Let Me Lie by Haley Westenra from the CD Celtic Treasure
How can you not stop and hold your breath when you hear a voice like this? Whether you like the style or not, you can’t deny the quality of her voice is nothing short of spectacular. My entire life I’ve been surrounded by amazingly gifted musicians and artists. It’s always been my greatest wish that I had a good singing voice or musical talent. Alas, I do not. While I have great vocal range and the ability to carry a tune clearly, my singing voice is just average.
My mother was a music major. Her specialty was cello, but I knew her as a pianist. Never once in my life did I hear my mother play a stringed instrument. Sometimes I wonder about that today, why she never kept or played a cello. Certainly, she must have owned one at one time. Perhaps she rented her instrument? I don’t know, but sometimes I close my eyes and picture her playing; head bent, focused on the sound her fingers made as they pressed against the strings. She was a beautiful young woman with a clear strong voice that could sing alto or soprano. Unlike me, she could harmonize. She could also tell when someone was singing off-key or playing the wrong tempo and was never afraid to say so.
My father’s parents were both musicians and although I never heard my dad play an instrument, he grew up with a deep appreciation for all kinds of music. He also had a strong singing voice. Needless to say, everyone in my family sang and played an instrument, in some cases even multiple instruments. My siblings and I were fortunate to have been coached and coaxed into participating in musical programs and instruction from elementary school through high school graduation. We sang and played instruments at a competitive classical level and my brother, probably the most musically gifted of us all, was also a lead vocalist in an amateur rock band. But during all that time we sang as a family in true barbershop style quartet with harmony. Much of what we sang were old Irish folk songs and ballads like the songs Haley sings. And while I couldn’t sing harmony and my voice was nothing special, I was able to carry tune and sing a mean melody.
Music is such a strong tonic that the simple notes of a song can transport us through time and evoke memories and feelings long since forgotten. A a talent like this should not to be wasted or squandered on foolish pursuits; for those who lack this talent depend on those to whom it has been given.