Friday, November 14, 2008

Caught in the Bryars

Gavin Bryars on Jesus' blood:

"Here was a man, very fragile, someone who was living rough on the streets towards the end of his life. But he was singing this phrase beautifully in tune, with very nice phrasing, even though he has rather a tremulous voice. And at the same time there is this simple optimism in the voice. There's a kind of humanity and dignity in it. Yet here you have someone living in complete adversity. It was that combination of musicality and simple faith which I found incredibly touching.

"There is a dangerous borderline between that and kitsch - you might say, between sentimentality at its worst and sentimentality at its best. People often fight shy of the sentimental and find it rather trite and manipulative - but I can be touched by extraordinarily sentimental things.

"I used to work as a bass player and I would accompany cabaret singers and comedians. All kinds of people. One person would sing something as ordinary as Danny Boy incredibly beautifully, and then someone else would do it and it would seem a cheap gesture. There's a fine line, and for me that old man's voice hovers on just the right side of that line."

From yesterday's Irish Times.


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