Ever since my girls were born they’ve listened to music in either our home or our car. Generally, I have stuck with an eclectic mix. The CDs in our car range from The Killers, to Kate Bush, the Frozen soundtrack, and The Doors. My girls know the lyrics to music from The Stranglers, Lana Del Rey, Chuck Berry, and U2. They sing Wuthering Heights (we all do, thank whichever higher power you do or don’t believe in that you’re not in there with us), in their best spooky voices, and they warble along to Emeli Sande, who happens to be one of my youngest’s favourites.
I love that they have such a range of musical tastes, because music is such a powerful thing. If I play particular tracks, they calm down and become quite contemplative, and if I play Bonfire Heart, they’re suddenly full of beans again.
We associate music with special events in our lives and particular times. My girls know that The Blower’s Daughter by Damien Rice is our wedding song, and they also know that autumn is coming if Golden Brown is played. This is the song that reminds me of when I gave birth to Amelie, and the girls love these little factoids.
My father was a musician and I have all of his old LPs from the 1960s and 70s. Amongst them is War of the Worlds, which he loved, and so I’ve introduced the kids to this recently. They also enjoy listening to my dad’s own music, because I’m lucky enough to have quite a collection of his songs.
Last year, I wrote a column about my father when it was the 25th anniversary of his death, and local DJ, Pete Crew, happened to read it. He had been a friend of my dad’s and they had recorded together, but it wasn’t until he saw my column that he realized my father had passed away. Pete sent me a CD of tracks and demos that I had never heard before – one of which has a toddler-me chattering in the background. To be able to hear my father, after all those years, talking and singing songs I’d never heard, was incredibly emotional. And such a fantastic gift for Pete to pass on to me.
I’m hoping that my girls will grow up to also hold strong associations with music, so that they too can feel that familiar and comforting wave of nostalgia that sometimes floods us with memory, in a way like little else ever manages.
First published in The Portsmouth News, Tuesday 10th November 2015