I remember when the great jazz trumpet player Herbie Spanier, a family friend, complained to me about the seasons. He said something like: why are we expected to do all this work in the dead of winter when it’s so cold and dark and you just want to hibernate, and yet in the summer when the days are long and we’re full of energy we’re expected to go on vacation and relax?
I’ve taken that analysis to heart and after long months of organizing in the cold months, we usually spring into action in the summer. I bristle a bit when people ask how our vacation has been, as this is a time of creative work and gathering ideas, not relaxation. This summer has been no exception, as Michel and I embarked on a whirlwind of activity that included Bali, an inspiring stay at the Rimbun Dahan international artist residency Malaysia, and performances in Sulawesi. Our sons and my dad were along for the entire adventure and Reg joined us for the last leg.
I have a lot of stories to tell about this magical summer, so many that I don’t even know where to begin. So I’ll take all my notes and photos and videos and dreams and thoughts and sort them out as the days get shorter. With any luck I’ll share some of them here.
I will start by sharing this video of our last night on the adventure, when we performed at the Toraja International Festival in Ke’te Kesu, Sulawesi. It’s an excerpt from a poem I wrote about Toraja so it felt very right to sing it there, at the site of the inspiration.
We also performed some of Reg’s songs from his wonderful, evocative Songbook album. And I sang a page of poetry from my friend Susan Briscoe’s Crow’s Vow, aiming to send her energy for her overwhelming health challenges. I followed this with dream haiku written for my beloved cousin Marianne who had passed so suddenly a few weeks before from pancreatic cancer. Toraja is a very spiritual place with such a startlingly different approach to life and death so it felt right to delve into these themes in this beautiful environment. Much of that was also reflected in Franki Raden’s multimedia opera of the first night of the festival, when we had a chance to collaborate with an amazing range of local and international musicians.