Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Embarrassment of Riches, Part 2 - Tuesday, December 31 - Rickshaw Rides!

December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve started with a full morning of sectional rehearsals and catching up on tour journals. As always on tour, the reality of daily rehearsals, plus using time before meals and on buses to tend to the smallest musical details and deepen the boys knowledge of repertoire is paying off - the guys sound amazing. 

Then back on the bus to the Red Fort where we met up with 35 Rickshaw Drivers!

First stop - Raj Ghat

Raj Ghat is memorial to Gandhi, a black marble platform that marks the spot of his cremation. 
The Grads gathered around the monument and sang Gandhi's favorite hymn, "Lead Kindly Light"

In Silence, we returned to the rickshaws and continued our journey into the Market in Old Delhi.

Another head spinner: from the quiet contemplation on Gandhi's life to the Market of Old Delhi. 

It's been said that India is simultaneously existing in multiple centuries. You experience that in the Old Market. If there was a sound track, it might be the Grads singing, but more appropriately it would be the sound of the horns of every single type of vehicle from trucks and buses to rickshaw cabs and motorcycles, honking, squawking, blaring, beeping. And at the same time, men from some longer ago world, their goods on their heads, or drawn on wooden wagons. 

The pictures will tell the story better than I can!

A Concert in the Old Market? 

Heads spinning, sensory overload, culture shock. for all of us, the result is beyond exhilarating just to be driven on the rickshaws through the NARROW streets in the old Market, and then once through the narrowest most crowded streets, we got off the rickshaws and walked to the Spice market. We found a large enough space to assemble in performance order, set up the percussion and sang the Islamic Chant "Zikr" and Hindu Raga "Ramkali". A crowd of men gathered, curious, though it's hard to tell what they made of KSB, with no context for what the boys were doing, since choral music doesn't exist in their world. No applause at the end of songs, no smiles, none of what usually happens when the boys connect with an audience. Same thing after "Ramkali". And after "Holly Jolly Christmas". 

At about that point, it was clear that it was time to move on, when all of a sudden out of nowhere a parade showed up, complete with marching bands, floats with Hindu gods - Ganesh, at least - illuminated in the twilight by men carrying big portable chandeliers to light the way. 

Heads spinning, we enjoyed the scene and then headed into the spice market, through the fragrant corridors full of hot peppers , black peppers, cumin, saffron, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, nuts of all kinds, up a back stairway to the rooftop to get a view of the market from above after singing "Prayer of the Children" to the boy who lives in a hut on top of the market

Boy from the roof top with Jonah, who is making a documentary about this KSB adventure

As evening descended we made our way back to the rickshaws through the most insane traffic imaginable. 

Rickshaws, motorcycles, cars, people, minicabs, people pushing hand carts, all to with the constant blaring of every sound of horn blaring!

Actually, it's not imaginable because it just doesn't exist anywhere in our world.  Not even close. 

And then we went off to a very modern, also very familiar conference center for dinner arranged by Reuben Israel, who made many of our arrangements for this trip!

An embarrassment of riches, days when we are profoundly aware of how lucky we are to be us, and how grateful we are for the imagination of Mr. Fisher!

For a KSB point of reference, those on this trip to India who also experienced the magical day in Antarctica called yesterday THAT famous KSB day its peer. 

I'm going to try to get one more post up - just pictures from today in Neemrana.


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