Monday, June 7, 2010

A broken hallelujah

Last night I went down to Frenchmen Street to hear John Boutte. After 2 years of Jazz Fest performances I've wanted to hear him in a smaller venue, and am thrilled I got to do it before I leave. I sat on the wooden floor and watched and listened. The thing about John Boutte that gets me - it got me from the back of a huge tent at Jazz Fest and it got me from 5 feet away in a tiny bar - is how every song he sings is personal. You can see the connection he makes to every single song... each heartbreak and each triumph, each question and each proclamation. It's written all over his face, right through his body, and out through the tambourine he holds in his right hand.

At this year's Jazz Fest he sang Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. I sat in the tent with tears streaming down my face. I knew that it very well could be my last Jazz Fest, or at least my last Fest as a Louisiana resident.

Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

I seem to be drawn lately to an exploration of finding the joy even in the sorrow. Of celebrating the good among the bad, hard things. I don't know that I'm doing it well, but I'm trying. Because I want to experience this joy; here and now. But I also need to honor the fact that I am mourning. These things are not mutually exclusive.

I have to put on a fairly happy face about this upcoming move. And there are good things about it, there are. But most of my time, outside of this blog, is spent behind the mask composed of mostly the good things. so here... here I am doing some mourning. Thank you for bearing with me.

It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

He sang Hallelujah again last night. It was even more beautiful. Later I bought two more of his CDs, which I had signed. And then we went out onto the street. Where a band was playing and people were dancing. Somewhere in the festivities I managed to lose my car key. My husband had to come and rescue us.

Still, it was a wonderful evening. New Orleans magic.

And I keep singing...

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah


alejna said...

I'm glad that there are things to be happy about with your move as well as sad. I'm also glad that you have this place to share your sadness about the move. That's important.

It does sound like you had a wonderful New Orleans evening. I love the way music is such a big part of New Orleans culture and daily life.

imbeingheldhostage said...

You know, even though I don't know the why's of the move, my heart has been breaking for you. Reading this blog (the last two+) years, I know how much you dearly love New Orleans. I am wishing you true joy in your new adventure, not just the happy face you are bravely wearing. ((hugs))

kaye said...

*sigh* my heart goes out to you. I would hate to move. Everything and Everyone I love is here.

Magpie said...

I love that song. Isn't Boutte the one who sings the Treme theme song?

Kat said...

It is heartbreaking. Letting go of something you love so much. And then of course having to put on the happy face and being brave for others. It is hard.
Come hear and we will listen and empathize with your sorrow.

Aunt Becky said...

That song saved my life last year.