SCALA ~ California Dreamin’

The summer is coming to a close. Looking back, it’s been a year of little discoveries. A damp dark place in the middle of a gray day ~ memories of something beautiful striking a deeper chord. SCALA.

When I first heard them, this choir of young Belgian women, I was alone in an empty room, and their voices took me over. It was a revelation.

The songs they choose, and the way they deliver them, floored me. The group covers many current pop songs that the younger generation is probably familiar with but I never heard or really listened to. How had I managed to overlook so many songwriters who were singing my life with their words? Intense, honest, telling my whole life and killing me softly.

SCALA is a well-trained choir. No one stands out. The impeccable synchronization is the result of incredibly hard work. I know. I’ve been part of more than one choir, but this one is different. These are young women of all shapes and sizes. They don’t sing typical choir music, and they don’t wear typical choir robes. They dress simply, but each expresses herself in her own unique and subtle way. One of the defining aspects of the group is their breathtaking femininity. It seems so natural, and absent entirely is the sexualized glamour or in-your-face body consciousness flaunted by so many popular female performers today.

But what strikes me most is the calm way SCALA approaches every song, regardless of its emotional content. The sweet gentle harmonies give a strange and unexpected clarity to the raw urgent poetry. Is that me sobbing? Something’s come undone here. The music has revealed a buried place long ago forgotten. I’ve let myself go. Their collective voice is like a prayer and an absolution. I am mesmerized, shattered, and unexpectedly comforted.
Watching and listening, I have been stunned by a new kind of music. I thought I only liked happy songs. But I found out differently. SCALA has shown me another world. I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day…

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