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Global Music, Connecting Cultures Stories from the Rajasthani Road... from world music ensemble LIBANA

Delhi Concerts

USA | Tuesday, 15 February 2011 | Views [1461] | Comments [2]

Libana, Lexi, and Mamta after our concert at the Ravi Shankar Center in Delhi

Libana, Lexi, and Mamta after our concert at the Ravi Shankar Center in Delhi

Contrary to what we have written thus far, we have done more than drive around and buy things!!! We are now in Jaipur, Rajasthan after a 7 hour road trip yesterday, worthy of its own extended blog entry. But Libana gave three concerts while in Delhi. The first was at the most honorable and beautiful Ravi Shankar Center. The performance space was so beautiful and the acoustics were just crystalline. We knew that some amazing music had been created in that space and I was so honored to be there. It was a small but intimate audience, a mix of Westerners and Indians, and everyone sat on the floor on mats. As we began the concert with our big Nepali bell opening I Arise Facing East--the power went out. There was luckily no sound system, but as we sang "I am Asking Towards the Light" several of the staff members scurried about and lit candles. By the end of the next couple phrases the lights had come back on and the candles blown out. By the end of the next couple phrases, the lights were out again and the candle scurry happened again. But the lights finally came on for good --our vocal invocation finally worked! A young 20 year old Indian woman named Mamta who worked in the office was totally smitten with us all and many photos had to happen after the concert. She and Lexi (our traveling teen, Linda's 15 year old daughter)bonded and goodbye hugs ensued.

After the concert we were taking to a South Indian restuarant in a hotel. On the way there we passed a wedding procession in the streets complete with brass band, horse drawn carriages, a lot of celebratory hoopdela and a guy pushing a generator that was powering the spotlights that were being carried-- illiminating the procession.

The second concert culminated our week residency at AES on Friday night. A beautiful theater, filled up with the broader school community of international parents and staff and kids who would be perfoming with us. We did the first half of the concert ourselves, and some of the second half. But the second half also included some performances by the students that we had been working with. We had taught the Middle School chorus a Croatian song and the High School chorus a Bulgarian song--and then they combined and sang a Georgia Sea Islands song together. They were amazing!

But the showstopper was a combined African drumming and dance production number with around 90 4th graders that (mostly) Marytha and Linda had taught over the week. A row of 20 or more drummers (the school had that many tubano drums available!) playing with such power and steadiness of rhythm under Marytha's expert teaching guidance, and a joyous melee of dancing 4th graders in a choreography that had kept Linda awake for many hours one night in order to figure out! Honoring the Guinean Forest Spirit of Kakilambe, they sang, drummed and danced to an admiring audience.

We then went back to a really fun reception at the home of the man who brought Libana to AES--Douglas Beam, who we send ongoing gratitude to for having the vision of Libana coming to India.

Saturday night was a great experience at the American Cultural Center (the Cultural arm of the State Department that brings American performers to Indian audiences). It was a primarily Indian audience, and they loved it! So many people talked to us afterwards about the connective power of music, and the universality of humanity that they experienced in our performance. And they really appreciated our efforts at performing the Gujurati Garba (and totally dug our authentic costumes purcased at the market I described in an earlier blog!) Allison was interviewed by a Delhi newspaper...

So, Libana's first performances in India have been meaningful--each in their own way. What a life we lead--bringing music from the mountains of Bulgaria and the islands of Hawaii, from the deserts of the Arab World and the Civil Rights marches of the 60's--all to the capitol city of India. And to have our work respected and understood...what more could we ask for?





Thank you for these wonderfully evocative missives! It brings it all back when I read about the roads---crowded with every type of conveyance. I'm so proud of all of you for plunging into this adventure, and for carrying the message of connection through music to a country of 1 billion people! Love, Charlotte

  Charlotte Miller Feb 16, 2011 11:46 PM


It's wonderful reading these dispatches from the road!

love the story of asking for the light; well done. Looking forward to seeing and hearing lots more. are you going to post any photos here, too? Would LOVE to see you all there!


  Joan Feb 17, 2011 1:04 AM

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