Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Jingle all za Bells!

As the holidays are quickly approaching (unless you’re Jewish in which case they already past) the Christmas spirit is slowly starting to kick in around town. Shops are selling tinsel and lights, kids are walking around town wearing Santa hats and of course, holiday concerts are in full swing.

A paper menorah I made for my window.
 The first (but certainly not the last) holiday concert I went too was put on by the local Samtredia hospital. Many doctors, from pediatricians to gynecologists, performed a little something on stage. I guess you could call it a holiday variety show. Some doctors performed long (may I repeat: long) Georgian poems, others sang songs while most doctors chose to recite funny anecdotes from the workplace.

While my Georgian may be limited, I’m pretty sure anyone could understand the body language for a ‘women giving birth’; a theme that seemed to be a central aspect of many of these anecdotes. After all, nothing says, “Merry Christmas” like a story about a baby crowning.

Of course, the main reason that me and the girls even went to the show was to see our favorite sixth grader Koko perform a solo performance of Jingle Bells. Both of Koko’s parents work for the hospital (they drive the ambulance) and little Koko was asked to perform an English song.

Melissa had been practicing ‘Jingle Bells’ with him for what seemed like weeks. On Wednesday night Koko even called me and serenaded me to sleep. (Okay that might be a bit of an exaggeration but it was a cute phone call, nonetheless).

I was sure that Koko knew that song like the back of his hand so I was excited to watch him perform for a crowded audience. You can imagine my surprise then when Koko began singing Jingle Bells in a made up language. Yep.

Instead of “Dashing through the snow on a one horse open sleigh” he said something along the lines of “Dashem bang poo sheem, on a Santa klashen boom”. The entire song was sung in this sort of made up language.  

Melissa and I sat in the aisle to take photos and videotape the whole thing and almost burst out laughing. The whole thing was just so adorably bizarre. Koko had just practiced the entire song with Melissa and me maybe five minutes before he went on stage, and yet all of a sudden he was just making up his own jig.

In all honesty though- did it sound like English to someone who didn’t know English? Probably. Was it absolutely adorable to hear him singing on stage by himself? Absolutely.
Koko singing his little heart out on stage.

After his performance little Koko ran down the stairs into Melissa’s arms and asked, “What language was that?” (Potentially one of Koko’s cutest one liners ever).

When we were back in our seats I had this conversation with Koko:

Me: Koko, why didn’t you sing in English? Were you nervous?
Koko: No. The man told me that there are people from Belarus sitting here. So I sang in Belurussian.
Me: Koko do you know Belarussian?
Koko: no. but I thought maybe if I tried too, it will be Belurussian.
Me: Okay. So you didn’t sing in English, because you thought you’d try to sing in Belarussian, even though you don’t know Belarussian.
Koko: Yes. Do you think it was maybe Belarussian?
Me: No. But you are adorable (giggles)
Koko: Why you laugh at me?

There is no one more adorable (and audacious) than eleven-year-old Koko Bakaladze. I wish I had the courage to attempt to make up a language on the spot in front of a full crowd. Maybe I’ll volunteer to perform a Georgian poem at a spring concert and when no one can understand a word I’ll say, “I think I saw a Lithuanian in the back row, I was reciting the poem for him”.

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