I have hesitated writing about what is going on in Haiti because I think it's difficult from where I sit to have any idea just how great a tragedy this is. It's hard to know what to do when tragedies are affecting people so far away. At the same time, it's also hard to know what to do when tragedies are affecting people that live just across the street. It sometimes seems easier to close yourself off from it- pretend that it's not happening.
I received an email shortly after the earthquake from The Egg, our local venue for concerts and theatre. A composer and violinist, Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) was holding a benefit concert to help relief efforts in Haiti. I thought it sounded interesting and convinced my friends to join me. DBR is a Haitian-American and maybe one of the most talented musicians I have ever seen in concert.
We attended the concert on Friday night. It consisted of DBR, two other violinists, a man on the viola, and a woman playing the cello. The centerpiece for the concert was "A Civil Rights Reader." DBR started writing these quartets at age 23. As he said, instrumental music can be whatever you want it to be. There are no lyrics so it allows you to feel whatever you want/need to feel. His quartets moved from anger, to funky, to folksy, and then more reflective. He took breaks to discuss Haiti and also had some friends of his call in from Haiti to describe what was going on there. It was heartbreaking to hear them describe so much death. It also didn't help that I am 4 months pregnant and insanely hormonal. I immediately began crying. I must be having a girl. This baby makes me cry all the time- Folgers commercials, Friends episodes- it's out of control. Anyhow, that little side note was not meant to minimize the emotions that I was feeling at this concert because hormones or not, many people were crying because sometimes you don't know how else to react.
I am not a religious person in that I don't identify with a specific church. I would say that I am more of a spiritual person. In times of crisis or heartache, I may seek the quiet of the outdoors, the sense of empowerment I get from going for a run, or in this case, listening to beautiful, innovative, and emotionally charged music. Sorry for a somewhat downer post, I really don't know how to put a positive spin on such a horrific situation. The music is really incredible though and I felt it was worth sharing. Here is a link to DBRs website if you're interested.