Two Gifts of Beauty

I've been unable to look at the news lately.

Or, more accurately, I've had to limit my consumption, balancing it with something nourishing and uplifting. So I've been listening to a lot of choral music. It's not everyone's comfort food, I realise, but it's always been mine, and it's been a welcome reminder of the beauty that human beings are capable of creating and sharing. I'll post links to two gorgeous pieces below.

In just over a month, I leave for the Galle Literary Festival, so I've been savouring Sri Lankan literature in preparation. I've always loved Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje, but reading it now for the third (or fourth?) time makes me appreciate and adore it all the more. The tales of his father's last train ride (which involved a sort of drunken hijacking combined with recitations of limericks and the periodic discarding of clothing) had me spitting laughter this morning. And it's just one of dozens of extraordinary moments, exquisitely crafted by a poet with a love for the zany.

According to Wikipedia, Running in the Family is a "fictionalized memoir, written in post-modern style involving aspects of magic realism" but I prefer Ondaatje's own explanation: "I must confess that the book is not a history but a portrait or 'gesture'... In Sri Lanka a well-told lie is worth a thousand facts."

Whatever it is, I highly recommend it, as I do ALL of Shyam Selvadurai's fabulous novels: Hungry Ghosts, Cinnamon Gardens, Funny Boy. (Incidentally, Shyam is the curator of the Galle Festival.)

Okay, now for the choral music.

The first does double duty, paying tribute to a great poet/songsmith and celebrating the world at its most beautiful. You've heard this song a zillion times (especially in the last few weeks), but not by a NY children's choir in the wake of everything that's just happened. [Note: it starts out so cheesy you might want to run out of the room screaming, but hang in there.]

The second is O Nata Lux by the contemporary American composer Morten Lauridsen sung by the Los Angeles Master Chorale. It's the kind of music to play when your day is over and you can lean back, close your eyes, and just swim in the sound.

May these bring you as much nourishment and peace as they have me.

with heart ~