This is a little rave about a recorded conversation from 2015 with Richard Fidler from the ABC's Conversation series and Liz Gilbert.
Conversations with Richard Fidler are lengthy enough to draw you deep into the lives of extraordinary people. And this episode not only drew me deeper into part of what makes Liz Gilbert tick but it could be a game changer for me. She articulated exactly what I feel so passionate about and the very essence of the thinking behind The Create Escape.
Here's a little gem of an article and clip of the great Qawwali singer Abida that I found on KCRW RHTHM PLANET. Plus a little video of the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Live: Allah Hoo
Abida Parveen is the most famous female qawwali vocalist, adored by fans all over the world. I heard her once in Orange County years ago. She has a big voice, perfect pitch, and a powerful, ecstatic delivery. She will occasionally visit the U.S., but you will likely not know about it unless you read the local Pakistani newspapers.
In a 2013 article in the UK paper The Guardian, Parveen said, “My culture–our culture–is rich in spirituality and love. Sufism is not a switch, the music isn’t a show–it’s of life, it is religion. If I want to recognized for anything, if we should be recognized for anything, it’s the journey of the voice. And that voice is God’s.” Qawwali, like gospel music in the U.S., is a communal experience, a joy meant to be shared.
I did not include another famous qawwali group, the Sabri Brothers, because their tracks are super long. Sadly, I recently wrote a post about one of their founding members who was murdered by an Islamic extremist. Sufi gospel is a way of getting closer to the divine, both for listeners and performers. Dictatorships and Islamist hardliners don’t like music, don’t trust it either. We’ve seen that in the Soviet Union, Chile, Argentina, Iran, and other places.
For those who don’t know about this powerful and ecstatic music, let it be a reminder that its message of peace and harmony is an antidote to the turmoil in Pakistan that we hear in the news.
Singing in Bali was a truly divine week! We sang for hours every day in the tropical garden ‘bale’ with Tony Backhouse, we had twice daily yoga sessions with the gorgeous Esteé, and we ate delicious healthy food, had swims, siestas and massages at break times.
We went to a local community Kecak performance one night, we were cleansed in holy spring water at the water temple and we meditated in a beautiful jungle ‘shala’ and were blessed by Bali’s youngest and most gorgeous High Priestess! And for those in the group that weren’t so interested in visiting the Priestess, they got a private tour exploring some of Ubud’s most exciting art galleries.
Some of us at the end of the week got to stay on and have a private Kecak lesson from the very talented and world acclaimed Cudamani troupe.
Check out some pics and videos below >>
Esteé (our yoga teacher) and some of the staff at Swasti sing it up with joy, loud and clear!
Our singing space was adorned with fresh flowers, candles and incense in a centre floor mandala daily.
Presenting our offering at the temple before our purification cleansing
Some of our gorgeous singers shining at our little end of week concert at Indus. Photo courtesy of Janita Himawati
Saluting our maestro, Tony Backhouse, at the end of our little gig. Photo courtesy Janita Himawati
Concentrating hard at our Kecak lesson from Cudamani.
Staying in a family palazzo, sipping prosecco, cooking with the locals, the aroma of fresh and rare white truffles, a banquet cooked by nine passionate local cooks and meeting artisans in and around our little village... this week can only be described as delicious.
As Jamie Oliver discovered, the fabulous food of the region comes from the locals living off the land. Produce, game, herbs, virtually all the ingredients in their magic meals are derived freshly from the land. Le Marche classic cuisine includes: omelette with vitalbe, spelt salad with balsamic herbs, legume soup with croutons and oil of Cartoceto, maltagliati with chickpeas, tagliatellas with precious white truffles, meatless ravioli with fossa cheese, spelt tagliatellas with porcini mushrooms, gnocchi with duck, strozzapreti with wildboar sauce, tagliatellas with pigeon sauce, roebuck in salmi, stewed wild boar with polenta, stewed tripe, small quails with porcini and truffle sauce, wood stove beef.
"Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort."
and this one...
"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it."
Henry David Thoreau
These quotes are both so true when it comes to what we do at The Create Escape, there
is a big investment in time and energy to create a great event but what
really makes them just so wonderful is in equal parts what we put in
and what you put in. It is the joy felt from all that collective effort.
This pic is taken at the home of our wonderful 'Singing in Siena' event for the last 7 years.
We are thrilled to announce that we have teamed up with Bruce McWhinney to offer a unique Arts of Japan tour next autumn.
Bruce is an internationally acclaimed ceramic artist, painter and teacher. He has led numerous groups to Japan in the past and this one promises to be even better.
The journey will be totally unique and take us to places off the tourist trail and into the art communities and cover both the outrageous contemporary, like Street Art Fashion and exquisite Zen and Traditional Art forms and Culture.
We plan to head out next October and it will not only be the arts that will captivate our minds, the food will delight and the gardens will be showing off in spectacular colours.