Sunday 12 February 2012

Whitney Houston

Their enduring music
I would not consider myself a critic of any sort when it comes to artistes and their musicality but amazing superlatives cannot be exhausted on a number of singers and performers who have walked in the sands of our times and have so suddenly become part of the edifice of history.
Beyond classical music, my tastes are not overly eclectic; I have listened to many but bought only a few like Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. They, in my view had such a quality of ability and talent that just touched the soul when they gave voice to anything.
I got to see Michael Jackson in 1992 at Wembley Station when he was at the height of his performing genius, it is a memory that 20 years on is still as fresh as if I have just left the concert.
I was in Berlin the night news came in that Michael Jackson had died and we now know that for all the wealth and talent he had one thing he was unable to get enough or any of was sleep. He purchased every means to get sleep and the negligence of his supposedly trusted physician administering drugs in the absolutely wrong environment and with the necessary expertise lead to his death.
And now Whitney
Whitney Houston had a voice that just was angelic, nothing sounded like it before and for all the similarities and imitations I have heard, this was one person whose fraction of expression in terms of her possibilities and ability left many in her wake.
What I loved about her singing was the control she exercised over her voice with that usually quavering lower jaw, she was closest to humanly divine.
I am saddened that even if her death were not directly related to the troubles we have been regaled with in the media, the reason for substance abuse is probably a desperate quest for happiness.
Rarely for sale
Like Michael Jackson before her, she probably expended her wealth and resources in the search for that elusive goal of happiness, a commodity that is rarely on sale regardless how one can attempt to create the environment to foster it.
The many things we attempt to purchase to fulfill our lives like sleep, happiness, love or health are never on the shelves, they are to be found in our hearts, in our souls with the peace and contentment that allows us to enjoy those things.
The shortcuts to getting these things are almost always fatal, if not suddenly there is chronic sense to it, you can only wonder if when she sang the greatest love of all she was trying hard to affirm an absence within herself.
Where do broken lives go?
In the quest for these essential elements of a good life you find yourself asking in a paraphrase of one of her other hit songs. Where do broken lives go? Do they find the rest, the joy and the love they have always sought, within themselves, with others or in things that cause them great harm.
In the end, they like us have the same desires and troubles, where some of us might have resigned ourselves to our fates or adjusted to the circumstances we were in, they probably thought with the means at their disposal they had a greater chance – a chance that for some became a chance too far.
However, one must not take away from the fact that this was a woman of exceptional talent whose expression and achievement will hug the record books for long but more importantly, I have been blessed to appreciate what she had to offer in music, singing and life.
I end with the tweet I posted when I learnt of Whitney Houston’s passing.
Whitney Houston - I hope your broken heart has found its way home. Rest in peace. Angelic voice.
May God rest your once troubled soul.

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