By Jackie Eager
Karaoke has always made me a little scared. It’s not part of my everyday life. It’s not even part of my yearly life. I didn’t grow up with karaoke. We were not teenage friends. We must have been in different crowds during my twenties, as we didn’t cross paths even once. But in my thirties, karaoke has had a pull. It’s been kind of like my sudden desire for art classes, my venture into Korean food or what I imagine Crossfit people feel before they get obsessed and you don’t see them anymore. Life is a series of lessons and adventures, and so I became intrigued by the concept of karaoke and by the sheer numbers of people who enjoy it. And people don’t just go once. They go all the time. They passionately love karaoke. No one is making them go, yet weekly they flock to the mysterious microphone.
A Wednesday or two ago, I was lucky enough to be taken along by a friend to The Heritage’s karaoke night at Club HP, just one of the karaoke venues around Honiara. Having not been to Club HP before, I was excited to find a large, open, airy room with an extensive bar and comfortable seating. I ordered a snack of hot chips (highly recommended) and sat back in my cosy chair for the magic to begin. Once people had found their desired tune in the songbook, they then typed the reference number into the microphone. The video clip, complete with lyrics, was projected up for all to see.
While I could have had a go myself, there were plenty of people willing to take my turn once I made my gentle ‘oh, no, not me, I’m just here to watch’ hand gestures. I must say, the quality of singing was quite high at the start of the night, incredibly high. If I was going to sing, I think later in the evening would have been my opening. The voices of some of the Solomon Islander women were amazing and as one belted out a rendition of ‘Killing Me Softly’, I felt small tears come to my eyes. It was intense and beautiful. The guys were also most impressive, with many a romantic nineties hit being sung. Does it get any better than nineties romance? I think not.
One of my favourite parts of the karaoke was the misalignment between the film clip and the song lyrics (a standard karaoke characteristic I was informed). For instance, as a slow love tune was being sung with heartfelt dedication, the video clip showed an alien invasion in the middle of a desert. The aliens then turned into a girl rock band who road motorcycles besides a monster truck. I was confused, but it was awesome.
And so I will be, without a doubt, returning to karaoke. I was moved, not just by the music or the most excellent hot chips, but by the courage of the singers and the pure emotion they put into their performances. I hope to be more like them on my second visit.
- Where: Club HP, The Heritage Park Hotel
- When: Wednesdays, from around 6pm
- Joyfulness Factor: High