It has been another interesting day at the Most Neurotic Dandelion Hotel for the Mildly Bewildered in Cochin, Kerala, the place they call God’s Own Country.
In a quiet residential part of Cochin, hidden away behind the more up-market homes and well-tended gardens there is a school, a very special school run by Mother “Braveheart” Magdalene and the Sisters of Relative Avoidance. I had been here once before so I sort of knew what to expect from my audience. I say sort of because what I experienced when I went in was quite amazing.
The hall where I played opens out onto a large patio area and as I walked across the garden towards the hall I could hear singing. They have started without me, I thought, nothing like having your audience warmed up before a gig. As I got closer I realised that not only were they singing, and singing very well, but they were singing the songs that I had taught them only a day or two before. One of the sisters was standing in front of the group and leading them through The Glory of Love, Woody Guthrie’s Car, Car and, unbelievably, Coulter’s Candy. Remember that this was a group of children and adults with serious learning difficulties yet here they were singing songs they had just learned, songs in a foreign language and dialect. As I walked into the hall the singing stopped and they all turned and waved and the hall rang with shouts of “Hello, Bill.” I had often heard it said that music knew no boundaries and here I was experiencing just that.
It may sound sentimental but this was one of those heart-stopping moments that you know you will never experience again, nor ever forget. Thank you Mother “Braveheart” Magdalene and her Sisters of Relative Avoidance for allowing me the rarest of privileges to share my music at your wonderful school.
That has been today in Kerala, where the sun always shines, the welcome is always warm and the people always smiling.
Be well, be kind and never give up.