Writers Space Africa-Rwanda
Creative non-Fiction

Keys, Winds and Strings: My Love Story with Classical Music – Lise Nova Berwadushime

Every time when I’m asked to provide my bio, say for instance, when someone wants to review my work, I always include that I love classical music. Some people get surprised when I mention that. Perhaps, according to them, I am not allowed to listen to old school music, let alone classical. Nevertheless, the story of how love revealed itself to me in the holy trinity of keys, winds and strings always rouse tears in my eyes.

It all began in December 2018 when I attended a classical music concert for the first time. It was an annual Christmas carols concert which was organized by Chorale de Kigali. My friend Focy bought me a ticket. She said I was going to like it and so I gave it a try. I was not expecting too much except for Christmas carols sang by men and women whose style reflected Gregorian chants.

The concert was expected to kick off at 6 p.m CAT but it began at 7:30 p.m – African if not Rwandan time. The choir stepped to the floor, its members looking gorgeous in their uniforms. Men were in black trousers and green shirts, while women had put on elegant light green dresses. I remember All bells In Paradise, one of the songs their voices raised. It made love reveal itself through piano keys. The choir included three pianists and each one of them was deftly caressing the keys that in turn churned out a melodious tune and left me speechless.

As if that was not enough, the choir raised another song called Para Navidad. A guitarist strummed the strings that stroked those of my heart. Through them, love revealed itself to me again. A terrific experience I had steered me home with a smile on my face. From that time my interest in classical music grew at the speed of E.coli( a bacterium) nurtured on lysogeny broth medium (nutrients for bacteria).

Through listening to classical singers and composers like Bach, Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven, I met a Dutch man called André Rieu who later introduced me to Andrea Bocelli, my all-time favourite artist who sings only to the soul (if God could sing, He would definitely sing like Andrea Bocelli). André Rieu and his orchestra made me see love through winds (trumpets and tubas), keys (I wish everyone could listen to Stephanie playing Ballade pour Adeline on a piano), and strings (guitars, harps and violins).

Classical music was there for me from that time (December 2018) until today. When I was working so hard to get my Bachelor’s degree, it encouraged me. I always played To a Wild Rose by William McDowell before doing prep and tried to picture how I will be feeling majestic after presenting my dissertation. Classical music was also there when I fell in love. I and him used to share beautiful classical music melodies and it was always romantic. It helped me to express my feelings and emotions without verbalising them.

Classical music was there when I was afraid of looking into my own soul. One day when I played Mahler’s 8th symphony finale, it tied me to my bed and compelled me to let go of my past fears. Until today, classical music helps me to teleport to the realm where my father’s soul resides. I get to touch him without actually touching him. More so, I cannot count how many times Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto No.10 sends me to sleep or the number of memories Mozart’s symphony No.40 holds for me.

If I know true love, it is because I have heard pianos moaning at the touch of skilled pianists; violins giving in to soft strokes of the bow against five strings; harps blushing and trumpets yearning for the kisses of trumpeters. It is because I have listened to instrumentals and wordless music—only to learn that non-verbal communication is the deepest form of communication. If I know true love, it is because of Andrea Bocelli’s high pitched controlled voice that handles over 100 of my moods. It is also because of André Rieu and his orchestra who made me cry and write lines like “I know what will kill me: it’s classical music that will make love to virgin layers of my heart and give them intense fatal orgasm”.

Photograph: Unsplash

About the Contributor

Lise Nova Berwadushime is a Rwandan writer of poetry and children stories. She holds a degree in Biology with honours in Biochemistry from the University of Rwanda – College of Science and Technology. She’s currently a Children’s Literature Editor for WSA Magazine and a mentor for the same genre. Lise also works as a freelance translator and content creator. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and watching cooking videos.

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1 comment

Explore Lise Nova's Debut Chapbook, 'East of Faith, West of Fear’ - Writers Space Africa-Rwanda August 14, 2023 at 8:30 am

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