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The Food of Love

Updated: Jan 30

In the first scene of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Orsino (not to be confused with the composer, Orsini) implores musicians to sate his feelings of love with music by saying, "if music be the food of love, play on." Indeed, I have yet to meet anyone who has not had a profound experience that did not include music. I am no exception.

My first memory of a song was Abba's Chiquitita. It was something that my mother played on many occasions, definitely one of her favourites. It's haunting melody and sad recollections definitely left their mark on me, and, just like that, I was a fan.

Regarding my father, I do remember him having quite a large collection of vinyl records, albeit that his taste was a little strange. I can't honestly say that I listened to many of them but artists like Rod Stewart were at the forefront of his favourites, along with Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, and one band that stood out, head and shoulders – the Beatles. Most of the songs I learnt by heart, early on, were by the Fab four. A bunch of two-minute tunes with lyrics that were easily saved to memory. Today's kids can never understand what it was like for my generation.

Music is something that acts as a series of milestones for one's life. There is seldom a poignant moment that you can't point to and name a song for. Although I probably wouldn't say this in public nowadays, the first album I remember buying with my own pocket money was Madonna's Like a Virgin. Like many other kids of my generation, I grew up listening to eighties pop music first and fore. This was the era of MTV, and it was awesome.

Of course, as one gets older, one's taste in music grows along with one's own sophistications. And so it was, by the time I got to university that I was ready to delve deeper and discover genres that no self-respecting teenager would ever play, at least not with their friends present. It was at this point that I discovered blues and jazz. And it was incredible! It was as though I had never known another flavour of ice cream other than vanilla, and had now been introduced to chocolate – with sprinkles.

Artists like Miles Davis and John Coltrane were my new teachers. They demonstrated that chaos can in fact be beautiful, that notes did not have to follow a series of predictable scales in order to inspire. And then, there were artists BB King and Stevie Ray Vaughan, people who would tell you about the disappointments of life in such a way that would leave you eager to experience those things for yourself, seeing the beauty in tragedy and the complexity of the emotions evoked by love lost.

It was at this time of my life that I realized that music, to be appreciated fully, needed to be experienced with as many of the senses as possible. Smoke and whiskey music became a very real concept to me. It was at this time that I started going to concerts, something which continues to this day. Live music has become one of my standout passions, and I go to as many performances as time, availability, and finances will allow. Whether in a stadium with 50 000 screaming fans, or in a smoke filled coffee shop with 50 other late night appreciators of the live performance. Pop. Rock. Reggae. Jazz. Blues. Classical. I have loved them all.

I expect that I will be a student in the school of music till the day I die. The classroom of life continues to throw up inspiration for others to put to lyric and rhyme that which we can all relate to. Love. Loss. Regret. Hope. And all the while, we will sing along and dance in agreement to that which makes life worth living, and makes every milestone so memorable.

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