The Mahna Mahna Song…of all the tiny 10 minutes or less jewels on Youtube, this was a joy indescribable to discover.
I loved The Muppets. To me, having grown up watcing Lawrence Welk, Tony Orlando & Dawn, Sony & Cher, and every other musical variety show they made, The Muppets was perfection – a unique blend of Sesame Street with attitude, top stars, jokes, and music.
I remember the night this episode aired, and the song I had first heard on Sesame Street as a young kid came blaring into the living room. Soon, I was singing along, unaware at the time that Jim Henson was slowly reprogramming my brain to make jazz and scat singing become the audio equivalent of comfort food.
When my ex-stepsisters were little, we sang it while they played with the cabbage patch style dolls I made for them.
When I first became an aunt, I sang it to young Adam as I pushed him in a stroller on the busy road to the airport.
Nathan, another nephew, used to bang on my arm in time to the tune with his tiny fist.
I must confess, I sang it often when pregnant in the hopes of convincing each unborn child to love jazz as much as I did.
Charlie, the firstborn, used to roll from side to side each time I got to the wild unbound scat solo.
The first time I heard it after Domi, one of two Angel babies that wait in heaven for me, died I burst into tears and startled my baby niece Rachel. She could not quite figure out why that song sounded so different from the previous times.
Trina, my baby girl, treated it much the same as any song, letting loose with a series of kicks and head butts that sometimes left me in fits of laughter so bad I had to stop singing.
I sang it softly to Briana Rose while she was in the hospital before fate took that stepchild away.
I sang it for the first time to granddaughter Natasha when she and her Mom were staying with me and my ex. Her big eyes, unable to focus, looked like they would pop out of her head at each “interruption” and then she would giggle in what was probably the best sound in the world to a new Babka.
Still unsure about this thing Babka was singing, grandson Michael Jr. eventually got to bobbing in time against my white fancy blouse that holiday we saw him at Dick and Anna’s.
Isabelle heard the song many times before she was born while my daughter Nicole helped me with all those things you need an LNA for. I suspect that even now, Nicole still blames that habit for why our IzzyBee just cannot sit still for long without exploding in dance routines, song, or beat poetry about princesses, Daddy, and that she is hungry.
Now, whenever I jump into singing it, both girls laugh and jump around…don’t tell Nicole, but a lot of the times there is jumping on the bed involved.
Our godson David loved to dance in my arms as I sang it to him that first winter after he was born.
Years after I heard it, years after seeing it on the Muppet Show, one of my portfolio audition pieces when I was applying at music schools was a jazz number with a scat solo. Today, it makes my inability to remember lyrics a minor nuiscence or a great opportunity to scale mountains with rapid fire syllables.
Often when not paying attention I will find myself humming it under my breath. I stand by my assertion that it can be liturgical music in the right circumstance.
Yes, the Mahna Manha song has definately produced good fruit.
Thank you Jesus….and Jim Henson.