Tuesday, September 04, 2007

My my, how can I resist you?

I grew up in a house that was almost always filled with music, from my parents’ love for soulful singers like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald and jazz greats like Thelonious Monk and George Shearing to my brothers’ love for modern rock. Then there was the constant practicing of some instrument or another – from one brother’s love for horn instruments to the other’s love for all instruments, but most especially the saxophone. My parents had to eventually soundproof the den from the nonstop notes of my musically inclined brothers, which made it very difficult for my academically inclined head to study.

Not that I didn’t have my own musical strengths. I was a whiz at the piano from my early years, although at a difficult age I feigned indifference and eventually hatred for the ivory-keyed behemoth in our living room. My Achilles heel was that I never wanted to practice – for all the time I was willing to spend on homework and reading books, I just never could give the same commitment to my music. By the time I took my first theory class I knew I didn’t have the patience to be a real musician. And so that was that. Aside from some lessons for enjoyment in college, some meetings with a local a cappella group (singing was rather fun) and a brief stint in the medieval collegium musicum (recorders, harpsichord and guitar, it was a blast), I never performed music again.

But when it came to listening to music, I was sold from the minute I heard my first song. Music was constantly the background to my life, I could never leave home without a way to hear music. I started out heavily influenced by my brothers, who were much older than me, with favorites including Jethro Tull, The Who, Elton John, and David Bowie (who was, incidentally, one of my first crushes). By the time I was eight years old I was determined to find my own musical style, and while listening to the radio one night I found it in Abba’s Take a Chance on Me. I quickly became an Abba fanatic, and even though I didn’t give up listening to my brothers’ fare, I steeled myself against their teasing over my own musical choice and kept buying Abba albums. My best friend also loved Abba, and so we spent hours upon hours listening to them, talking about them, debating our favorite songs, and making their music the soundtrack to our lives.

A couple of years after my purchase of my last Abba album (The Visitors, which had sort of dark undertones) I moved on to a different genre of music, falling in love with the sounds of Bauhaus and the Cure. Even though my musical tastes turned to goth, I never got over my love for Abba.

So it is with great excitement that I discovered that the filming for outdoor scenes of the movie version of the musical Mamma Mia is taking place here in Greece, on the islands of Skiathos and Skopelos. I have been wanting to see the musical ever since it started, but never had an opportunity, and I am looking forward to the movie. Not to mention it is a boon for Greece, movie productions are always nice for boosting local economy. No doubt all of this is thanks to the fact that the movie is being produced by Rita Wilson’s (who is half-Greek) production company. My husband’s cousin had actually been chosen to be an extra in the movie, but alas, she couldn’t get the day off work. If you want to hear the latest news about the filming, this blog by some Skopelos locals is keeping us all up to date.

5 comments:

Rositta said...

I'm sitting here in my temporary digs in Athens listening to Abba on the laptop. I've always loved their music, especially the mama mia soundtrack...ciao

Scruffy said...

I saw Mama Mia in Los Angeles awhile ago. I look forward to the movie. I saw Tom and Rita on TV tonight talking about the fires, and how Tom considered himself Greek by proxy....

chase said...

Congratulations for sticking with Abba. I mistakenly rejected them when I was young(ish) thinking them too accessible and popular, therefore of little merit. I feel silly about that now because they are pretty sophisticated and have really stood the test of time. Mamma Mia is another matter. As a musical it is just a vehicle for the songs. The plot is simplistic and moralistic (in a sixties sort of way)and bears little relation to the lyrics. Nor to Greece for that matter. So prepare to be disappointed. Or not if you go with a group of like-minded fans and just sway and sing along!

onward and upward! said...

First of all, I am so sorry about the fires. That effin sucks.

Second, I am incredibly jealous they chose your location to film Mamma Mia. Damnit! Couldn't they have chosen Nashville? Wouldn't a country western version be so cool?

Joanne said...

I saw the musical "Mama Mia" a few years ago in Toronto. I was never an ABBA fan although I can easily find myself humming along to a song or two when the mood hits. The musical was quite good and the ABBA songs fit well with the the musical. Very well indeed.

Speaking of Tom Hanks and wife...who are big fans of Nia Vardalos of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" fame...Apparently there is a new movie in the works starting none other than Nia called "My Life in Ruins" which will be filmed in Greece...Nia stars as a Greek tour guide and Tom and Rita will be producing the film. Sounds like a fun film and a perfect way to increase tourism in Greece...

By the way, I am back in Toronto after a short but very enjoyable 2-week vacation in Greece...Milos is gorgeous, Santorini is a tourist trap and a big disappointment, Trikala is like I remember it - lush and mountainous! and Athens is...exhausting and jam packed with things to see and do.

It's good to be home in my comfy bed :D