15 April 2020
ManuElla, Slovenia’s Eurovision Song Contest representative in 2016 with Blue And Red, has released a new song called Only Love to help us all get through these difficult times of isolation due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It’s simply a wonderful song and a wonderful tribute to really the only thing that matters in life.
We have come to a point in time when the world has “stopped for a moment”, and we have all been given the same opportunity – to look at ourselves and our lives from another perspective; what is really worth living for and what drives us further?
Although my team and I had planned to wait to release this music that we’ve worked so hard on and are so excited about, we’ve decided that now is the time to release the first song from the upcoming album. We feel that it has a powerful message that wants to be heard in these times. This is the reason that we make music and we are excited to share it with you.
ManuElla asked her fans to contribute to the official video to show how we experience love. Obviously I could only think of my dear Mumsey, who I lost a year ago today and, yes, that’s her at 2:52 sitting in a train waving to me.
This footage was taken in November 2017 in Japan on the way to Kishi station on the Kishigawa Line to see Nitama the cat, who is the official stationmaster there. My mom was daydreaming, looking ahead and enjoying the trip, when I decided to film her. I began waving, trying to distract her, hoping to capture a good reaction. Normally she’d tell me to buzz off; this time she smiled and waved back.
This was a really special train trip, as Kishi station is the last stop on the Kishigawa Line – the only line run by Wakayama Electric Railway. The line almost closed until a cat named Tama was made stationmaster of Kishi station in 2007, and that helped save the line. When she passed away in 2015, Nitama became the new stationmaster. This was widely reported at the time, and that’s how we knew about it. It’s a quaint train line with themed trains including Strawberry, Plum, Toy and Tama herself, and Kishi station itself is shaped like a cat. The line is accessed from Wakayama station – about an hour from Osaka – and is easy to find as you just follow the paw prints and cat symbols inside the station and on the platforms.
I’d already taken my mom to Japan in 2014 as part of a broader overseas trip and in 2015 for cherry blossom season, and we went in 2017 for the autumn foliage, to see Nitama and another cat-inspired place – Gotokuji Temple. This temple is home to thousands of maneki-neko, or lucky cats, and it’s here that I fulfilled my mom’s final wish: return her maneki-neko to Gotokuji Temple.