Editor’s Note: November 2020

By Amir Bagheri

Childhood Melodies

For my sixth birthday, my aunt had gifted me with one of those musical mini keyboards. I was scared to accept this gift, to begin with. I knew my father wouldn’t have appreciated this gift on my behalf. He thought most music was un-Islamic; basically, anything that was not religious or at least spiritual.

He did not say anything to me or my aunt but from his silence and frowning face, you could see he was not impressed. But my aunt was older than him, and I could find some protection under her mighty shadow, away from passive-aggressive comments that were about to come out of his mouth. He said nothing though; and for that alone, I was grateful.

This keyboard became my favourite new toy. I would sit with it every morning, pressing each key, memorising its sounds and melodies. I didn’t have a teacher or YouTube to teach myself anything at that age.

One of the easiest ways for me to learn was to sit next to the TV and wait for those annoying commercial ad-breaks. The jingles in TV advertisements were the perfect and simplest tunes to follow so that I could memorise and attempt to replicate them on my keyboard. My mother and older brothers were always impressed with the sounds I would create out of this little instrument, but I never had the courage to play anything for my dad. Until one unforgettable evening, after we had had dinner. My dad’s overall mood was unusually good, and the six-year-old in me took that as an opening to impress him with my newly-discovered talent.

I scooped up my keyboard and sat right next to him. I played him a few jingles, and this one other melody I was still busy composing. He had nodded in approval throughout my short-lived musical show.

“You are very talented. If you were not my son, I’d have enrolled you into a music school. But we don’t do music in this house. Not for as long as you live under my roof.” His closing comments to me that day.

He confiscated my keyboard; and to this day, I am yet to find it. I have looked for it everywhere in the house, but I never found it. I never touched any instruments after that (until much later).

From that evening, I decided to just listen and appreciate music as a listener. 

Through you
I learnt to
speak of
the same courage
of your every

In this issue:

Let her letter opener open her open letter – Qamar Souhaila
Mixtape: An oDD trail – Darkpharn

Odd Artist of the Month: Chané Isaacs

The Things We Never Say About SARS – Blessing C. Onyekachi

10 Musical Documentaries to see – Shameelah Khan

Sage… like the relationships I’ve never had – Sinenhlanhla MlilowokuNqoba Maphezabantu
Instruments – Sinenhlanhla MlilowokuNqoba Maphezabantu
Music – Nkateko Tshabalala
Marry the Musician – Jayro Viapree
Songs – Soetry
Trombones – Oluwaseun Olayiwola
Devo Records – Juleigh Howard-Hobson
Quaaludes and Joy Division – Juleigh Howard-Hobson
Tchaikovsky Experience – Alun Robert
Violoncello Lament – Alun Robert
Gut Feeling – Alun Robert
Rain – Abdul Hadi Haleemah
Dylan’s Voice – Kevin McGowan
Spotify – Al Mcclimens
Glissando – Al Mcclimens

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