So close your eyes for that’s a lovely way to be
Aware of things your heart alone was meant to see ~Antonio Carlos Jobim
Last Saturday, amidst a dozen other things claiming our attention, we attended the wake of a good friend and fellow musician. I must admit that I wasn’t looking forward to it, as he died the night before his 53rd birthday, much too young. But what I had feared as a sad evening mourning his death was instead a joyful celebration of his life, overflowing with laughter and stories. His girlfriend Marsha had filled a table with photos of Jimmy, many of them including my husband Bill, as they often performed together, two musicians in love with the guitar. Bill had put together a slide show of photos and videos of Jimmy teaching and performing – it was a joy to hear his voice and his guitar. The place was filled with musicians (many of them on their way to a gig) as well as various artists, radio personalities, friends, and family. I came home thoughtful and smiling.A few nights later, I had a powerful dream. I was asked to sing a bossa nova song for a stage show, one that I recognized but had never sung, and I was being coached by three Brazilians, two women and a man. The women showed me how to move and dance to the music as I was singing – they considered this an essential element to performing the song properly. As I struggled to get everything just right, I saw a procession move forward from the back of the stage, solemnly moving as if in a slow dance step. Instead of two by two, it was a block of Brazilian men and women dressed in simple black clothes, nine across, nine deep. In the center of the procession was Jimmy, tall and blond, with a serious expression on his face broken by a small smile. As they proceeded to the front of the stage, I realized that I had been coached to sing this song as a farewell to my friend, as a tribute to him for using his musical gifts well. This was his ceremony to pass from one world to another, with an honor guard all around him. I awoke with the melody of the song ringing in my head; I realized that it was Wave by Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Have you ever had a dream that was not about you, not about processing your own psyche, but something bigger, higher, truer than your personal issues, more real than waking life? This was that kind of dream. And I can’t get the melody of Wave out of my head, I’ve been singing and humming it for days now. My friend Kenia, Brazilian vocalist extraordinaire, has offered to coach me on this song, making part of this dream come true.
Here is a concert rendition of Wave beautifully sung in Portuguese by Gal Costa. (Please be patient with the short “ads” – it means that YouTube has monetized the video and the copyright holder gets paid for each view.)
Here is a recording of Jimmy playing another bossa nova, My Little Boat.
Jimmy, may you dance and strum your way into the next life with a smile on your face and escorted by music. Peace.