In a pre-digital world, handwritten letters were the only way to reach someone leaving behind physical breadcrumbs and clues for anyone who might encounter them in the future.
For Houston’s Amanda Pascali, a batch of old love letters to her father from a woman she never knew named Mihaela sparked a chain of wonder rooted in the uncanny possibility that if things had passed differently, Pascali herself could be someone completely different.
This is the premise of Pascali’s latest single “Mihaela, Mihaela” which will be released on May 26th. “Mihaela, Mihaela” is the last single from Pascali’s forthcoming EP, The messenger to be released this summer.
She will perform at Anderson Fair on Friday May 28 and is planning an album release show at the Heights Theater for the release of her EP.
Pascali came across the letters when she was 17 and visiting her father’s home country of Romania, where they stayed in her grandmother’s old apartment. As she tried to read them without really knowing how to read the language, she knew the letters said something meaningful but needed her father’s help to really break them down.
“I’m really lucky to have such a close relationship with my dad that we can talk about some of these things and he feels comfortable talking about it,” says Pascali, who often uses l influence of his parents. travels to the United States and the experiences of all immigrants as the inspiration behind his work.
“Maybe he wasn’t comfortable talking about it, but somehow he did,” she adds. Talking about those letters opened a young Pascali’s eyes to the idea that her mother and father could easily have been other people, leading her down a rabbit hole of possibilities for her and them while realizing that They were more than his parents, they were people with lives and feelings beyond his knowledge.
The letters were addressed to “Private Pascali”, as the heartbroken young Mihaela did not know the whereabouts of Pascali’s father after he was sent to a forced labor camp and later decided to immigrate to the United States.
Her father never responded to the woman’s desperate pleas to know not only where he was, but also how he felt about her and their shared love. When asked if he had contacted her before, Pascali says Mihaela contacted him through Facebook.
“He hasn’t forgotten her, it’s just that at that moment that chapter of his life ended. He always tells me that when he was preparing to come to the United States, he s said, “My life is pretty much over. I’m going to America and I’ll probably wash toilets for a long time in America, but it’s better than where I come from now.”
“Mihaela, Mihaela” was written by Pascali shortly after the experience of digging up and exploring the letters. As a teenager, she recorded the song in her music teacher’s garage, but the song continued to stick with her as her sound, artistry, and voice evolved.
“The reason I decided to re-record it is because there are so many songs I’ve written since I was a kid that I’ve outgrown it but this song just kept growing with me. I think I I wrote about one particular thing at the time and as I got older it became many other things.
“It’s a song that has layers and I think in a weird way when I was writing it, I didn’t know exactly how many layers it had while I was writing about it, it was like it’s was something greater than I could comprehend and yet I still produced it.
The song incorporates heavy strings in a classic arrangement leading to a crescendo of rock and roll energy and angst, a self-proclaimed nod to Pascali’s teenage years where she played weekends with a rock band. before establishing himself as a folk artist.
“It’s a song about the multiverse. It’s a song about the different versions of myself that might exist in other universes if my parents had made different decisions, but it’s also a song about to be grateful for the person I have become in this life to know about all the decisions my parents made and to continue to learn about those decisions as I get older and to continue to make my own decisions to chart the course of my own life.
“Mihaela, Mihaela” is for streaming and Amanda Pascali will perform Friday, May 27 at Anderson Fair, 2007 Grant. 7:30 p.m., $27.