To me It feels like a Beduin tent. It is not. The walls a made of bamboo and the roof is in colourful yellow, orange, and red cloth. There is barely no light. We seat in cushions on the floor. We are at the top of my guesthouse. A guesthouse surrounded by many others in a very touristic village. Inside the tent it feels a world apart from the Tibetan in exile village I spend the days in. Three men from Rajastan who seemed to have jumped out of a picture of National Geographic with their long moustaches, their piercing eyes and their traditional instruments seat in the corner. The Israeli boy who studies classical composition in Jerusalem and plays like a Brazilian bossa nova tells me these musicians are amazing. I seat in silence. i look around and notice with some joy that I now know every single face, every Indian, Tibetan or tourist name. They know me too. I feel joy I am in place enough to be able to break the rules. The man who plays this string instrument i have never seen before starts to sing. He stands up and like a character in a fairy tale he sings from within. It sounds like that voice has hundreds of years, that before it comes out like a gypsy cry that it has travelled every corner of his body. The other two men squat next to their traditional drums. The cry is calling for them, so their fingers gently start to caress the leather of the instrument, they move faster and faster and eventually an explosion of music happens.
I feel it inside. I first watch it petrified, in total stillness as if suddenly I was transported to a tale but then the rhythm overtakes me, my body wants to follow that cry, that drum, that tale. I know the place enough, my body knows the faces, we have all laughed together foreigners and locals for enough nights for my body to know that I am allowed to do the unthinkable i stand up and i let it overtake me. i dance. Then comes my beautiful friend Rotem, and then as in a explosion, like in a Kusturica movie foreigners and Indians start a frantic dance that travels the night. You can see through the movements we all come from different countries. Some countries allow for rhythm to go to different parts of the body.
I watch little Ibrach, 6, the son of Madi the owner of the tent, the restaurant, the gentle kind man who everyday cooks whatever i ask him. First I asked from the cushions nowadays from inside the kitchen. That is what time does to you. You get accepted in the secret places. Ibrach is 6 and when i first tried to invite him to dance he shyly runs away. An foreign girl interrupted my gentle invitation. One that had been being built through days, through hiding faces behind veils, saying hellos from far away, eventually shaking hands. While I am there slowly taking the time of Ibrach she grabs him to dance. He runs. She laughs and asks me to help her scare him into dancing. I want to explain her that you cant scare people into music. You have to let the music come within. I know well enough that we just have to wait. I had seen little Ibrach dancing in the corner several times. He would eventually dance… at some point, when time and people would have made it acceptable for his fully formed brain to accept the burning desire to move inside his little body he would come. As more and more people surrended to the music I suddenly see Ibrach in the middle of the Indian men. His body moves like that of a little sahib. Opened arms as if he is already at 6 enclosing the world. I love seeing the people dancing. The indian men go crazy. All that captured tension, all that sexual frustration that rarely finds relief is released in this dance. I love this people i think. I look at Aze, the men who looks like atartuk. The magician of the tabla. He is too contained to jump around like the rest of us. he seats in the cushion moving his fingers to the table in the rhythm. I like Aze a lot he had moved me beyond belief a couple days earlier.
I who through the years had lost my connection with music reencountered in India. Every single night I played a bit more, I sang a little more. Aze, who is an amazing musician, tried to accompany me in the Indian drums. In the chaos of this jam sessions, I little by little tried to encounter the Indians in their time, and they tried to move in brazilian rhythm.
In the official organised jam session, Aze came to tell me he wanted to play with me. I was happy I had observed through the days he was the only person who really listened. he had this kind of relation with music of a life time companionship. I sat and took the guitar, and timidly started to play. Aze brought his tabla, this Israeli enchanting boy who moves in bossa nova rhythm asked me to join us. And so for the following hour we coming from 3 continents walked together. Where is it that we meet?, how is it that I move my internal rhythm a bit more to match theirs. India, middle east and south america. I tried deeper and deeper to walk internally in different steps. My voice sang in different parts of my body, and the whole world seemed to have stopped to exist we just played, we encountered each other in music. When something like this happens it is so hard to put in words. Aze who could be my father told me later he was a tabla professor in university but had not played in 5 years and he had brought his tabla that night to play with me. i was moved. i was shocked. i am not musician I explained. I know so little. ” But your music comes from within. Thank you.” I had tears in my eyes. This was an older men, a lifetime living in music. That night made me famous in this town. The brazilian girl who sings. So now in the tent I could dance. I had learned to play a different world, and dancing to it was just like one step further in this journey of cultural and human discovery. I looked around aze drumming, Ibrach dancing, Tibetans jumping and the beautiful Israeli boy listening like a real musician does in total stillness. i had no idea what that Rajastani man sang about. it seemed so immaterial. there in this tent I saw all cultures come together, with all the beautiful cultural shades they can come. But what overwhelmed me was to see once again that it takes not much more than watching and listening to encountering our overwhelming fundamental humanity.