Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Its more of a rhetorical question really.The kind of question suicide cult members would throw out into the universe before finally deciding to plunge to their deaths or Hara Kiri themselves.

Fortunately, its also the title of a song that I recently heard, sung by a singer that I recently got to know of, and I was visibly impressed by his vocal talent (I sang the song for days after I first heard it-hubby went insane trying to get me to stop).

The man goes by the name Declan John Galbraith. Well, he’s a young man now, but when he first sang the song that I have fallen for, he was only a wee little child. Buckteeth and everything. The single was released on 9 December 2002- just a few days before his 11th birthday. And from what I hear, it became an instant hit (I would be surprised if it didn’t). I admit; I wasn’t really aware of the existence of a child by the name of Declan Galbraith, leave alone the fact that he sang so well. I came to know of him only when my dad sent me an e-mail with an attachment titled “Tell me why.wmv”. He specifically mentioned in the e-mail, “I think you’ll really like this song”. I thought this was one of his gag e-mails. I mean, why would anyone title their song, “Tell me why”? Even Enrique Iglesias’ depressing 2002 single in which the above words frequently appear, was titled “Love to see you cry”. The fact that it reached the Top 40 in 12 countries, is worrying to say the least. Sure, Iglesias is a good singer and has a smooth voice and the music was fine etc etc. But the song revolved around the central theme which had to do with a man’s fascination for his girlfriend’s tears. If I was his girlfriend, I’d have left him long back (no offence at all to Iglesias crazy chicks!) But then that’s just my opinion. I’m sure it must have had a certain something to have gotten so famous in such a short while.

Coming back to Galbraith’s “Tell me why” and what drew me to it, I think most importantly it was the openness with which he sang. I know, lots of singers, including child artists, sing openly and wonderfully and I’m not in any way denying it. Its just that the moment Declan began the song with “In my dream, children sing, a song of love for every boy and girl…” I knew this was not a gag mail or a joke video. There was this 11 year old boy swaying to the music like a grown up boy band singer would do, his face wreathed in the emotions of the song that he was singing. Quirky brown hair, big intelligent eyes and what appeared to me to be very endearing buckteeth, the boy had a charm that instantly drew me to his voice and kept me listening to the song.

As the video progressed, Declan’s singing became more and more intense, flanked on both sides by horrific and extremely saddening pictures of undernourished children and child workers to name a few. His voice began to shiver with a steady monotone (that’s the best way I could explain it despite the apparent oxymoron) as the song progressed and he shook his head every time he sang “I just don’t understand when somebody needs somebody, we don’t give a helping hand…tell me why”. Oriented towards the myopic society we live in, driven by our own increasing desires and not our needs, he tried to get the message across by crooning about the dreams of a child and what he really sees- broken homes, polluted environments, dying oceans, abused animals and humans alike and people hesitant to share/help/think about things and people other than themselves.

The look on Galbraith’s face and the questioning tone in his voice, when he says “Every day, I ask myself, what will I have to do to be a man?” it almost seems like an open ended question directed to every child growing up in this world. Does one become a man just by thinking about one self and one’s immediate circle and exploiting resources for that purpose? Or does becoming a man entail something deeper, worth more effort, to reap greater fruits?

Galbraith moved on to a higher pitch of “Tell me why” which made me go wooohoo! I involuntarily began singing at his pitch and my husband started worrying about waking the neighbours. It was 1 am after all. But I really didn’t care. I sang with him and I sang with his chorus of White-robed kids. I sang about children reared to fight wars. I sang about our dying oceans and our massacred dolphins, I sang about our burning forests and our depleting tiger populations. Declan’s melodious voice, which had a genuine honest ring to it, the haunting music and the abrasively real words of the song, struck a raw nerve somewhere inside. And before I knew it Declan ended the song on another open ended “WHY WHY!” and I was a fan of what I had only thought to be a gag e-mail in the beginning.

Declan has Irish and Scottish blood, his grandfather played in a band, he himself plays a number of instruments, has the voice of an angel and has had quite a few songs released, including three singles, “Tell me why-2002”, “Love of my Life-2007” and “Ego You-2007” as well as three albums, “Declan 2002”, “Thank You-2002” and “You and me-2007”. Going through you tube, I also found that he re sang some famous songs like “An angel”, “Nights in white satin” and “My girl”. It will not come as a surprise too that he is a pretty famous icon in China, especially for the children and many of his songs are included in the educational curriculum to help Chinese kids learn English better. Now that’s an achievement if you ask me!

By the looks of it, the boy has it all going for him and lady luck seems to be favouring him.

For all you people, who did not know about Declan Galbraith, do a random Google search and listen to his songs-they’re all available on You Tube, like everything else in this world is. For those of you who do know him and are fans, he now lives in Rochester near Kent and wil be going easy on the music for a while.

Although he loves singing to live audiences, he recently announced on his official forum that “he will not be committing to long tours in the near future, but he is available to consider doing occasional one-off gigs”. He is also currently taking a break from recording a new album, but it is reported that he is working on material for more new albums. So have no fear, there’s more Declan coming up for those who wait.

Till then, I strongly recommend a few more repetitions of “Tell me why”- if not for Declan, then at least to remind yourself of MJ’s “Heal the world” and to “feel a lil bit” about the world you live in.



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