Celebrating Armenian Culture at LEAF!
Driving up to the Lake Eden Arts Festival and looking out the car window, I see tent after tent after tent… I don’t think I have ever seen so many tents in my life! All close together, little villages, friends, strangers living side by side for a few days… here to celebrate music and the beauty of Black Mountain!
Ah, what awe-inspiring beauty!
The mountains bejeweled with red, yellow, golden, orange, green leaves; it is a tapestry!! The lake shimmering glory; the air, crisp and clean… the festival site is a buzz with energy and volunteers, staff, audience members, artists and musicians gathered together from all over the world… all united for four days of bliss!
We had an absolutely fantastic time at LEAF! Performing to a packed out house on Friday night – people wearing coats and hats and me shivering on stage – my mission was to get us all moving and warmed up! I love seeing the audience clap with me, dancing, singing along, totally engaged in the music, in this Armenian folk music! And we were warmed up by the end of our set! And then singing again with the amazing Free Planet Radio, the guys I love, on Saturday afternoon during their set… much warmer this time and the audience again, so energetic! We had a massive dance party going by the end of the show!! And then performing with the students that I had worked with during the week as part of my residency with the LEAF in Schools… the children singing Gakavig with me and dancing to Arev, Arev… children who had never before heard about Armenia (“Do they wear the same clothes as we do? Do they eat the same food?” they asked me. And then, “Why did they have to go through Genocide?”)… Meeting so many people, audience members once again, my favourite part of performing… people telling me their stories… telling me they hadn’t really heard much about Armenians before…
Ah, this has been a very moving week for me… here are a few of the highlights:
Breakfast at Sunny Pointe Cafe, laughing at the Roundhouse, meeting all sorts of musicians, artists, exchanging stories, enthralled by their performances, watching dear friends lit up with love, meeting a mom whose baby was conceived the night of one of my shows last year! My husband’s eyes as he watches me sing, my little one, reaching out for me, content and full of joy once I am holding her… dedicated volunteers driving us to and fro the stages and the festival site and parking lot… hospitality volunteers making us laugh, serving us in so many ways… sound check, losing power and then seeing it come again! Listening to Free Planet Radio mesmerize any audience… lunch, dinner, lunch, dinner… so delicious! Meeting so many interesting folks… the festival site at night… afternoon sun and watching the zipline! Ah, the list goes on an on…
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