The curtain opened, the music started. I could barely contain my excitement. My past life was suddenly connected to my present life, as if I stepped into my childhood.
It was 1974. I was nine years old: a skinny dangly girl, with long straight hair and brown eyes, usually with a smile on my face. ABBA had just won the EuroVision Song Festifal, performing “Waterloo” They became an instant hit, and we knew all their songs by heart. Whenever my cousins visited, we practiced and performed the latest hit song of ABBA in front of the whole family. As a young girl, it was all I listened to; their phenomenon defined my childhood in many ways.
On this day, in honor of my 30th birthday, I was at the Colonial Theater in Boston to watch the hit Broadway Show “Mama Mia.” For the next two hours, I relived my childhood. The lyrics were engraved in my brain. I had not listened to the music since I was a young girl, when Dutch was my first language. To hear myself sing along, after having lived in the United States for nearly 20 years, was an experience hard to describe. At the start of “Take A Change On Me,” I heard myself recite the words as I remembered them; “Chickie Dance On Me.”
Hearing lyrics in my second language which I now understood as a grown up, but had last heard when I was a child, would symbolize the connecting of two worlds, between which I had lived. It made me feel home, truly home, for the first time, right here in the United States.
It made music the true universal language.