I grew up listening to music that I thought would always be with me. Growing older, new artists emerged and took the place of those I came to know so well. It was, I think, inevitable though difficult to accept that the stars I grew up with first could so easily be replaced. But it was still acceptable because somewhere I knew they were still there and they could still surprise us with a come back every now and than.
Three days ago the world received news of the passing of Donna Summer. She is only the last in what seems to become an ever-growing list of famous voices that will never come back to us. Maurice and Robin Gibb (20 May 2012), two of the three Gibb brothers that formed the famous BeeGees, June Pointer, one of the lead vocalist of The Pointer Sisters, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston… they are all gone. Somehow, insignificant it might be in the larger scheme of world history, it are those deaths that make you realize nothing stays with us forever. But oh, what they did leave behind. A gift we should treasure for always.
I am living in a city that displays its rich history on pretty much every street corner. Paris is an ongoing parade of monuments and historical places. It is a beautiful legacy of our place in history, but also an ever-present reminder of our own mortality. So many have been here before us, living in a city they came to love and they thought would never change. If only they could see it now. Would they be proud, or would they mourn the loss of what they knew and came to love as their home? And what about us? What about our small place in the long history of the world? Can we imagine what it will be like a hundred or two hundred years from now? And more importantly, what will we be leaving behind to be remembered by? Those musicians, the artists that are no more but that gave us so much joy growing up. They left their voice and their music. Things we can still listen to and whenever we do it makes us feel good. We do not all have the talent to make music, but we do all have the responsibility to make an impression in the world we live in and leave behind something that our descendants can benefit from, can learn from and can enjoy. So that if there is a way we can look back after we are gone, we can smile upon what we have done and be proud of what we left behind. –BM-
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