Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Falling Slowly (Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova)

I received the DVD of the movie Once as a Christmas gift from a dear friend, who knew I had tried to see it in the theatres when it came out but never could manage the time - the recommendations came to me from too many directions to ignore...

My daughter and I watched it together a week or so ago (my second viewing, her first) and there is a scene in which the male character begins playing his song and encourages the female character to chime in on piano and vocal accompaniments - Sarah looked at me and said, "yeah, sure... what are the chances of that happening?".

I dreamily gazed back at her and proudly said, "in my world, that happens all the time"... and I experienced a rush of memories of songswaps and house concerts and campfires in which I was privy to people who had never before met sharing songs and intuitively adding instrumentation and voices, with angelic results - I cannot verbalize enough how truly blessed I am to run in circles of magic and harmony (pun absolutely intended... :-)

[Added 2/25/08 - Wasn't it great to see Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová win Academy Awards last night for "Falling Slowly" from the small indie film Once... and how cool was it that John Stewart called Marketa back to give her speech when she didn't have a chance initially?!? - what an inspiring moment for independent musicians and artists everywhere who are playing their own kind of music. A YouTube video of their Oscar performance and acceptance speeches here and here:

Glen Hansard: "Thanks! This is amazing. What are we doing here? This is mad. We made this film two years ago. We shot on two Handycams. It took us three weeks to make. We made it for a hundred grand. We never thought we would come into a room like this and be in front of you people. It's been an amazing thing. Thanks for taking this film seriously, all of you. It means a lot to us. Thanks to the Academy, thanks to all the people who've helped us, they know who they are, we don't need to say them. This is amazing. Make art. Make art. Thanks."

Marketa Irglova: "Hi everyone. I just want to thank you so much. This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling, and this, the fact that we're standing here tonight, the fact that we're able to hold this, it's just to prove no matter how far out your dreams are, it's possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don't give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are. And so thank you so much, who helped us along way. Thank you." ]

SONG: Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova (from the soundtrack of Once)

BOOK: This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin

POEM: Promise of Blue Horses by Joy Harjo

A blue horse turns into a streak of lightning,
then the sun --
relating the difference between sadness
and the need to praise
that which makes us joyful, I can't calculate
how the earth tips hungrily
toward the sun - then soaks up rain -- or the density
of this unbearable need
to be next to you. It's a palpable thing -- this earth
and familiar in the dark
like your skin under my hand. We are a small earth. It's no
simple thing. Eventually
we will be dust together; can be used to make a house, to stop
a flood or grow food
for those who will never remember who we were, or know
that we loved fiercely.

Laughter and sadness eventually become the same song turning us

toward the nearest star --
a star constructed of eternity and elements of dust barely visible
in the twilight as you travel
east. I run with the blue horses of electricity who surround
the heart
and imagine a promise made when no promise was possible.

QUOTE: "Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder." ~ E.B. White


  1. Susan, you win again. Harjo is one of my favorite poets ever.

  2. Hey, Amy ~

    We *all* win when there's a good poet in our midst - I'm not that familiar with Ms. Harjo but will make a point to become moreso because she's special to you...

    I'd say my faves are William Stafford, Ellen Bass, Marge Piercy, Sharon Olds and David Whyte - so many wordsmiths, so little time... :-)

  3. "Perhaps the World Ends Here" is the best, best, best Harjo poem. I like Stafford, too. (=

    And I would be totally honored if you linked me.

    I'm glad we crossed paths also. I have a picture of you and Sharon from FRFF up in my apartment, and it makes me smile every time. (=