Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October, Kirtan in Brighton and Ann Arbor, Kozora at Edgefest, Everyday Heroines Debut, GLTW with Sameep Kulkarni

Hello, and Happy Halloween!

It has been a nice relaxing refelctive month for me. I have been doing a lot of practicing, and a little bit of playing. One of the nice shows that happened was up in Brighton, MI. at a Yoga studio. The Ann Arbor Kirtan group was invited up to do a night of Kirtan. It went great. I was so proud of everyone pulling together and putting on a great event. The group is really coming into it's own and the sound is developing nicely. Playing outside the comfort of the friends center was a great move. I think we also got a few new regulars. I was so happy I brought my C.D. to sell. When the Kirtan was over there was a line of people ready to buy one. A nice bonus at the end of the night.
A couple of weeks later I found myself playing music again with KOZORA. The show was on Friday the 19th. Ken Kozora got us a noontime show that was part of the Edgefest. Edgefest is an Ann Arbor music festival that features all kinds of experimental and new music. We played in a courtyard just outside the Kerrytown shops.

It was a surprisingly fun show to play. We really loosened up after a couple of pieces and all the work we have been doing this past year really showed itself. There were not many people in the courtyard, but all the store owners and patrons gave us lots of compliments when the show was over.
Later that day I was back at the Friends Center with the Kirtan group again. It was the biggest turnout we have ever had. I think the Brighton show had a lot to do with that. I was just enjoying the feel of the tabla in my hands. I have been enjoying the feel of the tabla so much lately. All the practice definitley has it's rewards.
The next night my wife Jody and I went to the new Arthur Miller Theater on the campus of U of M. It was the debut of 'Everyday Heroines' a dance theater piece by the Sadhana Dance Theater group.
Over the summer I recorded tabla for the piece, so I got to sit in the audience and just enjoy all the work come together. It was a real treat to see the dancers playing to my drumming without having to focus on playing. I could definitely get used to doing projects like this.
The following Wednesday I put on a performance/workshop with a new friend of mine from Pune, India named Sameep Kulkarni. We played at Go Like the Wind for all the 1st-9th graders. Sameep was on a tour for the first time in America mainly doing demonstration shows for students. He was not able to get a professional visa, so this trip was about making connections and sharing his talents. For me it was a taste of real Indian classical improvisation. We only rehearsed a little bit before the performance and then improvised on the spot. He definitely pushed me to my limits on the tabla. In the past it may have made me uncomfortable, but these days I am eager to know what I need to do to get myself up to par for on-th-spot performances like this. Sameep was great with the kids, and we had a great time playing. I am sure I will be writing about him some more in the near future.
So that is all for October. November is shaping up to be another interesting month of shows, and then it will be time to get ready for the big Mike Waite C.D. release party up in Marquette in December. It looks like the year is going to end with a bang!

Thanks for reading, and I will write again soon!

John

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