A Harmonious Journey of Rhythms, Dance, and Passion!
Ah, the beautiful world of music! As a child, I was immersed in a melting pot of sounds, thanks to my musical parents who first met while folk dancing. While other kids were grooving to happy hardcore, my young mind was filled with Tchaikovsky's symphonies, Bach's harmonies, and captivating Klezmer rhythms.
My father let his soul dance to the tunes of classical masterpieces, while my mother fell in love with The Beatles. But they were not content with just one genre. Reggae filled the air with Bob Marley's unmistakable voice, and Balkan music brought vibrant dance steps to our living room. It often felt like we were traveling the world through the sounds of Bulgarian, Slovenian, Bosnian, and Klezmer rhythms and melodies.
As a child, I was a musical sponge, ready to absorb everything around me. I especially loved music that could be danced to. Many styles of traditional folk music fascinated me. The sense of camaraderie created by a shared passion for music within a culture has always felt magical to me, although as a child, I couldn't quite put it into words. It was later that I came to that realization.
I experienced that same extraordinary feeling later with Rueda in salsa, a connecting and passionate way of salsa dancing. (You dance in a circle, following a leader who calls out different combinations that can be danced, creating beautiful patterns through varied steps and dance partners. Colorful dresses are a must – it almost couldn't make me happier! Well, maybe with a massive dance flash mob).
Speaking of beautiful music: Irish! Its often dreamy and playful nature perfectly reflected who I was and how I approached life. At 15, I enjoyed performing traditional Irish dance, wearing exquisite and refined costumes, as well as classical ballet, jazz, and modern dance.
One of the highlights of that time was when my mother joined a Mexican demonstration group. Dressed in a vibrant yellow dress, she gracefully twirled to infectious traditional Mexican melodies, and I watched in admiration. I thought it was incredibly cool!
As I grew up, I developed a love for diverse genres, from the irresistible pop songs of Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson to the cheesy hits of The Spice Girls (I wanted to be Melanie B). One of my very first singles was "Thong Song" by Sisqo. Yes, I absolutely adored those smooth '90s R&B vibes! But I also appreciated Alanis Morissette and Anouk.
Yet, my heart longed for more, for the magic of African and Latin American rhythms. While salsa wasn't often heard at home, I became enchanted with salsa music after attending Días Latinos in 1999 in Amersfoort. How could I resist? The fantastic rhythms, the booming trumpets, and the joyous choirs! I danced salsa for years, and I still immensely enjoy it. This insatiable hunger for Latin American music has never faded away.
Perhaps my preference for authentic, original music stems from my childhood filled with folk music. You can simply hear and feel the essence in that music – the instruments, the vocals, the stories. It's pure and unadulterated, and you can taste the roots of the land in every note. It touches the core of music, the reason why it exists.
And thus, I found myself in the enchanting world of Brazilian Bossa Nova. I listened to the oldest songs and became increasingly entangled in the way they were created. Jobim's compositions were each a gem, infused with melancholy and stories that touched the soul. The playful melodies and sometimes almost childlike singing piqued my curiosity. They seemed simple, but oh, how complex they became once I started singing the songs myself! Yet, as with certain forms of jazz, there is a beauty in that complexity – a tension that I enjoy seeking and exploring.
And then, there's the language! Brazilian Portuguese was a challenge, but one that I eagerly embraced. It's like a mix of Spanish and French, with its own unique twist. Beautiful! I delved into learning the language wholeheartedly because if there's one thing that has always fascinated me, it's discovering and mastering another language.
So here I am now, a music enthusiast with a heart filled with rhythms and a soul brimming with dance. My love for music has taken me on a journey through different genres, from classical to salsa, from R&B to Bossa Nova. It has broadened my horizons, and the best part is that there will always be room for further expansion. With music, you're never done listening or learning. Never a dull moment. Keep it coming! The sky is the limit! "Music was my first love... and it will be my last." Thank you for the music! (Even with these kinds of statements about music, you're never finished! Somebody stop me!)