Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Cochabamba Concert

"The Shepardess"
Art for Orphans -
50% of sale will go to benefit the Bolivian Orphanage Project
ACEO Original Colored Pencil Drawing
2.5 x 3.5"

Overview: In March, I had a fabulous opportunity to journey to Cochabamba, Bolivia, to work on building an orphanage. While there, I made many new friends: the Americans whom I had travelled with, and many Bolivian people who, because of the great need to raise and shelter the epidemic numbers of abandoned and orphaned children, conceived and began the orphanage project.
In a very short time, I became very enamored of the people, the culture, the land, and the children and came home with the need to do more; hence, "Art for Orphans".

One evening, after working all day at the orphanage site, our new friends and hosts, Felix and Flora, invited us to a "concert" by some local musicians. Needless to say, we were all eager and excited to see and hear any local entertainment - and the real deal, no tourist stuff here.

We were escorted into an open courtyard in a small apartment/home/business place (some confusion on my part here, as it could have been all three). The black "ceiling" in the picture is actually open sky since the weather in Cochabamba is very temperate and lovely (think San Diego-ish).

Before the show, Felix explained the traditional clothing the performers were wearing and what each piece either represented or its purpose. (I believe the small bag is for Coca leaves.) But the colors, oh they are so rich and vibrant and are not adequately reproduced in these photos; but the Bolivian people, even in their daily clothes, do not shy away from color. Also, the men who are wearing fringe on their hats to cover their eyes are traditionally the single men. (I like to think it's so they can peek out at single women without being caught making eye contact - but that's just my idea.)

The performance was wonderful, strange and mesmerizing! They used a collection of flutes (the large items on the table that look like chair legs are actually flutes), pan flutes, drums and stringed instruments. The young woman also sang in a high, quavering and somewhat eerie voice. But it all worked so wonderfully together!

Our translator and leader, Connie, told us that the performers were very excited and nervous to be playing for Americans and that they had been rehearsing for months! That almost made me cry. To be so honored just because of where you were born and to have that fact alone carry such pretige was pretty overwhelming for me. Though I had never taken that fact for granted before, it was enlightening to experience it first hand. It made me realize what a huge responsibility that honor carries with it and that I should always do my best to use it well.

Here are some of the other audience members from that evening's performance. I'm not sure, but I believe they live in the building.

They, too, like the performers were very gracious and greeted us with kisses and then gave us the best seats in the house. But that's just typical Bolivian hospitality.

1 comment:

Serena said...

This post brought a tear to my eye. Beautiful ~