The Salon theme was “Intimacy” and it came true in so many different expressions! Our idealistic MC, Ralph Potter, gave it resonance by highlighting how for a few hours everyone would be on a journey together, one that will never be repeated. The night was beautiful and the full moon, the brightest in 69 years, created stunning effects on the grass and boulders, and danced on the water stream. The Japanese garden was at its most beautiful.
The journey of Intimacy was marked by a selection of musicians that reflected strong global influences. The Moreau-Van Tuinen Duo of marimba and euphonium, was a spectacular surprise for the warmth and expressiveness of their sound. Both “Danielles” of the duo were comfortable connecting with the audience to share their personal journeys and the meaning of the music they so willingly shared. With “Pocket Grooves” by Gene Koshinski they led us to experience the Brazilian chorinho, the joropo from Venezuela, and Samai from the Middle East. The artists’ chemistry with each other and in connection with the audience, was evident from the beginning, and their technique so very precise. It was a delightful opening.
Myrlin Hepworth, a poet, rapper, and magician with words, came next with the sharp voices of street poetry. His poem dedicated to asserting the heroic power of women and calling for a redrawing of men’s attitude was powerful and embraced with long applause and shouts of approval. Hepworth’s poems painted with sharp colors the realities of the immigrant experience, and reflected a magical sensitivity toward the human search for equality and freedom. As if to honor the hip-hop character of his style, he closed with a musicate poem performed to the rhythm and cadence of hip-hop. In response to questions from the audience, Myrlin was bold, humorous, and honest in sharing his passion in an intimate fashion.
As if to remind us about the fleetingness of time, we were asked to travel back to the timeless sounds of medieval music. The Bartholomew Faire group, a well-known and highly respected ensemble, brought classic medieval instruments to life with stories, humor, and beautiful reproductions of original music. Everyone in the room was astonished by the sounds of another time and the intelligent descriptions of the music, their historic context, and the language in which they were written. For most of us who a long time ago studied Latin, it was amazing to learn some of the lyrics were written in Latin with dialects from Iberia.
From early Iberia to the Flamenco from Sevilla became a short distance in the exciting dance of Yumi La Rosa, a true master of this Spanish art form. Her dance was authentic, vibrant and full of passion. Yumi danced as if entranced and totally devoted to the moment, and brought the audience into an almost surreal intimacy with her rhythm and the sounds of zapateado (footwork). But as we came to learn it on Sunday, Flamenco had had its origin in the ancient dances of Indian Hindus. Yumi was appropriately joined on stage by Radhika Kotwal, a classical dancer and talented performer of Kathak, one of ten Indian classical dances. The similarities of Kathak and Flamenco were a show to the eyes, in the body, arms and hand movements, and in the rhythmic sounds of the bells around her ankles. The percussion sounds of Flamenco heels and Kathak’s ankle bells was just mesmerizing, and so unique.
Intimacy is something of an active process, requiring participation by all parties. Aside from the beautiful sharing of the heart by these amazing artists, an incredible audience allowed itself to be carried away into the beautiful night, witnessed by a rare full moon.
The next salon will be on Sunday, March 12, 2017.