Tuesday, February 22, 2011

East Meets West

Ever heard a concert so engaging that the cares of your day were swept away like dust?  What effect does music have on you?

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs
And as silently steal away.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Day Is Done


On the evening of February 17th Delmastreo Auditorium’s parking lot is spilling over with cars. Not an empty space in sight.  We follow the line of traffic in the same predicament: all searching for a single place to park.  At last we pull into Sallie B. Howard’s lot and walk to the concert. 
As expected, the auditorium is jam-packed.  A woman ushers us to the front where we miraculously find four available seats near the stage.  Now we can all sit together: my daughter and me, a friend of mine, and one of my students, all of whom rode with me to the event.  
Within a minute of taking our places, the music begins.  In chorus we rise for the Sri Lankan National Anthem.  From there Udeshi transports us into the heart of her native land on skillful wings with her violin bow and strings. 

Far from a foreign tone-producing instrument, Udeshi’s violin is an extension of her physical self, voicing pure and melodious the songs of her homeland: Danno Dudunge…Gajaga Wannama…Lanka Lanka…Ratna Deepa… Babi Archchige…    
She is accompanied by Dexter Ruffin on piano, and Horace Raper on percussion.  (You can see a few of Horace’s paintings – renaissance man that he is - in an earlier post of mine, “Literary Friends,” from the January archives).

We sit captivated primarily by the music, but are also enchanted by the images of Sri Lanka via Mark Hargett’s background slideshow.  Mark is Udeshi’s beloved husband, a local architect – who is also handy with a camera. 
Later that evening the acoustic trio presents a few of our western treasures: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik…Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring… Adoration….The Pink Panther Theme…William’s Theme from “Schindler’s List…Praeludium… encore!       
Prior to performing Theme from “Mission Impossible,” Udeshi reminisces about her growing-up years in Sri Lanka, and tells her audience how her family and friends enjoyed watching American films.  These movies inspired in her a desire to uproot and move to the United States.
Mission accomplished.  Udeshi ends up at Barton College, one block over from my house.  And now lives just a few houses down my street with Mark, the love of her life. 
Stay tuned for lessons we’ve learned from our friends Udeshi and Mark. 

Ever heard a concert so engaging that the cares of your day were swept away like dust?  What effect does music have on you?


  1. Debra this is so coincidence! I'd written a poem with a melodic tone in it, showered by all the inspirations I had of my travels. And reading your post now puts a smile on my face... :D

    Music is my language... It gives me inspiration and joy in everything I do. Whether I'm sad, lonely, happy or just in the mood for relaxing and chilling out, I always turn to music to satisfy my mood. It relieves stress in all its special way so fascinating that it eases my soul and calms my well being... Music energizes my senses and keeps me motivated and hence, I can't live without it....

    Well done Debra! You had me going again with my thoughts...:)XOXO

  2. Jorie, when I saw your recent post on music in your travels I thought: great minds do think alike :) Everything you write has a musical air about it. Music cleanses the understanding; inspires it, and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself. Bravo!

  3. I once listened to music more than today.But I still enjoy music from time to time,very good post thanks for sharing. Blessings jane

  4. I wish there was a video here. My next stop is to try and find one. This is beautiful, the descriptions are perfect to take you through a wonderous night.

    The last music I sat live through was my son, singing in Chapel Choir. I wasn't able to sit near the front but the atmosphere combined with the instrumentals and the voices of angels just take me to places I never want to leave.

  5. music of such quality, is a soul gift, and in turn is soul moving. perhaps I should say soul lifting.

    it's often I think why we find ourselves, with goosebumps or moved to tears.

    and aren't such tears a sign that the soul is being stirred?

  6. Thank you Jane!

    SJ, I’d have loved to post a video for all to enjoy, but it isn’t ready at this time:( I just wanted to seize the day and follow the muse’s prompting.

    Love this description of your son’s Chapel Choir music: atmosphere... instrumentals...and the voices of angels – a perfect blend for a glorious concert!

  7. Sounds of a beautiful concert Debra. Personally I cannot live without music being on anywhere I am. It has to be on or I just go mad, in the house, car, walking or shopping. It moves my soul more than anything can.

    I've only been to a ballet once and that took me away to a very nice place.

    Cheers A

  8. Debra I love music and teach to music from various parts of the world. However I love the combination of East and West... something magical about it.

  9. It was AMAZING and so uplifting. Udeshi, you have such talent. Such an enjoyable concert!! Encore!!

  10. When different cultures cross and come together to make beautiful music there is no way you can go wrong. I do with there was a video or a sample piece of Udeshi music :(


  11. Kathleen, yes music is a language of the soul, for it indeed stirs the emotions. This particular concert was uplifting and brought pure joy to the audience. The performers seemed to be enjoying themselves so much that it was contagious!

    Alejandro, it sounds like you are raising Amelie to be a music lover too, like her dad :) I happen to know that you also have good taste, as I’ve seen a few videos you’ve posted. You have class, my friend.

    Savira, I’ve noticed the cultural diversity in music on your site. It’s relaxing, soothing, and meditative. Teaching to music makes the job all the more enjoyable – you are blessed in this.

    Abi, I couldn’t agree with you more. Encore!

    Jessica, I wanted to post a video, but it isn’t ready yet. As a writer you know how the muse works…you just go with the flow and trust your readers’ imaginations to fill in the blanks :) But I do hope I can present an actual audio in the near future.

  12. Music was always a component of my life. I grew up playing acordian (basically polkas for my parents, don't laugh) and then graduated to playing guitar when I became a teenager. My best friend and I would play duets, me on my guitar and him on his banjo, until he was killed in a car accident at the age of 18. I took it really hard. I still have my guitar, but haven't played since. Not sure I would even remember how to after so many years have passed.
    Great post and love the photos!

  13. The music sounds unforgettable. And the friendship sounds like music.

    I kind of don't want to say anything else - that was poetic :)

    God Bless

  14. I'm so glad you were able to attend the concert. It sounds as though it was wonderful. Music sure does life my soul. It's a universal language.

  15. Mary, I can see you now, playing those polkas on the accordion for your parents *chuckle.* I played guitar as a teen too. Songs like “Ain’t no Sunshine; You’ve got a Friend; Lean on Me…” Those were the days…
    You must have been devastated over the loss of your dear friend and fellow musician. Little wonder you haven’t picked up the guitar since.

    Craig, you are poetic :) And your words are always inspired and blessed. A treasure to many.

    Brenda, we wouldn’t have missed it for anything. You’re right; music is a universal language.

  16. Debra,
    I am very happy you came to my blog and left a comment because it allowed me to find yours :) I am now following you and adding you to my RSS, I really enjoy your writing and point of view. I did comment back to you.

    As for music, it has been a part of my life since I was very young always trying to learn different instruments. But when music took the biggest role in my life is this past year going through chemotherapy treatments. When I really needed to just relax I would put on my favorite music (Eva Cassidy or classical) and just lay with my eyes closed. It was a perfect way to meditate and relax. It is amazing how powerful the effect music can have on our bodies and minds.

  17. Debi, Thank you for featuring me in your blog and saying such nice things about my concert! It was great to have friends like you & Abby there. My accompanists and I had a blast and hope we get the opportunity to do this again!
    <3 Udeshi

  18. Sounds like it was an amazing night. I'd also love to see a video of the concert! Music is a gift...it spurs on our spirited joy, soothes our sorrows, and seems to communicate to the deepest parts of us when language falls short.

  19. Aaron, your comment here triggered a desire in me to go back and listen to Eva Cassidy’s rendition of “Fields of Gold”, a recording I’ve played in the past over and over but haven’t heard in awhile. Now you can add one more element to the fueling of the creative process: music. I also went back and read about your experience with leukemia and chemotherapy. What a story you have! I’ll be returning often to learn more from you now that I’ve discovered your writing.

    Udeshi, the pleasure is mine. You may know by now that my readers are requesting a video :) You must have practiced for hours on end to produce such excellence. I can only imagine how much time and energy you all invested. No doubt a lot of gigs will ensue from this concert!

    Jessica, amen girl! “Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.” ~ Santiz

  20. Great post Debra, I love music and tend to use it to escape from the "world". Music can make you cry, laugh and feel relaxed all at once.

  21. Music is the essence of living i think. Would love to know more about Udeshi - she sounds beautiful. My day is made by the first number I hear on the radio - sets the tone you know. Love the pics and the descriptions in this one.

  22. Debbie, I like the way you describe music as an escape from the "world." It has the capacity to engage the emotions more than any other art form.

    Kriti, you will hear more about Udeshi in a future post.
    Music is a great way to start the day, yes indeed.

  23. Debbie, yes...music has a way of soothing away the cares. Your description of this concert was wonderful and I felt like I had a front-row seat as well. Thank you.

  24. Thank you Bonnie, I enjoyed sharing the experience.
    ~ Joy!

  25. This sounds like an amazing event! Sri Lanka holds a special memory in my heart... (you mentioned the anthem), as when I was a PTA president, I headed up a fundraiser for a Priest there, who was a brother of a teacher in my childrens school. It was for the victims of the tsunami.

  26. Sheila, stayed tuned for an upcoming post on Udeshi's experience during the tsunami - and more.

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