Tunes Tuesday with Phemie, My Sunshine

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Disclaimer: There may be some cleaning up in the kitchen sounds courtesy of my beautiful mother. What can I say, we’re keeping it real!

I’ve loved to sing as long as I can remember. Choosing between having to lose my legs or my voice would actually be a very hard choice. So many memories. Singing in the bath with the shampoo bottle at 4 years old. Checking myself out in the mirror at 8 as I did my best Madonna impersonation with a hairbrush mic. Even better, performing Vogue (vocals and moves) at my year 3 camp for all my classmates. I’m pretty sure the teacher stopped the tape player before it ended. Presumably there was too much hip movement? Or maybe it was just really bad and she felt sorry for me. I’ll never know. Regardless, she should just be happy I didn’t perform my ‘Hanky Panky’ (“nothing like a good spanky”) routine. At that time I spent Saturday mornings doing musical theatre classes and loved every second. Then we moved to Bahrain in the Middle East and that was no longer an option.

I was in Bahrain from ’92-’95, 10 years old when I arrived and 13 going on 18 when I left. Expat kids grow up fast. Very fast. Too fast for my parents’ liking, but it was nothing a year in a Lutheran boarding school couldn’t sort out. That was where my love for singing in a choir really took off, but it started years earlier, with my mum. Mum learned to sing at church, and has a beautiful alto voice she is yet to learn to trust and love. Nevertheless less, Mum taught me to harmonise, and I am eternally grateful. For me, the joy of voices blending in harmony is almost ecstatic. My mother taught me to sing harmony with her to “You are my Sunshine” one day while driving around Bahrain in her little white Daewoo hatch. I think I was 11. It is a simple song, with simple harmony, and it didn’t take long to master. I think she was pleased and her approval pleased me no end.

Fast forward a couple of decades and I sang this song every day to my pregnant belly. Then I sang it every night to Phemie to help her eventually float off to sleep. She knows it well. A couple of years ago, knowing Phemie had a voice and a love for singing, we started to learn to sing the very same simple song together, with me harmonising and Phemie holding the melody, which is not easy. She started by blocking her ears to avoid her melody bleeding into my harmony, but soon learned to hold her own. I am so pleased, and I see her pride in my pleasure. And so, history repeats. I hope you enjoy this Tunes Tuesday offering from our little family.

Me and my girls

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