My earliest memory is of a song. A old-time waltz I have never managed to learn the name of. I lay either on the floor or on a low couch, wrapped up in my favorite blanket, and the gentle music enfolded me. The sweet strains of Grandma’s fiddle soared over the swaying rhythms of the rest of her musician friends. I felt safe there, cocooned in the middle of the circle of friends. I felt happy. I loved the music, and gradually drifted off to sleep in between the notes of the waltz.
I didn’t remember this until a couple weeks ago, when, at the local jam night I frequent, one of our mandolin players played that same waltz. (She, too, couldn’t remember the name!) As we played, this lovely memory returned, full force. And many more, all similar, made up of pleasant evenings among guitars and fiddles and basses. I had been on a special visit to Grandma’s house, and I remember now how much I wanted to stay where the people played music (my mom sang, but it was not the same).
It’s really no wonder, with such wonderful memories, that I later became a musician myself. And it’s no surprise that folk music — old-time waltzes, Irish jigs, and Appalachian reels — still call the strongest to me. I recently re-discovered the violin (a gift many Christmasses ago now from my Grandmother, which was in storage for the last six years), and the first things I choose to play?
Waltzes, jigs, and reels. 🙂
It’s a beautiful legacy, and one I hope to be able to pass onto my child when she arrives. 🙂