Winterzonnewende: great and peaceful


Reflexivity got scooped! Alyssa describes her experience of last night’s Winter Solstice event:

“every ethnomusicological molecule in my body was buzzing.”

My molecules are still buzzing today. 🙂 Talk about an infusion of goodwill and high spirits to draw back the sun! Mahtab expresses exactly how I feel:

says it ALL.JPG.jpg
Alyssa’s summary is terrific – read hers first (why not?!); she gives context for the following details . . .

  • Ugandan smoked salmon salad
  • Czech potato salad (special for christmas)
  • American macaroni-and-cheese (thanks Ruth!)
  • mangoo and fried salami from the Dominican Republic
  • very special Iranian rice
  • mini-chicken curry puff pockets (homemade dough, too!)
  • and was that Trinidadian chicken?!
  • not to mention Nigerian popcorn (!)
  • and various fresh veggies with dips,
  • assorted chips, nuts, cheeses and
  • desserts galore.


  • Patricia – Phantom of the Opera (a capela, English)
  • Jose & Annmarie – a cop and two crows (see poem below): the poor guy probably doesn’t have a clue what hit him! (Flemish & English)
  • Steph – Life, Love & Laughter by Donovan; Come Along by Titiyo; and Miles From Nowhere by Cat Stevens (courtesy of iTunes; American Sign Language)
  • Marse – the Czech National Anthem (a capela, Czech) and a large photography book of Czech natural beauty.
  • Annmarie & Steph – poetry by Leonard Peltier, My Life is My Sundance, and “Some Days You Get the Bear” MariJo Moore (Dutch, English, and American Sign Language)
  • Tolu – inspiring us all to dance to Gongo Aso (Igbo)
  • Gen – boldly leading a communal drumming circle (stools, tabletops, silverware, bowls and beerglasses)
  • Mahmoud & Bouchra – drumming and belly dancing (Egyptian & Moroccan)
  • Katelijn, Anneleen, & Oriana – a sonata (Trio in F Major) by Telemann, two lengthy improvisations, and a smattering of playfulness (cello, bass clarinet, flute)
  • Alyssa, Anneleen, & Oriana – improvisation (cello, bass clarinet, flute)
  • last, but not least, Steven’s photography: next time he’ll have to manage to arrive a little earlier! (black-and-white with occasional bursts of color).

I agree completely with Alyssa that the best part of the closing performance was the improvisation. This was the first time these three women have played together – which makes the perception of Alyssa’s trained ear even more significant: they sounded as if they have played together for years. The trio sounded just as good when Alyssa was on cello, too!

Annmarie joined in spontaneously with more poetry from MariJo Moore. Annmarie’s strong speaking voice merged seamlessly with the voices of string, reed, and wind. I felt the power in the moment; now, remembering and reflecting, I wonder if part of the poignancy of that moment was the way the chosen lines added punctuation, providing (perhaps, in some way) an embodiment of the interpretation I had finally decided upon for the trickiest line in Titiyo’s song: “lets be the thorn in the rose.” After a week (literally) of thinking about meaning and context, I chose to sign: “accept beauty and still critique.”

when a nest has been empty for too long
take it apart and build a new one

~ ~ ~

when you see a circle of crows
you know you are not alone

Alyssa and Marse added vocalizations at various points along the way. Everyone’s lightheartedness made the music all the more sweet: sharing with each other the full range of humor and talent made “the sphere [of our gathering],” as Jose said, “great and peaceful.”
Finally, during the last beautiful improvisation, Annmarie offered up an original:

When the dogs are silent
the trees ask to listen to their barks

At that point, I had joined the ‘circle of crows’ to interpret. On first hearing Annmarie’s poem, I could only attend to the prominent (dominant?) sense of “sound,” missing the homonym and Annmarie’s intentional double meaning. She has been working on that one for five years, so we figure I may be able to generate an adequate ASL interpretation by approximately 2013.
Until then, all my gratitude for this a once-in-a-lifetime composition of kindred spirits, and

Keep Riding the Curve!

One thought on “Winterzonnewende: great and peaceful”

  1. it sure was a warm winterzonnewende party .
    yes, the big ear-to-ear smile of mahtab says it all !!
    best wishes for 2009 to all of you .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *