What a weekend!!

Nepali-Bhutanese dance at the Terrabeat Cultural Showcase in Louisville (August 5, 2011)

As I mentioned in a previous post(s), I’ve finally done a solo show.  No, not my first–I’ve played plenty of solo shows before as a noise artist or as a solo cellist, but last Friday’s Terrabeat Cultural Showcase was the first as a singer/cellist.  I’ve been posting videos from Friday night like crazy and am still going through the hundreds of photos I’ve taken.  So many wonderful immigrant artists in the Louisville area–it was a veritable mini-World Fest (which I’ll also be playing this year with my Arabic band, Ahel El Nagam)!

Bollywood Dance; Kathak Dance; Nepali BhutaneseDance; Kenyan Dance; music from Somalia; Sudan Vietnam; Burma; and so many others–this barely captures all that happened in those 7 hours on Friday night!

What was a great night was also a celebration of my late brother–who died exactly one year ago last Friday.  I think it was fitting that I helped celebrate the local diversity of the area that Joe and I grew up in and I hope that he would have enjoyed it had he been there.

The next day I had an artistic meeting with one of the projects that I’ve been really looking forward to the most since it’s inception nearly two years ago, Raks Makam.  Jessica and I had a great talk (she was also at the Friday show) and it looks like we finally have a much more solid plan for working up a presentation that we should be showing by the year’s end.  Likely we’ll have portions of it pop up here and there as we develop certain pieces.  I so love some of this Central Asian music and dance–I did manage to sing one of my all time favorite tunes, ‘Kor Arab’ (from Azerbaijan), last Friday and I think folks were really struck by it-the bartender thought it was some call to prayer (since it was the beginning of Ramadan an a room was set aside for the Muslims in the audience to pray) and was astonished to realize it was just the Thai guy with the cello–hah!

So I think Jess and I left the meeting feeling really good about where Raks Makam is going, and I really look forward to some of these new tunes–especially the Georgian tune, Jeirani:

Sweet Buddha, there is so much beauty in the world!

Saturday night, my bandmate from Ahel El Nagam, Denise (Oud), let me know about an Alma Gitana show that was happening at Cafe Classico–Alma Gitana is a Flamenco-Arabic fusion group with one of my favorite locals, George Wakim (Lebanese musician), playing Oud, Arabic violin, and singing.  It was a great time at the newly expanded space at Cafe Classico.  But also, I got to meet some new friends and old friends in the local Flamenco community, including a member of another local Flamenco group, Al Sur, Gareth Jones who just happened to be in town for a few days in between tours.  I’v had the pleasure of playing cajon/tabla with hm and Sid in an impromptu rehearsal and though I know they would both love to keep Al Sur going, it just may not be the right time for that yet.  Alas, I may have to wait a bit before I can add a Flamenco band to my long list of ethnic bands!  Hah!

Sunday, ended up being a day of rest for me.  Due to the storm my rehearsal with the Arabic band was cancelled, but it gave me some time to get some videos uploaded and, more importantly, reflect on the weekend.

Anyone interested in seeing videos, please visit the video page on my facebook account:

http://www.facebook.com/video/?id=367132601987

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