Reflections on Art and Life
It would be very sophisticated and high-brow to list Scriabin or Schoenberg as my musical influences. Brahms might be classy, and Bach perhaps too predictable. But in all truth and honesty I must admit (and I only realized it this week) that it is, in fact, Colargol.
My mother sent me a birthday card picturing a little girl with a teddy bear. She entitled it “Little Dosia with Colargol”. That’s all she had to do to bring on a whole avalanche of fond memories.
Colargol was a fictional bear created by French writer Olga Pouchine in the 1950s, widely popularized in mid 1970s through “Les Aventures de Colargol”, a stop motion animated series in 53 episodes that were broadcasted in many European countries, my native Poland being among them. Colargol also traveled to England where he was renamed Barnaby, and to Canada, as Jeremy the Bear.
Colargol appeared on my TV at 7:00 pm every Sunday and the short 13 minutes spent in his company were heaven. To say that I enjoyed the show would be an understatement. I was certifiably in love with the bear. He was fun, he loved music, he was elegant, smart and adventurous. He often got into trouble, but somehow always managed to overcome the obstacles, and the eyes… his big blue eyes. Yes, it was my first true love.
This week I had to track Colargol down and I found a few episodes on YouTube. I was mesmerized again, but admittedly, after all these years, it was a different kind of fascination. Not so much with the plot (although it is very cute and watchable), but this time I listened closely to the soundtrack.
And then I had an epiphany: This is what I have been soaking up as a child. Is there any wonder why I am a musician today?
The harmonic progressions are so colorful. Secondary dominants, chromatic mediant relationships, fluid modulations, skillful motivic development, contrasting instrumentation, a bit of pop, a bit of jazz, a bit of classical style, it’s all there. When I watched the North Pole episode in which Colargol sings a song to his polar bear girlfriend about his home – la forêt de Bois Joli (Pretty Wood Forest) I had tears in my eyes. Does anyone write melodies like that anymore?
Colargol, you have profoundly influenced my life and instilled into me the love of music. I will always always love you.
©2007 Dosia McKay