Category Archives: Music

The Hidden Meaning of “Fragile” Music

My friend’s four and a half-year-old daughter always wants to look at things in my room. She’s not allowed to come in without my permission, so the off-limits zone is mostly likely, enticing.

The other day she was given permission and gleefully wandered around before stopping by my internet radio and listening. “Hey, what’s the fragile music you’re playing?” I was listening to classical music, the only thing I ever listen to on my internet radio. “What do you mean?” I asked her. “Why is it fragile?”

“There aren’t any voices, it’s just music playing, so it’s fragile.” Well, I didn’t ask for her definition of fragile. But I couldn’t get this new term for classical music out of my mind. Coincidentally, I went to the symphony that very evening and ended up OD’ing on a dose of profound fragility.

I listened in awe to the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and its conductor Antoni Wit complete its American tour with the Russian virtuoso Yulianna Avdeeva, who performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto Op. 73 on a Steinway grand. According to Avdeeva, the Steinway was “tuned to 442.”

I kept thinking how fragile Beethoven’s Emperor is, how fragile Avdeeva is (she rarely pedaled on the Allegro — only immortals can carry that off!), and how fragile a 442 tuning is. In fact as the remarkable night wore on, I realized the pantheon of classical music greats and classical music in general, is fragile. It’s all very fragi-cal music.

Photo: Angela Frucci

“Yodelayee Rev. Sun Myung Moon, whattup?”

MOONIES
“I wonder what it’s like to be a moonie
I wonder what it’s like
Yodelayee, yodelayee, yodelayeeooh
I wonder what it’s like to be a moonie
I wonder what it’s like
I wonder what it’s like

Selling their souls to the moon and the stars
Giving him houses and keys to their cars
Signing over trust funds and bank accounts
Sending him checks of huge amounts”
(Moonie lyrics © 1984 Têtes Noires/Rapunzel Records)

In the 80’s I was in the band Têtes Noires and we had this really cool song called “Moonies” which was all about Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s and his followers, the ‘moonies.’ I’ve actually been working on a a remix of the song and the album it came from (American Dream). I’ll be releasing it soon.

Since Rev. Moon passed away last Monday, September 03, I thought it was the perfect time to ask the song’s lyricist, Jennifer Holt, what she remembers about the birth of the song. Here’s what she said:

It was the mid-80’s and Rev. Sun Yung Moon was everywhere in the media it seemed. In Minneapolis, suddenly people appeared on busy street corners selling flowers. Curious, I asked where the money went, to one of the vendors. He mumbled something unintelligible under his breath. More curious, i started asking around and found out they were all acolytes of Rev. Moon, or ‘moonies.’ Then there was the mass marriage on television, in which thousands of his followers came together and were randomly married by him. Now that’s one powerful cult. As any good cult leader does, he was also famous for being ‘given’ massive bank accounts and inheritances by his followers, who would then do whatever he asked them to do to provide for the ‘family,’ including selling flowers on street corners. Now that’s some kind of charisma. Why is it people join cults? Are we so disenfranchised that even this is preferable to the bone-chilling aloneness that many of us suffer from, as we make our way from dysfunctional families where we did not learn how to connect or attach appropriately, into a cold, uncaring world? Enter Rev. Moon, a hand outstretched for one’s heart, brain, and of course wallet, in exchange for community.

What was it like to be a moonie? I really wanted to know. Thus a song was born. Yo de lay hee yo de lay hee yo de lay hee hoo!

Lyrics for “Moonie” by Jennifer Holt
Recorded by Têtes Noires, 1984, from their album “American Dream”