My name is Jonny and this is my Mom.
I remember when I first found out about Alive Inside.
It was the summer of 2016, and I stumbled on a video of an elderly man with dementia putting on a pair of headphones. Within seconds of hearing music from his childhood, his expression brightened and he began to talk and sing along.
As wild as that video is, I can’t say that it surprised me. When I look back on my life so far, I often divide it into chapters based on whatever style of music I was into at that time. Music is powerful - certain songs have the power to not only invoke certain memories, but also the feelings that go along with them.
How wild is that?
Me playing our family organ around 1987-88
In the summer of 2016 I started writing this album. It was around that time that my mom referred to me as “that other guy” because she had forgotten my name...one of those dreaded milestones in the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. I knew it was time to start the hard work of processing what was happening, and I knew the greatest tool in my arsenal was going to be music.
Over the next 4 years, my songs became my safe place to grieve and explore all the varied emotions that go along with losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s. But it wasn’t all sadness - some songs, such as Pots & Pans, would evoke joy and laughter as I looked back on fond memories of my childhood that my mom helped create. I began to realize that although my mom was losing these memories, these happy events were still very real and formed me into who I am today.
My mom, dad, and I on Christmas mid 90s
This past year I set out to compile all our home video footage and create a visual experience to accompany the music. Turns out we have a pretty vast library of footage that ranges from the 1960s to today. This part of the project added a whole new dimension to my understanding of my mom, dad, and siblings. These glimpses of the past reminded me of the happy-go-lucky child I once was, how wonderful my family is, and how vital a role my mom played in it.
This album may never win a Grammy, but it is something I’m so proud to present to you today. Although my mom passed before I was able to give her the final product, my own spirit has healed so much because of it.
My hope is that this album awakens old memories in you, and that it reminds you to cling to the joys of your past and let them inspire your present and future.
Me on the last day of recording; taken by John Boyle (upright bass)
Thank you so much for reading and listening. Please consider purchasing the album and streaming it on your favorite service (links below) as 33% of the proceeds will go to Alive Inside to further their work caring for our elders.
Thank you, Alive Inside, for your encouragement, help, and for doing all that you do!
Jonny Gerber (Malingo)
iTunes/Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/fay/1523743049
Amazon Music: https://music.amazon.com/albums/B08D7QC836
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Malingo_Fay?id=Bt5ofzyu46nsx4urzoc4bs6k5rq&hl=en_US
Note from Alive Inside:
This is a beautiful project! Please watch the video Jonny made. As a filmmaker, I really appreciate it!
Love to you all,