Peter Hentges (jbru) wrote,
Peter Hentges

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You're welcome

I attended the Winter Solstice drum jam and dance at the Cedar Cultural Center last night. It was, as predicted, a gathering of the hippy tribe. All your favorite hippy people were there. Tie-dye, tattoos, piercings and dreadlocks abounded. People danced in that loose-limbed, ecstatic way that only hippies can. As an added bonus, there were several folks whirling about those toys on chains that look vaguely like martial arts weapons. Or would if they didn't terminate in glowing balls that change color as they're whirled about, making kaleidoscopic effects in the darkened room. Also, there was enough incense to satisfy the inner Catholic in all of us.

I found a spot on the edge of the stage and settled in to drum. I realized quickly that between the kettle drums, the bass drums, the doumbeks and all the other drums, that one lonely bodhran was not going to make an impact. I was there for myself, though, so that didn't matter. I realized then what it seemed most did not: Any single individual drummer was lost in the cacophony. Apart from the big kettle drums, it was nearly impossible to hear an individual drummer, certainly not more than a few feet away. The beat of all those drums, though, filled the room. Each little addition added up to a massive presence. So I mostly dispensed with any "performance" and just let myself fall into the beat. (This also served to take it easy on my recently-injured wrist, which was a good thing.) It wasn't about being heard, it was about adding to the whole.

I saw three performances of the fire dancers, all of which were intriguing and effective. Some of the dancers seemed novices, but the more practiced danced with the energy and vigor you might expect from someone who plays with fire often. One woman, in particular, struck me as passionate and practiced. And one man was just this side of crazy. He danced bare-chested, with long hair spilling down his shoulders, whipping sticks and chains tipped with flame about his body as if he half-expected to be set alight and eagerly anticipating the possibility.

One of the fire dancers also appeared to have appointed himself as ambassador of of mystery and delight. He would appear in the circle of dancers at irregular intervals, bringing scarves, flags, bells or other toys to add just a bit of the wondrous to the mix. I half-expected puppets from Heart of the Beast to appear at any moment, bringing allegory and myth fully into the space.

I arrived at about 8:30 and stayed until about 12:30, out-lasting minnehaha by an hour or two. I came home, had something to eat and slept until about 4:00.

The sun rose at 7:49 this morning. I claim full responsibility.
Tags: community, holiday, music

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