It is Saturday. It has been a week today.
A week since what?
I'm not sure yet.
A week ago tonight I went to a concert with a friend. A new friend. Another one of those astonishing and marvellous people I am continuously amazed to find myself surrounded with. Let me mention again how incredibly lucky I am. Okay, so a new friend. Only this one's different from the others in two very fundamental ways.
One, he's not new. Not really. Talking about people and places, we randomly stumbled across the fact that we had met before. Well, not exactly met. But we'd been in the same space at the same time before. We thought we'd met at Gillian's community meeting, but no! All the way back in December, he was in the house in Sans Souci where we had that incredible coffee on the way back from the crazy Toco adventure night. What?! I guess we were supposed to properly meet and it just took a little longer than intended by ...the universe?
Two, I feel some kind of connection here. More so than with most other people I've met in the last months. Or maybe not more, but different. Yes, that's it. It's a different kind of connection. He's the kind of person I feel I can share some of my ideas with, the ones that many others wouldn't really know what to do with. Like this one about a very intriguing community project. I feel like I can be myself, be honest and open, and it makes me want to share. Usually, for me to get to that point with anyone takes a lot longer. And - and this is the crucial part - I feel like I can learn a lot from this guy. Like every time we talk, there's something I can take away from that exchange, that conversation. I hope I'm not mistaken, I really do.
The concert I'm now going to tell you about is but one example of this learning, but for now it is the simplest one to share this way.
At the time he asked me if I was going and, when I said that I hadn't even heard about it yet, extended an invitation to see if I wanted to come along with him and his friends we didn't yet know that we'd met before what we thought had been our first encounter. That came out later, chatting in one of the breaks between bands. So, because I'm trying to make myself say yes to things and live as many new experiences as possible, I accepted and we agreed to meet by the venue later that evening. I don't even want to imagine not having said yes, not having experienced that night. I am so grateful not to have missed it! He was late, but you know what he did? As soon as he knew he wouldn't make it on time he sent me a text to let me know and I wouldn't end up waiting. I told you, different. So we met up in front of the venue, him and his friend (who I'd also met at the community meeting, for real) and me. From the entrance we could already hear music wafting out into the street, carried on the breeze. It sounded good. We paid the admission and went inside, where the sound grew more intense. It sounded better. In that moment, I had no idea who that was, doing their soundcheck, but I knew I wanted to keep listening to that music. You might feel like I'm exaggerating here, but in that moment I felt like if I could bring those harmonizing voices and acoustic guitars home with me, I would never be sad again. Soothing, calming, stunningly beautiful. And I'm still not exaggerating.
And in case you read over it: that was only the soundcheck.
We got something to drink and settled down on a staircase a little to the left of the stage. Finding a place where we'd be able to sit throughout the concert was something I was very greatful for, because not only do I consider my days of standing through hours of concert over (although I still find myself doing it anyways from time to time) but I felt like from that vantage point, I had a special view over everything. Observe the crowd without being in it, hear the music without getting distracted by people walking past, feet getting tired or back starting to hurt. And now please don't act like this is the first time I reveal what an old granny I am.
But back to what matters.
All the music we heard during the following hours was extremely good. All of it. Officially, this event called Uprising was W.I.R.K.'s concert, but they'd brought their musician friends as supporting acts. The two guys we'd heard when we arrived were one of those acts, Freetown Collective. This is their Facebook Page, in case you want to check them out and show your love and support. First up were The Burning Graves, next was Nickolai Salcedo from Gyazette, then Freetown Collective came back on stage - all of them played three songs each. Then, with all the supporting acts having shared their art, it was time for W.I.R.K.: West Indian Rhythm Konnection. So many inmensely talented artists in one single space, outstanding performances by all of them and the vibes that were felt in the place are impossible to describe.
I want to come back to Freetown Collective, though. Despite them not being the main act and despite it having been the first time I ever heard them perform. Just thinking about it, I am still blown away. How often do you listen to somebody sing and it touches you so much you can feel the hairs on your arms and on the back of your neck stand up - individually? How often do acoustic instruments and voices harmonize so perfectly that the soundwaves resonate inside you in a way that makes you feel like they're re-aligning everything inside you, from your physical organs to your soul, vibrating and touching and healing?
I am still not exaggerating.
Here is one of their songs that you can listen to on YouTube:
Put on your headphones, turn off everything else and for a mere five minutes, just feel.
This isn't one of the songs they played at Bohemia, where Uprising took place. But it's very similar. All of them are soulful, deep and have this special quality to them, where the singers' voices dig into you and nestle inside you and then stay there never to leave. I haven't heard any of the songs from the concert since that night, because - very unfortunately and very surprisingly - these guys don't yet have an album out, but I haven't forgotten the way they made me feel. Which is: at peace. Very much so.
♫ "Say what you want, I've got to hold on to my decision...
and that is love." ♫
As I said in the beginning, this happened a week ago tonight. And I truly do not know what it was that happened to me. Did I fall in love with music all over again? Yes. Did I stumble across, or rather was taken to, new artists that I want to hear a lot more from? Definitely, yes. Did I have one of the most special concert experiences of my life so far? Most certainly. Was there something more to it, still? Yeah, and what that is I still have to figure out. I'm not sure yet. We'll see.
I shall, for now, remain waiting for a next opportunity to hear them live and soak up their overwhelmingly positive energy. And in the meantime, I hope I'll get to hang out with my new-but-not-that-new friend, Kwesi, because I feel like there's probably more awesomeness where that came from.
I hope you like what I'm sharing with you and that in listening to this song you'll also find a little calm in the stress of our everyday lives. A little break from the loud and the fast and the aggressive.
In the words of some of the people I have around me at the moment:
Love and light!