Singin’ about truth

by Michelle Lanteri

Michelle Lanteri ad director

Truth… conviction… humility… beauty… all things we aspire to possess. It’s interesting when you actually run into all of these qualities encapsulated in one event and in four people. And it’s a little daunting, to be perfectly honest.

Last Wednesday at Guilford College, Canada’s Wailin’ Jennys performed their melodies, exemplifying a truth one might like to turn their attention away from on most days. And their mission was quite simple: to act as one voice on a singular mission. As comprehensible and simple as

these words sounded to my ear, the thought of living them seemed much more complicated than I could readily admit.

The Jennys’ well defined fervor ran slow, fast and daring — during the show each band member took a moment to share her recent accomplishments with the audience. Heather Masse confessed a marriage, Nicky Mehta boasted her newborn twins and Ruth Moody complimented Jeremy Fisher on his recent move into fatherhood. And, since Ruth acted as the thread between the members and also as the narrator, she mysteriously left her confessions to be interpreted through song — lady luck, in my opinion.

The music was like a long story you hope is far from ending. It buzzed, it loved, it wept, it moaned — and it laughed. The Jennys were a smiling bunch between and during their songs. Their smiles effortlessly drifted into the crowd, either when Nicky played a children’s song called “Pants” on the ukulele, or as Ruth laughed nervously, warning the audience that they’d only just learned the song. Big smiles arose when Jeremy worked his fiddle’s bow like he was Edward Scissorhands giving his fiddle a trim at 70 miles per hour, and when Heather sang one of her first songs, one which described her dream lover painted in a picture. And humble smiles softly appeared when the whole group sang the lyrics, “This is the sound of voices two.”

The noticeable thing about the show was that three young women openly appreciated and honored each other while gratefully celebrating each other’s talents. They even comfortably invited a man to join their group. Wishing that this kind of collaboration were more common, I nodded to the music and experienced a personal celebration in honor of the Jennys. I also realized that inspiration could appear in forms thought to be impossible — and that true beauty could look, speak and sing to you at any moment. All you have to do is look straight at it, listen — and nod gratefully.