Memories

Today Wouter and I were treated to a evening out by my parents and my sister Tif.  Tif had the idea, bought the tickets and my parents did the babysitting. 

We went to see Lize Beekman at Die Boer.  Oh my word.  Like all the other times that we’ve seen her she was amazing and engaging and like all the other times she had me in tears.  And I’m not normally a teary person. 

Sometime during the show I realised that every single song she sang evoked a memory.  Wouter and I doing something, Wouter and I going somewhere, Wouter and I simply being together. 

The first time that I saw her sing was in Oudtshoorn during the 2001 KKNK (arts festival).  At that stage Wouter and I sort of started dating.  He knew he wanted me, I didn’t know what I wanted.  She was singing on the RSG stage at the museum.  Her songs were so complex and so simple and so elegant.  I knew the only person I knew who could appreciate it was Wouter.

Sometime later that year we saw her singing in The Grange in Durbanville.  I wasn’t very excited to go because of the other people going with us.  All of my unexcitedness left me when she sang the very first line of the the first song (Johnny drinks his coffee black, with one sugar and in a tea cup).  I was the one LOLing.  Yes, really really laughing out loud.  In 2001 LOL didn’t exist yet.  It was that long ago.  That evening Lize sang “Ami” and wasn’t sure if she was going to record it since she wrote it for a male singer.

We bought the CD (Cake) right there.  I remember being very surprised when I listened to it the first time.  In her show there were 2 guitars.  On the CD there were too many instruments.  As I got used to it it didn’t bother me any more and now I can’t imagine those tracks done any other way.

That evening Lize Beekman’s music became a backtrack in our lives.  The songs are like markers in our journey.  “Coming Home” I associate with driving around the mountain to Pringle Bay, looking down on the sea.  “Soutmansland” is the feel-good chant-in-the-car song.  When I feel down and angry and sad “It’s pouring” soothes my soul.  “Something to say” always find me shoulder-dancing in the car.  It is that kind of song.  And the hidden track.  The hidden track.  Oh my.  It shocked my mother-in-law out of her shoes.  It is jazzy and bluesy and definately not her cup of tea!

I doubt that any poem has ever been set to better music than “Rooiborsduif”.  What makes it even more memorable is the story that Lize told of meeting Breyten Breytenbach for the first time and being struck speechless.  I’m sure she can read the weather in such a way that you are laughing and sympathising and wishing it never ends.  I think I spelt sympathising wrong but I am so not in the mood to find the correct spelling.  This is my blog.  Live with it.

Fast forward to 2003.  We married in January and went to the KKNK in April.  We went to Lize’s show with my Tif and Fred, a friend of ours.  She sang “Amper Herfs” and Tif and I were both in tears.  It is about feeling down and people who manage to say the right things at the right time (“Lielie, dis byna herfs”).  We bought her next CD, Iemand het gesê, the next year at the KKNK.  We watched her show, I alternately laughed and cried throughout and we listened to the CD in the car on the way to my grandfather’s house in the retirement village.  It was the same white Corolla that we drove to our first Lize-show.  When I think of that CD I picture us parked on the left hand side of the street opposite my grandfather’s house (no 21).  We didn’t get out of the car until the end of the CD.  It is that good.

There isn’t a single song on that CD that doesn’t have a memory attached to it.  It is very difficult to try and explain what it meant to us.  Every time that “Ek HouVan Jou” plays I nearly assault Wouter because it is a poignant, delicate, handle-with-care love song and invariably he wants to tell me about something arb just as I get all soppy and lovey.  It grates me.

“Ek En Jy In Die Kaap” is one of the most beautiful Cape songs every written (Ek vra jou oor die see en jy sê, ja-nee, dis baie water en baie sout, dit maak die seer gesond).

On our way home from Wouter’s family in Bloemfontein we drove through Hanover and found “nommer 3, Darling straat” because she brought “kappertjiesaad” in “Sonneblom Uit Bethlehem”.  We take sightseeing seriously!

Both “Saartjie” and “Dankbaar vir Aeroplanes” always make me think of my friend Stephanie and I always feel guilty for not phoning her more often.

And then there is “Die Engele”.  I’ve never heard it without crying and feeling that I should phone my grandfather.  I don’t have the poetry in me to tell you about this masterpiece.

In 2005 Woutertjie was born.  We didn’t see shows because we were now parents and boring. 😉  That same year “Draadkar oor die See” was released.  I don’t really know why I didn’t buy it then already.  There was a side of me that was scared that I was going to dissappointed with it.  I honestly couldn’t see how any other CD could be as good as “Iemand Het Gesê”.

Midway through last year I bought her latest release “Sit ‘n bietjie langs my”.  Imagine my surprise when it was just as perfect as “Iemand Het Gesê”.  And I am not easily surprised with music.  The next week I bought “Draadkar” too.

Once again there is a song that always makes me want to assault my dear husband.  Wouter messes with the lyrics of “Diepsee of Knysna Bos”.  He knows it grates me and still he does it.  Is this true love?

There is one song that makes me want to assault myself though.  The first track on ” Sit ‘n Bietjie” is “Dit dan dit”.  Woutertjie calls it “die vinnige liedjie” (the fast song), Carien calls it “na na”.  Either way, I never get past that song when they are in the car.  Do you know how long a trip can get when you have one song on repeat the whole way?  That being said, the most beautiful thing on earth is a 3 year old singing all the words to the whole song.  And then an almost-2-year-old demanding “na na” and when the song starts she throws her arms in the air and cheers. 

That very same song has become the anthem of our homecomings.  I told you before that Woutertjie becomes very scared of going home after he has been in hospital for a while.  The days that we drive home listening to other music he stays inhibited until the next day.  The days that I put “die vinnige liedjie” on as we leave the hospital he has a goofy grin on his face all the way home. 

Thank you Lize, if you ever read this.  I wish I could show you the heavenly smile my son has when he feels down and hears your music.  I wish I could make you feel the pain in my heart when I see how happy it makes him.  There are very little things in the world at the moment that makes him smile, and “die vinnige liedjie” is one of them.

PS:  Lize has a CD with lullabies out – all proceeds go to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.  Start buying!

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3 Responses

  1. jissie, nou is ek skoon nuuskierig oor haar musiek.

  2. I wish you could see the tears in my eyes when I read ‘Memories’… In primary school I dreamed and firmly believed that one day I will write songs – I hoped that my life will be blessed with the universal language of music. But also I remember praying (and I still do to this day), asking God to please use my music and to let it have meaning. I read what you wrote about little Wouter smiling on his way back from the hospital…and I know for sure all over again, that God listens and He hears us.
    May God bless and keep you..

  3. Jy voel seker ongelooflik dat Lize Beekman vir jou geskryf het. Dit wys net hoe ver reik jou blog na ander uit. Hoop Woutertjie het geen verdere newe-effekte van die chemo nie. Anzé sê groete met drukkies, alhoewel Wouterjie seker nie meer almal by die skooltjie onthou nie maar ek moet tog net laat weet sy praat steeds baie van hom. Hoop dit is ‘n rustige week!

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