyrics, which I only partly understood, and I used to dance to this song a lot in my room.

  4. De Kast – In de Wolken. This song was played at the school-leaving ceremony at the end of my seventh grade year. The ceremony was mostly intended for high school graduates, but since I was leaving special ed, I felt touched too.

  5. MIKA – Relax, Take It Easy. When I was taken to the police station for wandering in the week preceding my crisis in 2007, I remember this song was playing. It felt as though the song was on repeat everytime I was at this police station during that week.

  6. Amy Macdonald – Mr. Rock ‘n’ Roll. I don’t really have any interesting tale to tell about this song, but I like it in a similar way that I used to like the ABBA song.

  7. Tom Lehrer – Send th Marines. My husband introduced me to Tom Lehrer in like 2009. While the first song I heard was Poisoning Pigeons in the Park, I like this one better.

  8. Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive. I had to include a song whose lyrics would make sense to other people. Most of the songs I mentioned above had some meaning to me in terms of the lyrics, but usually I didn’t understand half of the words.

  9. Natalie Grant – Held. This contemporary Christian song is my fvorite in its genre. I love the strong message in the lyrics.

  10. Truck Stop – Take It Easy, Altes Haus. The song currently stuck in my head.

Sarah McQuaid in Concert at Peter and Lenie’s, Steendam, Netherlands

I was at my parents’ for the week-end. When I called them last week Monday to say I wanted to come over, my parents invited me right the same week so I could see Sarah McQuaid in Steendam, a town in the province of Groningen in the Netherlands, on Friday. I had heard some of Sarah’s music, but had never attended a concert.

We drove from my parents’ town to Steendam, on our way picking up one of my parents’ friends. We arrived a little early at Peter and Lenie’s, the restaurant where the concert was taking place. We got seated and Sarah arrived. Peter introduced her and Sarah welcomed the audience, specifically mentioning my parents. As I was looking at her website, I found out my father had taken many pictures at previous concerts, and he was photographing again.

Sarah McQuaid Playing the Shruti Box
Sarah McQuaid playing the shruti box. Photo credit: Frans van Woerkom.

Sarah McQuaid sings mostly folk songs and songs in this style she’s written herself. I was impressed at her interpretation of traditionals, one of which dates from the thirteenth century. If I remember correctly, this was the song she played on the shruti box, an Indian instrument similar to a harmonium (see picture above). I also particularly liked one of her songs, In Derby Catherdral, in which she was singing in a loop. Martin Stansbury should be honored here too, as he was working the loop on his laptop. The video below shows Sarah singing this song at a concert in 2011.

I am quite a concert novice and had at first thought I’d like a studio album better than a live performance, but I was wrong. One of the good thigns about a live performance is interaction with the audience. I laughed at Sarah’s attempt at speaking some Dutch, obviously some from a phrase book. This being folk, the audience was also encouraged to sing along. One of the songs is called “Perhaps” or its Spanish equivalent “Quizá”, and some of the audience sang the Dutch “Misschien”. This wasn’t spontaneous of course, but it was fun,

Sarah will be touring the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany until April 6. Check her website for details. She has already announced she’ll be back at Peter and Lenie’s next year.

My Taste in Music

While browsing Google+ blogging communities, I came across Amber Parnell’s glimpse into her music library. This synopsis of Amber’s musical taste is definitely worth a read. I think, in fact, that I’m going to copy her idea and post about my musical taste.

First, I don’t have a music library. Or rather, I do have some music on my PC, but that is not nearly as varied as my musical taste is. I don’t have an MP3 player or iTunes. Actually, most music I listen to I either listen on (when it works) or more often on YouTube.

My musical taste is quite varied as I said. I like mostly folk. At first, this consisted of the likes of the Dubliners and the Pogues. Now, I listen to quite a diverse number of singers/songwriters. Examples include Cara Dillon, Kyle Carey and Karine Polwart.

I also listen to comtemporary christian music, particularly that sung by females – I guess I like female artists more than males in general. My favorite song in the CCM genre would have to be Natalie Grant’s Held.

Other singers in this genre that I regularly listen to are Bethany Dillon, Britt Nicle and most recently discovered Karyn Williams. Examples of male singers in this genre I actually like are Chris Rice and Ceili Rain.

Other than specific genres that I’m into, I like a huge amoutn of bands without particularly liking the genre. For example, I like John Denver but am not specifically into country. I also listen to 21st-century pop sometimes. Particularly, one of my alters is into the this, so I’ve actually liked Blue October, Amy MacDonald and Beyonce. I don’t know if I truly actually like them, excet for Amy MacDonald, or if I “like” them because part of me wants to be trendy.