"Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied." Matthew 15:36~37
One afternoon, after lunch, while sprawled across our abaca-made mat, my ears picked up the slow humming of Barbara Streisand's voice over our battery-operated AM radio as she began to sing, “The Way We Were”. Then my heart began to skip a beat as the aftertaste of her music gave me a strange feeling. It’s hard to put it in one word. Longing. Nostalgia. Sadness. (But in a nice way.) The funny thing was, I hadn’t lost a love one.
Fast forward many years later. It was 2AM. I sat in front of my PC at home admiring Charice’s (Pempengco) awesome cover of the song, Listen, by Beyonce, during the Oscar party held in the Kodak Theater, for the nth time. Yes, I was glued to YouTube for more than 3 hours just going over the performances of Charice. It was amazing!
Then I clicked a video clip showing Charice singing a medley of the timeless songs of the late Michael Jackson like Got to be There, Ben, One Day in Your Life, I’ll be There. (All of these are my favorites.) This was her tribute to the King of Pop Music who just died. Once again, she was down right amazing. She showcased both the incredible breadth and depth of her vocal powers which gave me a new level of appreciation to the music of Michael Jackson.
But then, somewhere in the middle of the video clip, Mariah Carey was shown singing, I’ll be There, which was the last song that Charice sang, in front of the coffin of the Pop King. As expected, she was very affected and emotional; her voice almost broke off at the start, and she had difficulty forcing it out.
Then somebody pop the question, “Who’s better?” What followed was a long thread of opinions willingly expressed by both fans and detractors of both artists.
This was what I had in mind: “Why compare?” Can’t we just enjoy the music of both Charice and Mariah Carey. Why do we have to put down the other? Can’t we put them together side by side?
When Jesus fed the 4000 in the wilderness, 2000 years ago, He did it with only 7 loaves of bread, and a few small fish. Was there a miracle? I believe there was. But the central message of that great miracle is not the impossible-made-possible, but the value of sharing, even with what little we have. Sharing is a godly way, and God’s way creates miracles. I believe this is what Jesus wanted to show us.
Music is a gift from God; it is suppose to soothe the soul. The men, and women who were gifted with the 'song', and the pipe to deliver it, were chosen by God. Is it right to fit them against each other? No! Leave them alone and let them do their job. What we should do is to sit down, enjoy their music, and share their message to the world. After all, what our world badly needs is not another conflict, but another dose of soul-soothing music. And Charice, Mariah Carey, Barbara Streisand and others can do that. They are God's gifts to us.