Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Welcome Iceland

Mim, Ted, Katherine, Danielle and I are gathered in the sanctuary with Laura Simms. We’re talking about the power of story. It’s capacity to transform. I talk about the idea (again) of people becoming the subject of thier own history. Of controlling  the narrative of one’s own life. Of the growing discourse of transformation across the world away from simple materialistic understandings of reality to  mor humnaist perpectives.  The role of story in community building and intergenrational bridging. And Laura sees the comnetion with #ows. We need ti fins a place for her here. 

Graduale Nobili

In the afternoon, there are the sounds of Graduale Nobili in rehearsal. They are an Icelandic women’s chorus, here in New York City on tour with Bjork. Their ethereal sounds are filling the sanctuary. A couple from the coop to the north of us has come to talk about sound. Apparently they are on the first floor, the situation is unsettling, perhaps nerve wracking. I' m sensitive, want to be accomadating, but also want to be reasonable. I'm not ready to completely shut down tbe backyard. They are appreciaitive of Danielle’s attention. I recognize the man as the guy who came in at the end of Brandon’s ..Winged Victory...concert virtually ranting. The sound of Graduale Nobili continues. 
I have no idea what to expect and so am impressed to find a nearly full sanctuary waiting for the concert. Where did thy all come from? Tonight we seem to be the center of Icelandic culture n New York City.  It is a seriously Scandinavian crowd. And the choir is serioulsy white, the whitest women I’ve seen in a long time. They sing Icelandic folks songs with cold, dark edges, a suite by Lorca, a piece of a commissioned mass, an Ave Maria by Holst with the choir on either side of the balcony. And best of all, a new work by Bjork’s percusioonist  Manu Delago featuring a new Swiss instrument from Switzerland called a hangd, looking like a space saucer, sounding like a mash up of steel drum and hand drum and shepherd’s bells. there is an almost otherworldly, breathy,  beauty to their performance. The audience calls themback for more. 
Councilmember Brewer is there for this international event in her district. Many leaving thank her for publicizing the concert in her e-blast, only way they knew about it. I tell David and Leila that their dad, Samir, would have loved this concert. They agree. David laughs, Both the music ...and the women...I’m sure he was here...., he says.  This night was a part  of his vision for what we should  be. 
Rafael’s crew is handling the doors. There’s the concert. And now a theatre benefit getting underway upstairs, the F love Club anti-valentine’s party.  I share a drink with them. Time to leave. 
Later Rafael calls. the man from next door has come over complaining. Saying  its illegal. will call the cops, etc. Rafael talks him down, tells the dj to turn it down, takes the man to the backyard, accomplanies him to his home ot demonstrate that the sound is inaudible.  I leave it all oin his ands. 

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