Little things that feed the flame

The Mystery of Rufus Wainwright


Music. I guess I should start with a disclaimer that I was never really that much into it. Not like some people. I do love music and it would be awkward to imagine life without it. It’s just that I have never seen it as a sort of life philosophy or identity vehicle as many young people often seem to do. I am not what I listen to. I never was the one to hunt down new names, discuss musical discoveries with friends, or even hang posters of bands on the walls. (Not that there is anything wrong with it. For some reason, music simply did not take that role in my life.)

Of course, I did have favourite artists or styles and these preferences changed over years. Some events or stages in my life will forever be glued to certain songs or musicians. I think I actually experienced time travelling – right back into the days when I was 16 – at a Roxette concert a couple of years ago. Hearing Bryan Adams or Leonard Cohen live in concert was as much a trip down memory lane as it was a terrific experience in its own right (growing up in a small post-communist state where stars would come on tour only towards the sunset of their careers, if ever, the thought of seeing those guys live did not even actually cross my mind before I moved to Ireland).

So yes, music certainly does have a place in my life. Only not a central one. Besides, I could always listen to and enjoy a rather wide range of musical genres – from pop to classical to jazz to rock’n’roll to country and so on. But then again, I would not be really knowledgeable in any of them.

So, given my wide, but not very deep relationship with music, it is somewhat surprising that there is a guy who has been pulling the strings of my heart for about a decade now.

It all started with my friend showing me a couple of songs. No, actually, it all started with ‘Shrek’ (yes, that animated movie about the green ogre!). My friend was impressed with the rendition of ‘Hallelujah’ on the movie, did some research and discovered Rufus Wainwright. He shared a few songs with me. That was all it took. I was  h o o k e d.  I don’t think I listened to much else for about a year and a half. And even when I gradually remembered there was other music, I still did not let Rufus far out of my reach.

If you do not know what I am talking about, here’s a few samples:

As years went by, I actually started wondering what the secret was. How come I could listen to this guy so much and still feel touched rather than saturated, needing a break? Why has he outstayed all the others? Even though I admire and enjoy many other artists, as soon as I hear Rufus Wainwright it’s as if my heart switches to a different mode. I can’t say I have an answer, really…

When I was younger (and I mean around sixteen to twenty-six, not ten years old), I used to sing to myself quite a bit, especially when walking (which I did a lot back then). These ‘songs’ would spring out of me in a stream of consciousness, very fluid and unstructured, unevenly waving away. Sometimes I would think they weren’t half bad and it might be a good idea to write them down (the lyrics, I couldn’t write music to save my life!). However, by the time I would reach my destination and get to pen and paper, they would be long gone. Those of-the-moment creatures would have dissipated into the evening air. Sometimes I think Rufus’ music reminds me of those impromptu creations of mine. His songs seem to just pour out of the soul, freely, so beautifully raw and natural. Luckily, his are recorded to be listened again and again (and again, if you are like me 🙂 ). I think maybe on some level I feel like his music is very close to what my heart would sound if I had the talent, the skill, and the voice to express it. Whatever the reason, all I know is that even though everything about his life is so hugely different from mine, yet what Rufus Wainwright produces is somehow so close and relevant to me that, 10 years on, I still have not tired of this beautiful heartful sound.


Written in response to this Daily Post weekly writing challenge.


5 thoughts on “The Mystery of Rufus Wainwright

  1. I feel the same way about Rufus. My poor husband has had to endure thousands of hours of Rufus’ music as well, and I’m always trying to sneak in more whenever possible. I never seem to tire of his unique tone, his powerful resonance or his intriguing, and at times baffling lyrics. I think that is why his music never gets old- the dynamic nature of it all. Even though I have finally managed to memorize most of his songs, I am always finding new bits that had previously escaped me, new layers to peel back. It’s like watching a really good movie over and over that keeps revealing itself in new ways each time. Not to mention, since he writes from the heart without gimmick or fidelity to a specific genre, he is able to capture the nuances of the human spirit, and I find that no matter where I am on my journey, I can find a song that speaks to that moment. It also doesn’t hurt that he is wicked talented and relentlessly hard-working, so he just keeps producing on a level that only someone infatuated with the craft and the process could. In short, he is a breath of fresh air in a world whose airwaves have become cluttered with many “artists” who are much less than genuine, and he makes me believe in magic once more. Thanks for reminding me of this with your article.

  2. hey …! I share your idea…! when I met to Rufus long time ago, he conquered me , and I’m still on his lovely notes…!! hahahahahaha, I love him a lot , I am fan of Rufus for a long time, good post : D thanx ♥

  3. I love how you started with how you don’t identify with music as strongly as other people in order to tell us about your favorite musician!

  4. My husband and I saw Rufus in concert for the 4th time just two weeks ago. A friend introduced me to his music about 10 years ago and I have been a fan since then. And my long suffering husband has enabled my affection for his songs, lyrics, and his tenor voice that can bring an audience to tears. For those fans who have not heard the recently released SING ME THE SONGS THAT SAY I LOVE YOU: A CONCERT FOR KATE MACARGGILE please go to Itunes or Amazon amd dowload it. Kate was Rufus’ mother who passed away in 2010. Since purchasing it not a day goes by that I don’t listen to it. Rufus’ tour dates over the past few years have included stops in the Pacific Northwest. I won’t miss a concert. My “love affair” with the music of Rufus Wainwright shows no signs of waning .

  5. I answered the challenge talking about The Roches (tied into Rufus somehow)-if you go on GrooveShark (streaming music where you get to pick the tunes, similar to Pandora) and type in Rufus Wainwright and Suzzy Roche you’ll get some beautiful tunes! Thanks for this post-and the memories. Time to listen and make some new ones!

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