On the 24th, of January after a 17 hour flight, I finally meet Gustavo Prudente at the airport, the organiser of the tour. Previously I had only known him by his voice on the telephone, now for the first time we meet in reality and I see his smile echoes the warmth of his voice. Cecilia, singer, sound therapist and my host in Sao Paulo is also there to greet me. The next day I travel with Radha to the Parque, Visao Futuro, the project created by Susan Andrews an extraordinary woman originally from America but living in Brasil for fifteen years hence. Thinking of my time at the Parque I can feel the transformation my life underwent when I came there and how I gained new perspectives on spiritual communities. When I close my eyes, I remember the heavenly environment: water fountains, colourful smiling faces, secret gardens, juicy mangos, bamboo circles, different spaces, buildings, some round, some rectangular never square, loving hearts and generous smiles. I make new friends, meet wonderful artistes, witness people dance in ecstasy to sounds and songs, as we sing with full voices in a spiral of love.
Tears rise and fall as I remember, and how long it has been since I saw you. Through the pain I am cleansed of searing longing as Susan's words drop like nectar into my heart, to heal and gently open my mind to the present, “He is yours and yours alone”, and I follow her message with the song “You are mine” as tears of love and acceptance fall from many eyes.
On the final night a woman from Salvador partners me in a dance before the akhanda ‘endless’ kirtan performance begins. It’s a joy to see everyone dancing and singing and when tired, resting inside the hall, together as one family listening to the blissful sounds of the universal mantra Baba nam kevalam. The next day is full of baby smiles, flower baths, gentle caresses, families coming together in tears and laughter. I am full of gratitude for the beautiful time had at the Parque. If heaven exists on this earth, it is here.
Though I am unwell physically, I participate in the filming of Rodrigos video of “You are mine”
See: Jyoshna and Friends tour (rodrigoska) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DB_UroWfA1A
In Sao Paulo, Gustavo organises a spiritual circle in a vegetarian restaurant, called Vegethus. Enclosed beneath wooden apex ceilings the sound carries far and wide. The comradeship within is warm and contagious. On Thursday, at Semente Una, we have another performance as people join in playing traditional instruments. Later we eat delicious pizza together with jokes to laugh about.
In Campinas I travel with friends to our destination. Our hosts have decorated the hall so beautifully with flowers and hang prayer flags outside leading to the hall. The people who arrive, are more than expected. Those who cannot fit, stand in the doors and peer through the windows to watch. Inside many are dancing as it grows into an ecstatic party! Afterwards a small group run down the road after the car, laughing, dancing and singing, so all the neighbours can hear how crazy we are!
The next day, the Rarhi kirtan workshop in Cecelias studio is very well attended, with around 20 people, singers, musicians, and interested people who are inspired to learn about Rarh music culture and the supra aesthetic science of kirtan.
In Casa Moksa, Sao Paulo, our group sing the evening away with songs and kirtans to an attentive audience. A real favourite on the night was Dadao’s “Oh divine father”, dedicated the song to his son Henrique, who was born that day, a real cause for celebration! Another favourite was “Tiny Green Island” sung in Spanish, English and Portuguese. See videos:
Jyoshna La Trobe na Casa Moksha em São Paulo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq_7hPIAawY&feature=related Sakal maner vina - Jyosna La Trobe no Brasil.Mp4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ggp0Lz2XJPk&feature=autofb
In Sao Paulo I visit Didi Anandajaya’s projects in the favellas. She has established five (if not more) of the most beautiful, well equipped schools in a region that is renowned for its crime and poverty. The children actually love going to school where they learn new life skills and begin to explore their talents and potentialities.
Belo Horizonte: Indrajit kindly accompanied me to my next destination Belo Horizonte, and my host is Kaoshikii whose lovely apartment I stay in. A concert organised at a dance studio in the centre of the city. Dadão accompanies me, as well as Indrajit on the melodica, Helder Araújo on tabla with Anandi singing backing vocals and reading translations. The next day, Luiza and Indrajit take us on a journey sight seeing to Ouro Preto (black gold). I am especially moved by the local crafts people who are making beautiful colourful objects out of sandstone.
At the Federal University of Minas Gerais where Anandi works, I deliver a lecture on my research on Rarhi Kirtan and teach the people to sing some traditional songs. It ends with everyone in high spirits, talking and sharing experiences. Running late, Anandi races me to the airport to catch my flight to the next city, Fortaleza.
Fortaleza: I am received by Manfred and Nirmala at the airport and taken to the seaside resort run by Sharada and Manfred, a place that specialises in teaching kite surfing and other retreats. People of various religious and social backgrounds to come together as we choreograph the programme to incorporate different workshops, such as a Feldenkrais, and kirtan, a first for many. Highlights of the retreat: Fortaleza jyoshna (manalucena)
Another highlight is going to see a “maracatu” performance in the city after the retreat with a group of us. We learn to play the triangulo and dance the night away, it was such a fantastic fun evening.
The next day, after a radio interview, we go to meet a very diverse group of local musicians, led by Maria, an actress and singer who hosts the radio programme. It’s so interesting to hear their stories, share their music and exchange CD’s.
On the Thursday, I give a lecture on Rarhi kirtan accompanied by Paulo at the Federal University of Ceara where Geisa works as a professor. After many technical hitches, I present my research, footage, and begin teaching the kirtan melodies. It ends up being a song party with around 160 students and professors clapping and singing traditional kirtan loudly! Some are even brave enough to sing the lead parts (udara, mudara tara) and dance in front to entertain us. The pizza ritual afterwards, (something that was instigated by Susan’s students apparently), is gladly followed by us as we review the week’s activities with interest.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!