Sanity Savers 19: Hope

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I’ve been having a hard time taking pictures… Paris is gray and cold, there’s a national psychodrama going on due to the presidential elections, the atmosphere is very heavy.

I look for openings in the clouds. No matter who is elected on Sunday, we will have to keep hope alive, as we are doing in the US, by every means possible.

Some lightness from Emily Dickinson:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.”
And what if we are extra kind to everyone we meet every day? Can that open the clouds, even a little bit?

To be continued xxxxx Aliss

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Sanity Savers 13: Real Music (updated 30/3)

Omar Sosa (Cuban pianist), Seckou Keita (Sengalese Kora), Gustavo Ovalles (Venezuelan percussionist), Meiko Miyazaki (Japanese Koto), and Ana Carla Maza (South American cellist, singer), recent concert at Café de la Danse…DSC03309

Perfect concerts are very rare. If you want to experience one, catch this ensemble on tour to promote Sosa and Keita’s latest collaboration, Transparent Water. Would you call it World Jazz? There seem to be different guest stars depending on the evening, bringing unique influences and styles. On March 16th, the line-up was Afro-Cuban, Asian, Afro-Arabic, and Latin American, beginning with Ana Carla Maza’s spirited singing in English, Spanish, and French, accompanying herself on electric cello. Her version of Serge Gainsbourg’s “La Javanaise” was a show-stopper. She was followed by the three men, who were later joined  by the Japanese virtuoso. Everything was gorgeous and surprising: sound quality, lighting, variety and intricacy of instruments, non-verbal communication between musicians, their delight in each other’s skill and playfulness, vocal solos, and harmonies. It all blended together in a pulsating sensual caress. Especially fascinating: the huge Kora looked like an extraterrestrial antelope’s head with dozens of strings stretching from its horns down its back and the Koto like a giant sea-creature carcass with many ivory bridges supporting its thread-like “bones.” Among the percussionist’s accessories was a wooden tube that released a subtle curtain of water and sparkling  treble notes into a miked bassin.  Enjoy! xxxxx Aliss

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Sanity Savers 5: Celebrate!

dsc03231Today is February 2, Ground Hog Day, Candlemas, La Chandeleur!

Dinner tonight: buckwheat crêpes with cheese, ham, fresh mushrooms sautéd in butter and garlic, maybe an egg, and a glass of hard cider… A blend of pagan, religious and culinary traditions:

“Among the Celts, the pagan celebration of Imbolc occurred on the first of February. This was in honor of the goddess Brigid and was associated with purification and fertility at the end of winter. Peasants would carry torches and cross the fields in procession, praying to the goddess to purify the ground before planting.

In churches, the torches were replace by blessed candles whose glow was supposed to take away evil and symbolize that Christ is the light of the world. They would then take the candles to their homes to bring protection to their homes. In 1372 this celebration would also be associated with the purification of Mary at the Temple (similar to the churching of women).

Crêpes with their round form and their golden color are reminiscent of the sun, an appropriate symbol during Candlemas, as this is the time of the year when the days get longer. It is also the time of year when the winter seeds begin to grow. The people therefore used left-over flour to make these crêpes, symbolizing prosperity for the coming year.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candlemas#Lupercalia

“In the United Kingdom, good weather at Candlemas is taken to indicate severe winter weather later: ‘If Candlemas Day is clear and bright, / winter will have another bite. / If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain, / winter is gone and will not come again.’[22] It is also alleged to be the date that bears emerge from hibernation to inspect the weather as well as wolves, who if they choose to return to their lairs on this day is interpreted as meaning severe weather will continue for another forty days at least.

“In the United States, Candlemas coincides with Groundhog Day, the earliest American reference to which can be found at the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center at Franklin and Marshall College. The reference implies that Groundhog Day may have come from a German-American Candlemas tradition:

Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.

— 4 February 1841—from Morgantown, Berks County (Pennsylvania) storekeeper James Morris’ diary, [2]

In France and Belgium, Candlemas (FrenchLa Chandeleur) is celebrated with crêpes.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presentation_of_Jesus_at_the_Temple

“In addition, the Festa candelarum in Rome commemorated the search for the Goddess of Light Persephone kidnapped by the King of the Other World Hades, by her mother the Goddess of Life Demeter. As Persephone was no longer in our world, darkness was everywhere, so her mother used a torch in her search, and in the end obtained that her daughter would be on Earth and Olympus for two thirds of the year (the light period), and in the Other World (Hades) for the other third of the time (winter season). The festival of candles symbolizes the return of the Light.

February takes its name from the Latin verb februare which means ‘purification’. Christianity has therefore placed the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin at this time. The purification in question is the departure of the ‘winter darkness’. The myths of Sleeping Beauty or Theseus and Ariadne (for example) relate to the release or liberation of the light (Dawn of the year) by the ‘solar knight’.”

Bon appétit!

xxxxxx Aliss

Why I’m here

Pixelated Paris sky…DSC02719

To stand on this bridge, looking into the light, full of conversations with others drawn to this place by love of words, ideas, color, images, sound, rhythm… thinking of everyone I care about, sending out this picture…This is why I’m here…