|Lorraine "Looking Up, Not Down"|
Writing about creative work links to what happens in a person's day. Since my last post, inspiring things have occurred such as my recent presentation of terrific singer Nicolas Bearde, acquisition of a special guitar helping me to raise the bar on my technical playing, and arrival of 72" width cotton/archival paper allowing my wings to spread more as I draw. Since my last post, we have also become aware of troubling events. By now we are very familiar with the name Trayvon Martin, a very young American Black male shot to death. Within the context of a country long since in conflict with its own reflection in the national mirror, it's even more disturbing and discouraging. For many, Trayvon's death hovers in our thoughts because it's not a new occurrence and we know it can easily happen to any of us, our children, family, and friends. Over the decades I've wondered how long it will take for our country to develop beyond its puberty stage (i.e. common identity conflicts: "I wish I were someone else, I hate my hair, I don't like my body, my family is weird") and finally accept what this country has always been, culturally diverse. Cultures are assets not a "condition" to correct.
Since issues of American identity are complex, long standing, and pervasive, the idea of "answers" or responses is daunting. Even to approach the subject, there are stages to be met and faced as individuals and as a group, in this case as a whole country. Recovering alcoholics know, there has to be a shift forcing an individual to "admit" there's a problem, own it, then commit to stages toward a healthier existence that are lifelong and an ongoing daily navigation. Racism/sexism is an orientation we've all been exposed to, like airborne infections. As children, we did not choose to be exposed, but we all were in one form or another. "Treatment" can only begin with acceptance that an "illness" exists and that none of us is outside the circle of exposure. As a country we're still having difficulty admitting a problem exists. So, given all this, it's no wonder the brain can seize up as it considers what actions, big or small, to take that can have any meaningful affect.
What seems to be true throughout history is how powerful creative/artistic work can be in helping to realign away from fear and loathing, toward more positive aspects of our human capacity. Because creative artists respond from more than the brain center, artistic work can break the spell of "looking down," instead experiencing creative work can lift our line of sight and our spirit. I imagine it as an "alignment" that's regularly required in order to feel and see more clearly. "Joy brings miracles," a line in my recent song More Than One Way To Get Home, makes this point. Here's the link in case you want to revisit it with these thoughts in mind: www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWQuvSgGjsU
So, as I write about Nicolas Bearde, my guitar, or my drawing, you are also aware of what's been hovering in my mind and heart. As you know by now, for me, life and art are not separate functions.
|Nicolas Bearde, Singer/Songwriter|
|Concert Introduction, Lorraine|
|Nicolas Bearde, Lorraine, Aaron Germain, William Beatty|
|First Set: William Beatty, Aaron Germain, Nicolas Bearde|
Intermission is always a pleasure. Guests enjoy the figure food, each other, and have a chance to connect with musicians performing and those in attendance. Here are some photos I took to share.
|Fun and diverse group in conversation|
|Ani and Cynthia|
|Noam and Nicolas|
|Dinorah, Nancy, Emilio|
After a leisurely intermission, the lights flick on and off noting that it's time for the second set to begin. As everyone files toward the downstairs door, Nic and the band begin working their instruments in preparation. The entire set is generous on many levels. I find that musicians connect with the audience in this venue and give so much of themselves in terms of set length and their performance. Those present know it and feel a close connection because the musicians are right in front of them and it's more personal than they'd normally experience. Also a vocal educator, Nic finds moments in the set to encourage audience vocal support of a song or two. People love an excuse to sing and this warmed up crowd was no exception.
|Nicolas begins 2nd set/Aaron Germain in rear/photo: Lorraine García-Nakata|
During intermission, Nicolas and I spoke. He mentioned that he'd be interested in conducting a vocal workshop if I was up to hosting it. I've taken his vocal workshops before and they are so inspiring and terrific in terms of vocal technique. Several others overheard and so we moved forward on this endeavor. It's scheduled for Saturday, April 21st, from noon to 4:00 p.m. If you are interested in having more information on this workshop, shoot me an email note and include your email address so that I can send the invite. I'd been in conversation with several musicians about beginning a workshop series, so it appears that the Nicolas Bearde vocal workshop is my inaugural 2012 Master Artist Series. Love the way things unfold when it's time.
It can be tempting to consider presenting this series in a larger venue for many reasons, but what I've found over the years is that this small venue model works on many levels. I've presented in big professional venues and know how to get it done, but I also know the overhead and logistics required to make it successful. For me, this smaller venue keeps it pleasurable, makes room for quicker decision as to which musicians to present, and affords a unique experience for those attending that prefer hearing terrific groups in an intimate setting. For now, I'll stick to what works. It seems to reconcile with guests and performers because musicians are introduced and supported, guests experience wonderful talent, and all present find a few hours to pause all the worries, stress, and pressures.
I hope it wasn't too much beginning this post with what has hovered heavy in my mind. It's hard to scribe things about my creative work and activity without also sharing some elements of what drives the work. It also has much to do with why I've always enjoyed presenting other talented artists. At these intimate concerts, people of various ages, genders, persuasions, and cultures come together to simply enjoy the moments. It seems a simple thing, but in the scheme of all that goofy stuff going on out in the public arena, it's something I enjoy and it makes sense. It's a small act I believe helps shift the axis toward a healthier human condition––a creative attitude alignment and spirit lift. We need lots of them.
Today, I started drawing a piece as a gift to my son, Kanichi, who turns twenty-one this week. So, I'm up on a ladder, pushing that charcoal and pastel around on a large sheet of 100% cotton rag archival paper. I'm also enjoying playing my recently acquired Martin OM guitar. I can share more about that later. There's so much to do when moving between music, writing, and drawing, but I'm the happiest I've been for a very long while.
I'll leave you with that for now. My best to you,
|Thank you Emilio and Elena Banuelos for your help on the concert!!!|
web site: http://lorrainegn.com/
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