Colombia, Music, My life

One Voice, One Woman

Alicia just called to say her sister Angela has a sore throat and wants me to do a lot of singing tonight at the restaurant so she won’t have to do as much.

“Why don’t you sing? You’re the professional,” I said.

“I want to stay home and hang Christmas lights,” she said.

My wife is weird. She’s also the most wonderful woman I’ve ever known. And she’s nuts about Christmas.

So it looks like I’ll be singing everything Angela and I have ever practiced, a hodgepodge from Jairo, Sting, Francis Cabrel, Bread, Simon & Garfunkel, Carlos Vives, Piero, Roberto Carlos, Joan Manuel Serrat. I wish we had time to work up Neil Diamond’s Solitary Man and Mary Black’s No Frontiers, but they’ll have to wait.

I sang a couple of songs last week. My current favorite is Sting’s Until. I was weak on the first verse (I had been eating patacones) but the second verse sounded really good, thanks in part to the better sound system Angela acquired. It’s much easier to sing well when you can hear yourself.

At some point I want to write a blogpost on recycled love songs. But I don’t know if it’s a good idea.

As I said, Alicia is nuts about Christmas. I’ve had to bite my tongue when she shows me some of the decor she wants to get. Clear glass Christmas trees and manger scenes illuminated with lights that change color do nothing for me. But if I wait until we can find decor that we agree on, it’ll be years before the house is anywhere close to decorated, because 98% of what is out there is either tacky or beyond our budget.

So I suppress my inner Grinch and say, “Fine.” Unless it’s something I really can’t stand.

I’ve made three business trips to Panama City, FL, in the past three weeks. When I was coming back Wednesday afternoon, my boarding pass said I would be leaving from Gate 3. The monitor overhead said it was Gate 4. The actual gate turned out to be 5.

The Delta self-service machine said my flight was overbooked, and asked if I wanted to give up my seat in exchange for a voucher worth (check one) $50, $75, $100, $125, or fill in an amount. I said I would do it for $400. (Can you believe it costs $475 to fly Delta from Panama City to Tampa? It’s only 400 miles. But you have to stop over in Atlanta or Nashville.)

They didn’t call on me to give up my seat. Cheapskates.

Alicia leaves Monday for Colombia. She has a concert Thanksgiving Day and another December 6. I’ll be flying down just before Thanksgiving and will be there just a week and a half. Fortunately all this travel to Panama City has given me a little comp time.

The Thanksgiving Day concert is called something like “Una voz, una mujer” (“One voice, one woman”) and is in honor of Alicia herself, who just retired from the Universidad de Antioquia. They will be launching her latest album (same name), which she recorded just before our wedding last year. (I hope they have it ready in time. They were throwing together the cover design and notes just a couple of weeks ago.)

Her sister Angela and niece Sara Elisa are going along, and will also sing in the concert.

Alicia’s album was put together with songs for which the university symphonic band already had arrangements, because the budget was tight. Alicia is a mezzo-soprano, but some of the songs are arranged for soprano, and one or two for tenor. She did an amazing job (recorded all the vocals in just eight hours), but there’s no way she would perform something out of her range in a concert. So her sister and niece (both sopranos) and a male vocalist will do some of the singing.

Well, my workday is over, and I have to pick up Alicia at the mall on the way home. I hope you all have a great weekend.


11 thoughts on “One Voice, One Woman

    • Alicia has been setting out Christmas decorations for weeks already. She’d be happy to have lights up in September.

      I sang, not everything I wanted but everything Angelita was comfortable with, and we improvised a song we hadn’t done. It went very well. My wife said so and I believe her.

  1. g. says:

    I’m glad to hear (in the above comment) the performance went well. I’m always envious of people who can–and do–sing in public. I know how happy it makes me to hear music I enjoy and it must feel great to give that to people.
    But Christmas in November does seem early! (When I was a kid, we weren’t allowed to see the tree lit up until Christmas eve, and even now, nary a decoration goes up before December 15th.) I will, however, be putting up my annual super-boozy fruitcakes this week, so cheers to that!

  2. ordinarybutloud says:

    wise response in re: the Christmas decorating. “Fine” is good. A disinterested, “okay,” is even better. Of course, “You’re so good at this!” is perfect, but a girl can’t have everything.

  3. The box says ‘3 comments. how can you trust a site what cain’t count up to six?
    And on-topic. I’m envious. Pretty sure both you and the audience enjoyed it. (Except when the joker in the back requested ‘Sing Guano-tano-mero!’)

    • My sisters sing whenever they get together, and my mom played piano and cello. I took piano and cello lessons but dropped piano after a couple of years and only had one year of cello, so it’s nice to be doing something with music at this stage of my life.

      Alicia and her sister Esperanza used to sing together when they were teens. Alicia sang harmony, but she’s the one who became a professional singer. Their sister Angelita also sang professionally starting very young; she and Alicia used to go to the studio and record choruses for some famous Colombian groups like Binomio de Oro. Angelita had a group that performed Brazilian music for a couple of years before she got married.

      And Diego, Angelita’s husband, was Colombia’s premier cellist when he lived there. His parents met at the Von Trapp Family lodge in Vermont, while his dad was singing in their choir. So their girls come by their musical talent from both sides of the family.

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