If you think I'm cursing in the title, you're wrong!! LOL!!
It's midnight, and I'm back from the trip and concert/show just a short while. Wow, what a good time it was! But before I tell you about that .......
I drove to Gail's work, and as soon as she was off, we hit the road. We got to Socorro with barely time to eat dinner. We had several places recommended to us, and the first one we came to was one that a number of people had told me was very good, so we stopped there. I went inside to see about whether there would be a wait, etc., while Gail parked the car. The general time frame I was told worked alright, so we got a menu and perused it before being seated to save a little time. We were seated shortly after that, and our waitress arrived, got our drinks, and took our order within five minutes. Very good! We would make it to the concert without a problem. Or so we thought.
Let's see, how can I condense this? My order was ready, but the cooks overlooked Gail's order, although it was on the same ticket. Had that not happened, we would have been able to eat and be out on time, but it slowed us down by something over twenty minutes! By the time they brought our plates, we simply asked to to-go boxes, taking a few quick bites while she got the boxes. We shoveled our food into the boxes, paid and left. ARGHHHH! There was no offer to comp the meals or anything, other than embarrassed apologies by the waitress.
We drove the eight or so blocks to the University where the concert was being held. Gail let me out again to grab our tickets at the will-call window while she parked. The seats were first-come, so we had to simply look for two together. We got seated with about five minutes to spare before the curtain went up.
The show ..... absolutely awesome! The group is Shidara Taiko. Ten young people, six men and four women performed on drums, flutes, tiny cymbals and bells, dancing as well as playing the instruments, and throw in a few acrobatics, for good measure. Some numbers featured only drums, other included the other instruments or some singing of traditional Japanese songs. It was often very loud, but wonderfully so! Before we knew it, an hour had passed, and we had an intermission. Another lively, animated hour followed that, flying by rapidly. They were in constant activity for most of the two hours, working hard enough to sweat visibly at times. There was no flab on these people, especially on their upper bodies, as their arms made movements ranging from tiny, precise and almost imperceptible tapping to raising sticks and arms over their heads or in huge arcs or circles to slam against the drums with great force. I wish my upper arms looked a smidgen like theirs!!
I was struck with several things during the evening. First of all, these people enjoyed the performance greatly. They smiled and grinned most of the time, and it made me smile, too. These were not pasted-on smiles but gleeful ones, accompanied by joyful shouts at times in keeping with the rhythm. Such fun!!
Next was the amazing fact that they were so perfectly synchronized. Most of the time two or more of them were playing the same cadence, and there was not a split second of difference in the moments that their sticks hit the drum heads. If you have noticed during musical performances, if the musicians are even slightly off cadence from each other, it is disconcerting, and I have been known to develop a headache from the imbalance or dissonance it causes. There was not even a hint of it tonight. Perfect accord. It was astounding!
Then I was amazing as I watched, noticing that their motions were usually mirrored. In other words, a performer on our left used his/her right hand as the drummer on our right used his/her left hand, making the exact same movements, including twirling the sticks or moving them in patterns so that it appeared as if watching one person near a mirror and seeing the reflected image doing the same thing but in reverse. That takes a lot of ambidextrous skill! Then they would line up across the stage and everyone would use the same right/left so it looked like they were puppets all manipulated by the same puppeteer with the same stick tied to each of their strings!
Another interesting point is that when they sang it sounded very similar to the Navajo chanting songs that I grew up hearing. The language was amazingly familiar sounding. Also in listening to the flutes, much of it sounded very close to Native American flutes. I was recalling that the Navajo, or the Diné, as they call themselves now, are one of the tribes of Native Americans that almost assuredly came to North America from Asia. The sounds of history were obvious to me tonight, and to think of how the cultural threads have lasted left me a bit awed.
It was a wonderful, fun show. Toward the end, the group involved the audience with rhythmic clapping and even brought a bunch of people to the stage to "dance" and sway with them in a folk dance from their village. I hated for it to end! But of course, it always must. :(
If a cultural center or fine art center in your area is featuring Shidara**, GO!!! Well worth it!
**There are some pictures on the web site that will give you an idea of the performance.
When the show was over we went to the car and while the parking lot emptied out, we ate our dinner! Damn, I was hungry! I'm emailing or calling the restaurant tomorrow. The food was very good, I must say, even cold! But the preparation was badly boggled, and there is no excuse for that. Gail and I are wondering about something. The day we went to the Trinity Site, we stopped at a cafe when we came back to town, and we were "overlooked" there, too. OK, something isn't right about this ... must we dance for our food, just to get their attention and make sure they know we are there???? Oh, well!
Whew. I'm beginning to wind down now. Must sleep........ Rest........ tired...... zzzzzzzzzzzzzz