Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Festival of Light, Neutral Zone, Kirtan

Hello Friends,

The past week has been very inspirational. On Sunday I was at Washtenaw Community College for the Festival of Light. It was a festival all about different kinds of alternative healing and health. There were massage therapists, tarot card readers, palm readers, meditation specialists, health food professionals, etc. Dr. Dennis Chernin had a booth for his homeopathy practice and was slated to end the day with a demonstration of meditative music. We had about half of the Kirtan group there, but the vibe in the space was very different than the regular kirtan sessions. It was in a big lobby, so the sound echoed like crazy, which would be great, except for all the noise created by the festival goers buzzing around the booths. Earlier in the day I played a few pieces with Ken Kozora. He was doing his original stuff composed mainly on sequencers. I played some tabla along with it. It was very different than what I was used to doing with tabla, but he music fit the festival vibe perfectly. All in all, it was a good day of playing.
A few days later Meeta Banerjee and I were at the Neutral Zone in downtown Ann Arbor. The Neutral Zone is a meeting place for middle school and high school aged students. It is a really nice place with computers, pool tables, ping pong, foosball, a recording studio, and performance space. It had been a long time since Meeta and I have played together, and I must admit, I was feeling pretty nervous. As we began however, the nerves just melted away and it felt like the music was carrying us through the night, rather than the other way around. I was happy to see some of my Go Like The Wind students show up and sit right in the front. It was inspirational to have them listen to my music outside of the school setting. I was so pumped up afterwords, I felt like playing again. Meeta and I have some great things lined up this summer and I am looking forward to it now more than ever.
The wednesday performance left me eager to play again, and so I was happy to have Kirtan on Friday. It is definitely not the same as playing with Meeta, but it is an opportunity to play tabla for 2 hours straight which feels for my hands. The next night my Dad came down from Marquette to go to the Ravi Shankar concert in Detroit. It was a great concert. It was inspiring to see a man in his high 80's comanding the stage. He also had his daughter Anoushka with him. She has become a truly great artist herself. It was great to see such a great artist with my father and all after such a great week of playing tabla. Inspired is the best word to describe it all.

Thanks for reading, and I will talk to you soon.

John

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