…the first singing performance I ever witnessed…

… at this distance in time, I now understand that I was listening to a gloriously-full First Tenor voice… completely unaccompanied by any musical instrument, the notes rose in perfect resonance in the amphitheatre… the melody a familiar song, born of the trials and tribulations of generations of good, honest, hard-working folk… the history of their struggles encapsulated in the vocalist’s rendering… a setting known to thousands of immigrants in the slum cities of Scotland and elsewhere in the UK — the backcourt tenements where we lived in Docklands, Govan in Glasgow, my birthplace…

…the grey, granite buildings carried the echoes of the singer’s efforts upward toward the smoking chimneystacks…  and penetrated into the small, cramped living spaces on each of the three- or four-storey levels in our block… clad not in operatic nor theatrical clothing, but dressed in factory-floor dungarees, under a light raincoat, with a belt tied at the front rather than with a long-since-lost buckle… the sleeves and the shoes were ragged, well past their ‘use-by’ date… the busker, to my child’s eyes could have been a hundred years old, but was in fact only in his late twenties or early thirties… his delivery of ‘Danny Boy’, ‘I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen’, and other favourites was greeted before long with the opening of the tenement windows, and the sporadic tossing down of a penny or two, wrapped in a bit of newspaper to keep the money directed toward the man… strangely, I have the strongest memory of his picking up the offered donations only after he had finished each song, and not while he sang… and forever, I have the enduring sense that he was not begging, although heaven knows, he needed cash for his family to survive like many others in those times,… no, he was not begging… he was offering a service… his solo entertainment a welcome interlude in that humble, communal, post-war existence… he deserved every penny he collected… and I’m still grateful for the fond recollection of his voice… you see, that man was my father… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

6 responses to “…the first singing performance I ever witnessed…

  1. Well, that brought tears to my eyes, Seumas. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: …the first singing performance I ever witnessed… | tony mcmanus

  3. A heartwarming post, Seumas. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a lovely tribute to your dad, Seumas. 🙂 — Suzanne


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