Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Lightnight poetry and music in RuhrKunstort

RuhrKunstort is an artist work place in the Ruhrort part of Duisburg. There is always something going on. The night of the winter solstice it was poetry and music: Fred Schywek, poet of the Lower Rhine read eleven poems some personal, one poem commemorating another poet. His poetry is strong, lyrical and idiosyncratic...

 Here are Fred and Ilona Vildebrand practicing a little tribute to Brel and the city Amsterdam. She read three poems and sang with verve several songs the audience enjoyed. The small place was packed with thirty some odd people. The audience was warm and inquisitive, talked to the poets, asked questions shared what they felt about the readings. I was astonished how many people from the former DDR (East-Germany) were there and felt it was necessary to tell a foreigner like me that that is where they came from. I guess it is necessary to understand the limitations they had and the peculiar education they had under a communist regime. I myself read some poems in English and Dutch and of course the German translation by Fred. People came up and discussed the native American quotes by MariJo Moore I had read. They were especially fascinated by the bear quote...
A nice pleasant evening, which brought light in the darkness.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jubilee concert

 Twenty years ago a group of people founded the "Vrienden van het Concervatorium". So all of us were treated to a free concert to honor the occasion. Mendelson's Piano trio nr. 1 op. 49 in d Violin, cello, piano, 4 movements. Just wonderful. I love the darker tones of a cello, so I was happy.
After a nice speech by the chairman the second part was Psalm op. 42 - Wie der Hirsch schreit. The choir of the young students did a great job. I know I am partial to choirs and the harmony and strength of the human voice. There must have been about seventy singers and the young orchestra. I found it moving and fitting for this Christmas time. It brought joy and lightheartedness in the final dark day's of the year. Culture rounds the hard edges of daily life. Thanks to you all.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Nkosi Sikeleli Africa

When Madiba Nelson Mandela came to the European Parliament just a short while after his release from Robben Island, I happened to be part of the large team of interpreters working in the plenary meeting. I have always cherished that experience. The first year after South Africa had joined the ACP the meeting took place in Cape Town. And this is about the opening session...

Sikeleli Africa

At the first notes
just two white people jumped up
one with his left fist in the air
she with her hand on
her heart
All peoples standing
the light skinned
a few notes later –
The huge hall filled with

I like to think
the white people were
not recognizing the music in their
or just older and stiffer and

I like to think
Nkosi Sikeleli Africa
is the hope that touches us
all -           

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Once again sacred Hopi objects will be sold by a Paris auction house

Survival International, a NGO defending the rights of the First Nations will be back in court in order to try and stop a new sale of 25 Friends - No, they are not masks - they are living entities, used in sacred ceremonies. This time it is the auction house EVE offering for sale among other two highly esteemed Katsinam: the Crow Mother and the Friend used in the Snake Dance. These ceremonies are not open to the public since they are so sacred. The sale will be on December 9 and the friendly spirits are already on show. The sale will be once again in La Maison Drouot.The Hopi are a small nation in Arizona. Their ceremonies and religious dances are important to them. Some dances are public and then you can enjoy the beauty of it all. It saddens me that my friends once again are hurt by greed and lack of understanding. Some items have been shown in April by Minet-Neret.