Around this time last year, my band The Pub Forties was invited to play at the book launch of author Maria Lourdes De Vera for her work The Art of Dying — one described as a “nonfiction narration about dying and death and how a dying person tries to make sense of joys and suffering in her last moments.”
Sounds like some deep digging went into the writing of such a book. Unsurprisingly it is labeled by many who have read it as intellectual.
Months after that launch, we got to talk and she laughed when I compared the experience of reading her to an underwater dive where you can imagine the haunting wreck of Titanic appearing before you.
A musician herself, she amused me further when she shared personal thoughts about music. You bet never for once did she let herself come across talking shallow.
“Music speaks the crescendo in sunrise, the glissando of the sea rushing to the shore, the sound of heat or the thrill of the leaves, the order and harmony in nature,” she said, or should I say she recited.
Anyway, she was just being herself and that’s not a bad thing.
Being a music writer lets me hear people talk about music from the bottom of their hearts especially during interview sessions. It amused me to hear one discuss it with extra strong flavor, consistently going beyond what it must be for everyone’s consumption.
“Drop personal preferences to deeply appreciate the texture, color, experience of another form or style of tonal expression,” she noted in her urge on how one should approach music.
That could be uttered with simpler choices of words for easier grasp. But again, she proved music can be viewed in another way, her own or your own.
With school stints in Ateneo de Naga and the University of Santo Tomas, De Vera bloomed scholastically and for long specializes in a lot of academic things, including music education and guidance and counseling. You can always expect her to say a lot and express stuff in complex tones.
She won the 2015 Catholic Mass Media Best Book for Youth and Child for her Art and the Creation Stories which a pediatrician and educator hailed as a “well-crafted attempt to integrate art appreciation, storytelling, and religion in a structured framework.”
She herself somehow recalled that at the age of three, she already did the Arabesque “in perfect form” and sang “in perfect pitch.”
At a recital, she performed on the keyboard an impromptu composition to, in her own words, her “teacher’s surprise and to the Dean’s horror.”
In another occasion, she found herself “harnessing speed and dynamics” while playing George Gershwin’s Rhapsodie in Blue on the Yamaha organ were, once again saying in her own voice, “polarities in releasing and holding back nuances in the melody was something that continually enthralled me.”
Mind you, she plays the violin, too.
The point is, however you say it, your music is expressing how you understand it.