I will tell you the truth. The reason I did not blog yesterday. It was a long day, like every other day. My data connection refused, and so did my brain. I wanted to post one paragraph. A status update. Earlier on, someone had joked about how half his emails are from my blog. I am basically spamming people. Lol. So I decided that from now on, I will blog every other day, until something makes me change to another pattern yet again.
— M. (@Owaahh) March 9, 2016
Anyway, my topic today; earworms. Just in case you might not know what I am talking about, an earworm, according to our beloved Wikipedia, is a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person’s mind after it is no longer playing. I get that all the time. It may be the music from the latest cocacola ad. It could be a song I heard on the radio. It could music I discovered on my disk space. It could be something Kameme FM plays all the time, like that Petanns Driving School song they played all the time last year. “Ukitaka kujiunga na shule nzuri…” You have earworms too. You probably have one you cannot get out of your head today. Think about it.
Yesterday evening, I walked to the washroom before I left the office. As I was looking in the mirror, looking at all my angles, a lady I’ve seen around the building walked in. She was singing. It was a song I know. Walk Down This Mountain. She was very articulate. Nice voice.
So walk down this mountain
With your heart held high
Follow in the footsteps of your maker
And with this love that’s gone before you
And these people at your side
If you offer up your broken cup
You will taste the meaning of this life, hey hey
(Lyrics from MetroLyrics )
She walked into one of the cubicles, still singing. I dried my hands and lingered a bit. I never talk to people in the office building. Ever. Unless they talk first.
“That’s Bebo Norman, right?” I asked when she got out.
“Yeah,” she smiled.
“I just had to mention it. I rarely meet people singing such songs,” I continued.
“Haha! It’s a nice song,” she replied.
“Yeah!” I said, “Have a lovely evening!”
And just like that, her earworm made me start a conversation with a stranger, something I never do. And now, we say hi to each other.
If say, she was singing, say, Jumapili, I would not have talked to her. You know, everyone has heard that song on Matatu FM. So why this song, you ask? First of all, this song was released when I was in class four. Class four. 1999. Before the millennium. Around that time in my life, I started listening to Family FM as it was known then. It had just been founded. It was a very special time in my life when I just made a decision, as tiny as I was, to stop listening to music that made me cringe. And just like that Bebo Norman, who was played every other second, alongside the likes of Third Day and SixPence None The Richer came to be some of my most favourite artists/bands and consequently, earworms. Sing a Song. Kiss Me. Back then, there was nothing like downloading songs or iTunes, leave a lone Googling lyrics. So all I used to do was listen super carefully to sing along to the exact words. We all know how that went. I could only hear half the words. Go ahead and pretend you hear all the words from white people songs. I see you.
As the years, went by, Family FM stopped playing the old songs. It kinda annoyed me. But then the Internet hit Kenya and we could finally listen to anything we wanted, when we wanted, especially with the dawn of affordable laptops and smartphones. You could attend concerts and rap along Lecrae because you had Googled every single lyric down to the last letter. You did have to wait for Njugush and DJ Moz to play Identity on Saturday night’s Kubamba Radio. (Hao watu si wametoka mbali?) You did not have to wait for the day Radio 316 would finally start playing Reach Records. And then slowly, I forgot that radio existed. The only time, I actually listen is when the big radio at home is on, which every morning, of course tuned to Kameme FM. 😀 And now you understand why I fell in love with Kikuyu songs all over again.
Lately I catch a catch a song or two on Family Radio 316 when riding back home on my colleague’s car. And I realized they now play all the old songs they had stopped playing. On February 12th, Bebo Norman’s Stand was playing at 6:20 PM. Never mind my preciseness. We have Google Account History to thank for that. It tells you everything you searched for any time by simply searching your own history. 🙂 I got super excited. And then suddenly, a month down the line, this lady walks into the washroom and she’s singing another classic! Now you know why that one small act just inspired me big time. And now I have the entire album, Ten Thousand Days, that includes Walk Down This Mountain, Stand and another super sweet song that I so loved, Healing Song. It was so beautiful listening to it again today! The songs. So simple. So deep. To cut the long story short, Bebo doesn’t even sing no more. He retired in 2013 but left a string of earworms behind. Clearly.
I will leave you with yet another earworm, newer music that I heard on the same journey home. If you haven’t listened to this song before, behold, the awesomeness that is Hawk Nelson and the feelgood song, Diamonds. It becomes my earworm every so often, like today. Album, Diamonds. Hannah, B, Njeri and co, if you want the albums, you know where to find them!