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Song of Myself

I regularly learn new songs to sing. If I hear a song I really like, I'll find it and download it. Then I search out the lyrics online and spend a few weeks practicing the song around the house, in the shower and while in the car. Everyone should have at least one song they like to sing even it's just to themselves. Juannie and the pups get to hear my ongoing practicing. And I have sung in recent years at family weddings and parties.

I heard Charlotte Church's version of Habanera, from the opera Carmen, for the first time a few weeks ago. It blew me away. I've listened to a few of her songs in the past but had not heard her rendition of this song. It's magnificent. I sang this in high school while taking voice lessons and performed it at a recital. It was by far my favorite song I studied while taking voice.

I'd been with my teacher for almost two years when she suggested Habanera for the spring recital. I was a sophomore and we'd worked on lots of classical songs together during our weekly lessons but this one really changed me. It gave me enormous confidence as a singer and in the rest of my life.

It is a song very obviously dealing with adult sensibilities and feminine allure. There is no way to breeze through this song. It demands full attention and real passion. Every part of me had to be engaged when I sang it. The first time I finally got all the way through it, hitting every note while singing the French pronunciations correctly and getting my teacher's approval on my rhythms and phrasing, I felt like I could conquer the world.

I remember the day I performed it at the recital and how completely in control I felt of myself, my voice and my audience. It was a powerful and important moment for me. It taught me the true meaning of commitment as a performer and as a person.

I downloaded Charlotte Church's version not long after I originally heard it. And each time I listen to the song, it takes me back to all those lessons where I practiced it and to the day of that performance. It makes me want to return to voice lessons because I'll need lots of practice and coaching if I plan on hitting some of those high notes again. The pups and Juannie may be hearing lots of this one.

L’amour est un oiseau rebelle
Que nul ne peut apprivoiser,
Et c’est bien en vain qu’on l’appelle,
S’il lui convient de refuser.
Rien n’y fait, menace ou prière,
L’un parle bien, l’autre se tait;
Et c’est l’autre que je préfère
Il n’a rien dit; mais il me plait.
L’amour! l’amour! l’amour! l’amour!

L’amour est enfant de boheme,
Il n’a jamais, jamais connu de loi,
Si tu ne m’aime pas, je t’aime,
Si je t’aime, prend garde à toi!
Si tu ne m’aime pas,
Si tu ne m’aime pas, je t’aime!
Mais, si je t’aime,
Si je t’aime, prend garde à toi!
Si tu ne m’aime pas,
Si tu ne m’aime pas, je t’aime!
Mais, si je t’aime,
Si je t’aime, prend garde à toi!

L’oiseau que tu croyais surprendre
Battit de l’aile et s’envola;
L’amour est loin, tu peux l’attendre;
Tu ne l’attend plus, il est là!
Tout au tour de toi vite, vite,
Il vient, s’en va, puis il revient!
Tu crois le tenir, il t’évite;
Tu crois l’éviter, il te tient!
L’amour, l’amour, l’amour, l’amour!

L’amour est enfant de boheme,
Il n’a jamais, jamais connu de loi,
Si tu ne m’aime pas, je t’aime,
Si je t’aime, prend garde à toi!
Si tu ne m’aime pas, je t’aime,
Si je t’aime, prend garde à toi!
Si tu ne m’aime pas,
Si tu ne m’aime pas, je t’aime!
Mais, si je t’aime,
Si je t’aime, prend garde à toi!
Si tu ne m’aime pas,
Si tu ne m’aime pas, je t’aime!
Mais, si je t’aime,
Si je t’aime, prend garde à toi!

Translation:
Love is a rebellious bird
That nothing can tame,
And it is simply in vain to call it
If it is convient for it to refuse.
Nothing will work, threat or pleading,
One speaks, the other stays quiet;
And it’s the other that I prefer
He said nothing; but he pleases me.
Love! love! love! love!

Love is the child of the bohemian,
It has never, never known any law,
If you don’t love me, I love you,
If I love you, keep guard of yourself!
If you don’t love me,
If you don’t love me, I love you!
But, if I love you,
If I love you, keep guard of yourself!
If you don’t love me,
If you don’t love me, I love you!
But, if I love you,
If I love you, keep guard of yourself!

The bird you thought to surprise
Bat it’s wing and flew away;
Love is far away, you can wait for it;
If you wait for it no more, it is there!
All around you, quickly, quickly,
It comes, goes, then it comes back!
You think to hold it, it avoids you;
You think to avoid it, it holds you!
Love, love, love, love!

Love is the child of the bohemian,
It has never, never known any law,
If you don’t love me, I love you,
If I love you, keep guard of yourself!
If you don’t love me, I love you,
If I love you, keep guard of yourself!
If you don’t love me,
If you don’t love me, I love you!
But, if I love you,
If I love you, keep guard of yourself!
If you don’t love me,
If you don’t love me, I love you!
But, if I love you,
If I love you, keep guard of yourself!

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
daysinger
Jul. 31st, 2006 04:07 am (UTC)
You're inspiring me..........
this is so awesome. I haven't sung a "serious" song with conviction in front of a crowd for a very long time. My big song was a showtune (Memory from Cats) that would create goose-bumps when I was practiced up and "on". I miss it. Thanks for this post.
weather_fan
Jul. 31st, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
Carmen is my favorite opera. :^)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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