Nostalgia and the Passing of an Artist

A famous singer from my country recently passed away. A fellow musician posted a story on Facebook:

“Dear Facebook friends,

I don’t know how many of you were in yesterday’s concert that shook us all to our core. I entered the stadium in a lousy mood because I knew that [that singer] was in critical condition. I was distraught but I tried to play it ‘business as usual’. When the singer before me started singing that sad song, I knew my friend [that singer] had died. When I told you [the crowd] this, you spontaneously started singing one of my songs, one of the saddest songs. I stood there on stage and cried and when you were finished you said as one “Let’s go home.” because you understood that we couldn’t do this concert, and that moment I thought you were the most sensitive and feeling crowd in the world. Thank you.”

(I took some liberties translating the article, so please don’t mind)

Something about this article really moved me. The event must have been amazing to see, even if the concert never came to pass. You might not have ever heard of either of these singers, but you must understand what an impact his music had on my country that the crowd would react this way. Not only was this singer a really good one, but he was also part of my childhood soundtrack. It made me think of him, the old days and the music that accompanied them. Just a few days ago it was the anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death, and these sort of things affect me more than politicians or athlete’s departures from life. Artists leave something real of themselves behind. Listening to Freddie makes in live, in a way, and yet he’s gone forever. It’s a melancholy feeling I wanted to share. No more songs from Freddie EVER. No more songs from this guy, either.

Music has such an impact, and songs strongly associate with feelings, life-events and moments in time that it’s hard to hear one without feeling the other. There a fluidity to songs while the artist lives, the knowledge that they could sing it again and it could be recorded slightly differently, or made better. After their death there’s a static feeling to the song when you hear it, even live. This is how it will be sung from now on. No more.

It’s melancholy.

I hope I didn’t bum you out! I didn’t know what to write for this week, and then I heard the news and I wanted to share how I felt. Perhaps you’ve felt something similar when a singer you liked passed away?

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