This post is in the The Music Room category

“Never Left You”Colin Webber and Klare Kuolga 2003
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Never Left You is included in the Music Room because it is an example of a collaborative work with multiple layers of meaning. I wrote the piece for the collaborative album Bend Down a Little which also includes the track Know This.  Ostensibly the lyrics refer to singer Klare Kuolga’s story of leaving Papua New Guinea as a child and coming to terms with her identity as a “child of two islands, a woman of one world”. I was well aware of her story and wanted to contribute something that expressed a regret. I found however that I was unable to put myself “in her shoes” either musically or lyrically without sounding trite.

Ultimately the song is about something rather different. It concerns the experience of a vacillating faith, in God and in humanity. Faith is one of those things that people speak of in terms of feelings, energies, vibe and connection. These words relate to emotions that I observe in people but rarely feel – rather like my connection to music. My faith is a logical one. I was attracted to the Baha’i Faith as a teenager because of its incredibly clear and logical teachings about the nature of man’s relationship to God and to each other, and requirements for living to bring about a peaceful, unified world. On occasion though, the sheer stupidity of men in their dealing with each other and the infliction of suffering by those who consider themselves righteous or “saved” has tested my belief in the ability of humanity to rise to the challenge that the Faith extolls, and indeed in my own ability to do so. However, the beauty of the Writings and the spiritual connections that I believe to be independent of cognition and emotion have held me and drawn me back. This is what Never Left You is really about. The lyrics tell two stories, mine and Klare’s.

Never Left You

Journey from the mountains
to the city
Fly the oceans, 
swim across the seas
Travel in the no mans land
 of nations
Knowing everything
that I believed
to be true
Is not the same without you

And I never really left you
Though it seemed I didn’t care
On the other side of water
But when you reach out
with your spirit calling to me
I’ll be there

Traveled on the 
motorway to nowhere
Walked upon the
 sands of time alone
Captured by the 
heat of many moments
My heart of glass
 against a wall of stone
And the truth
Is not the same without you

I journeyed from the mountains
 to the city
I flew the oceans, 
swam across the sea
I traveled in the 
no mans land of nations
Knowing everything 
that I believed
to be true
Is not the same without you

But I never really left you
Though it seemed I didn’t care
On the other side of water
When you reach out
with your spirit calling to me
I’ll be there

Musically, Never Left You is quite dark, and intense. It is a lament, and the vocal harmonies and guitar parts are based on PNG funeral chants. But there is also the exultant and welcoming bridge, and the final choruses reflect the knowledge that, while apart, we remain close.

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