For me, the very best part of January for the last few years has been the breathtakingly wonderful concert produced by Cam Neufeld and Marianne Watchel.
The concert is called: The Road to Django, and it chronicles Cam’s journey from India, through the Balkans to Paris for the celebration of Django Reinhardt’s 100th birthday.
It begins with Cam playing a handmade violin like instrument from India.
Cam explored the history and movement of Gypsy/Roma music through Asia and Europe, writing music and studying with musicians and teachers as he went.
He then came home to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and asked a group of his friends to create a magical series of concerts that bring to life the music of the Roma, including some Flamenco (which is one of the great passions of my husband, guitar master and composer, Jim Findlay). The concert ends with a spectacular explosion of Django’s swing and Hot Club Paris music. Holy smoke would be an appropriate response.
I was riveted by the spectacle of the 12 musicians, at the end of 3 1/2 hours of intense performance catapulting through Django’s breakneck tempos. Holy smoke! They gave every molecule of their beings to the music and the audience exploded into cheers…….. wowsa. Holy smoke…..
This year, Cam was joined by 11 other stellar musicians:
It wasn’t possible to get them all in one photo from where I was sitting…
The level of intensity of the music is incredible, and the audience is transfixed!
Lisi Sommer has the voice and presence of a Goddess, and I took a whole bunch of photos of her singing, so I can work on drawings of them later.
I was amazed and delighted when the slight glitter in the backdrop translated itself into what looks like musical notes around her… isn’t that the neatest thing?
Raquel, a beautiful dancer from Spain performed belly dance, and then Flamenco.
Her charisma, grace and beauty were a gift to the audience.
This video is the group of 12 musicians (Jim is the gorgeous greybeard in black hat and jacket with the Godin guitar on the far left of the stage) playing one of Jim’s compositions, “I See”, at the Road to Django concert on Jan 26 2014. Cam and Jim have given me permission to upload this piece to YouTube. Because it’s taken with my tiny old video camera, it doesn’t do justice to the magnificence of the music and the astonishing virtuosity of 12 gifted, beautiful musicians, but I really wanted to share even this small glimpse of the glory of the concert.
This was an evening that made me feel blessed beyond measure and awestruck by the beauty and power of music.
Thank you, thank you to the musicians, and especially to our dear friend, Cam!