Friday, December 18, 2015
Joseph Hunter ― Some Notes on Music
I was driving down Addison Avenue, in the early 2000s, on my way to a Cubs game when I heard an esoteric song blaring from a car near me. An adept Chicago driver, I wove my way down the narrow road (always signaling) to place myself right next to the car at a stop light. “Jisas Yu Holem Hand Blong Mi” sung by The Choir of All Saints played briefly near the beginning of Terrence Malick’s film, “The Thin Red Line.” I love the simple song, and met disappointment that it did not appear on the movie soundtrack. I tapped my horn twice to get the driver’s attention, and asked the affable, young man where on Earth he found it.
The Internet wasn’t then what it is today, and in spite of my frequenting eclectic music stores, I could never track down this song. I didn’t know what it was called. I didn’t know who sung it. I didn’t know the words. I didn’t know what language it was sung in. All I knew was that it was sung by a group of stone-aged islanders at the beginning of an artsy movie. The driver was surprised that I was so interested in the song, and he took the CD from his stereo and just gave it to me. He said he had it on his computer at home, so my refusals were futile. What little I can remember about his physical appearance fades as I age, but my gratitude for his kindness does not.
I still have the CD–a stranger’s mix tape–a compilation of popular songs with this strange, previously nameless, gem embedded within. By complete coincidence, I heard an obscure song–not even 2 minutes long–for which I had been hunting for years. Had I left my home 2 minutes earlier or later, I would never have heard it, and may even be still hunting for it today. The profundity of the coincidence continues to amaze me. Even more, though, I’m struck by how lucky I am to live in this modern era.
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