This Sunday was mostly grief. After a delicious breakfast from Birdbath, we headed to Brooklyn for a memorial procession for Take Toriyama, an incredible drummer who died tragically last weekend. The memorial was attended by about 100 people, mostly musicians, kind people feeling the void left by Take’s sudden flight. Take’s former bandmates in Slavic Soul Party performed an incredibly emotional rendition of Ederlezi in his memoriam. (I had played the very same Ederlezi at a wedding reception, just the night before.) I wish he could’ve heard this band, seen all of the people!… Take and I had the pleasure of performing together several times with Romashka, and everyone’s jaw dropped each time he took a solo. He seemed to me as one of the most softspoken musicians in the NYC gypsy scene. I hope he is at peace…
Afterwards, we returned to Manhattan to catch a screening of The Lives of Others. We’ve been hoping to wait for the film on DVD, but then gave up.
If you haven’t seen it already, you should. No film since Dancer in the Dark or Babel has left me in such a gloomy, powerfully affected mood. All these films are similar – repressive society, killing dreams, ideas, crippling humanity…
Why would you want to spend your time and money to see a depressing film about the East German secret police? Well, perhaps because in the end, it’s uplifting. It made me reach for basic comforts (soup, tea, shower) and highest dreams. I wanted to eradicate repression in my own music, in my performances, to erase any judgement of others, and in general to be a mensch. Compare that to a reaction I’d have after something like “Spiderman 3”..
… It’s a hard thing to propose, but few things are as uplifting and maybe inspiring as the possibility of experiencing sad emotions indirectly. Each time gloom strikes, my eyes widen, my sense of smell deepens, and empty sounds gain meaning — not just as luminescent curiosities, but as ideas of considerable weight. I try to celebrate and value this newly-found awareness as long as I can, knowing that the first moment I laugh, it disappears, as would a bad dream.
Our lives are nothing without the lives of others. (But why do they always have to steal my seat on the subway?)