Why do we crave art? What does it give us?
I always think about this when preparing for a show – like my show this Saturday at the Crosby Center in Belfast, Maine [read about the show – buy tix here – see my personal map of Maine so you can tell friends in New England]
I’ll tell you a story about that craving …
In Germany years ago, on tour with my band, I had sunk into a deep depression. It became a long stillness, a sleep-walk, after three minutes of elation. For three glorious minutes one night I had committed to being married – a surrender that opened the black, starry sky with willingness and possibility beyond anything I’d ever experienced.
Three minutes later the engagement was over.
Followed by days of crowded isolation — feeling alone and unable to experience what was around me, no matter how many people were there.
Oh, I looked like I was there, I almost thought I was — but it was as if I’d turned off the heat on my experience of life, put a lid on it and shifted it to the back burner.
I walked around like that for days, sleep-walking in a dim sense I wasn’t there, like no amount of coffee could wake me up.
Walking down a crowded market street – one of those cobbled old European pedestrian areas with no cars – I saw a group of street performers on the corner. Maybe five players, so engaged and alive – music flavored with Flamenco and rich harmonies.
I walked up close. I was drawn close – and I simply stood there. I watched, and listened, and experienced – not just the music, but the movement, the sound, the energy, the life – the experience of being there.
And I LOST myself in their performance.
And in that moment, all the darkness lifted. It was as if I’d been blocking the doorway to my own soul – and, with that ‘me’ out of the way – my soul came strolling back, refreshed and joyful.
I woke up.
I woke up.
To myself, to my life, to the possibility of living.
And THAT is why we crave art, music, dance, poetry: To be lifted from the burden of consciousness for a moment. To unblock the doorway of connection. To open the door to our souls. To wake up – from a sleep we we only half-perceive we’re in.
The experiencing of music – of art – opens the doorway to ourselves.
And THAT is why I play music.
For myself. For other people. To get lost so I can be found.
And that’s why I’ll be playing on the street as well as in the concert hall …
I’ll be playing on THE STREET in Belfast, Maine the day before my show at the Crosby Center this Friday evening during the Belfast Art-Walk – in celebration of WHY I play music and the musicians who have changed my life with their own joy of music.
If you’re anywhere near, join me on the street and in the theater. If you’ve got friends in New England, send them to the links below!
Join me Saturday, Aug. 24th at the Crosby Center in Belfast, Maine.
- Learn about the Show (send you New England friends to this link)
- See my personal map of where Belfast, Maine IS and invite your friends who live in New England
- Buy Tickets
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You are really just the best!
Thank you so much, David! I’m so looking forward to this show. I hope you can be there – or — ha! I just had this wonderful idea – that when I can’t go to a show I really want to go to, I could send someone as my proxy and have them tell me all about it afterwards from their own perspective. Wow … I love that! I have to think more about that! Thanks for inspiring that thought! – D
Thank you so much Deborah for sharing from your heart. It really creates connections and helps to see that we all go through stuff and we are not alone, even though in some of lifes moments you may not feel connected to anything or anyone. Music really does penetrate the walls and let some light come in right when you need it.
You are so welcome, Karen – and thank you for commenting and pointing out that music opens the walls, lets in the light, connects us. YES! Thank you!
Many hugs to you, DHC! Thanks for sharing your story.
Wish I could be there to hear you on the 24th. Break a leg!
I wish you could, too, Jason! Send a proxy – -and tell them to give me a hug after the show for you! And I’ll give it back. This post shows where I’ll be in Maine — https://www.hipharp.com/blog/27842 (I’ll admit I had no idea where Belfast was or how close my friends are to there!) and here’s the show info: https://www.hipharp.com/blog/27784
Thank you SO much for your comment. And yes, I’ll break a leg! At the last show I broke a string and I think that ended up being one of the audience’s favorite parts of the show (well, yes, I did dramatize the “changing of the string” a bit).
OMG — breaking a string during a performance (or even moments before a performance) has always been one of my biggest phobias.
If you ever have time, you should totally share with us harpists how you handle that as a performer. I would turn into a puddle… an amazing display, but not exactly the entertainment my audience came for!
All I can say is wow. About 3 months ago my horse that I am training thew me and destroyed my left shoulder. I have been so down because I can only look at my friend, my harp and not play it. Something about what you shared, Deborah, helped me focus on the future when finally I can get back doing what I love. What you shared was so personal yet universal. Thanks and have a great time at your performance. Maine is a long way from Nevada otherwise I would be there.
Well, Daniel … first I tell them this is a rare an exciting experience to see a string replaced (because it is!) Then I ask the sound man to keep the sound on the entire time, so the audience can hear every part of the process.
Then I tell the audience EVERYTHING I’m doing — like if I get nervous looking for the right string (which I ALWAYS do because string numbers confuse me), I tell the audience exactly what’s going through my head.
I tell them how you have to put the string in through the stop and why. I tell them about the special knot you have to learn to tie. And the most important thing is that I let them hear what it sounds like being brought up to pitch.
And I do all of this WHILE I’m changing the string, so it doesn’t make it take longer — it just let’s them in to the experience.
You see – for us, it’s all old hat, and a stressful bother – but for the audience, it’s an exciting opportunity to learn and hear new things.
So that’s my own method. If I couldn’t talk to the audience about it, it would NOT be fun, but because I can talk to them, it IS fun. I hope that helps!
I love that story. Thank you. Right now I am struggling to keep my music alive because of the accident I had. You remind me that there is always a way through the darkness.
Thank you so much, Maryann. Yes. Music can bring us through the darkness … and it can be with us in the darkness too — a single note can unlock worlds. Thank you!!
Thanks for sharing your experience so beautifully.
If it were Belfast, Northern Ireland to Boston, Lincolnshire I’d follow you all the way.
OK, I’ll aim for that next time, John!
Thanks for sharing your story, Deborah. It’s very personal and a wonderful example of how music heals! I’ve been learning that the Phrygian Mode can transform anger and despair, and that flamenco music is an example of the Phrygian Mode with it’s dark and fiery passion! Surely, it was no coincidence that you were drawn there to that street scene. Maybe someone will record some of your street concert in Belfast. Have a blast!