- World Music
I have a new definition of world music. It’s the music of the stories that make the world a smaller place.
So it was that the world became smaller for me this week, when I set out into a vast web of images, in search of just the right ones for a new video of “Tamba-Tajá” by Brazilian-Amazonian composer Waldemar Henrique. This would be the next video in Lyric Fest’s ongoing attempt to conquer social distance – one song at a time.
LF programmed “Tamba-Tajá”, a hypnotic gem of a song, back in 2018 on a guitar program called “Humming and Strumming.” Emily Drummond along with Allen Krantz, who arranged it for guitar, gave it a special performance, I’d say. I was in search of something visually special to go along with it.
Now, I’m one of those lucky individuals who has actually been in the rainforest. I can only say that the life-flow there is enough to knock your head backward. It’s teeming with energy and greenness, and before you know it, you begin to remember things that can only be described as ancestral.
And so my search was specific: I was looking for something that made me feel like the rainforest made me feel. Ironically, photos didn’t come close. What did, were the paintings of an artist from Cornwall, UK, named John Dyer. And what’s even more curious than a Brit perfectly capturing the spirit of the Rainforest in paint, is that John came to painting only after winning a grant to go into the Rainforest to photograph it.
He then began to paint in his fantastic colors what I imagine to be how it all made him feel. John says this about it: “My experiences with my paints and canvas have taken me around the world. I have been chased by wild pigs in Costa Rica, swam with piranhas in the Amazon, avoided having guinea pigs cooked for me in the high Andes of Peru, shared chilled rose wine with the team at Banrock Station in the Australian outback surrounded by sulphur crested cockatoos, watched Lemurs climb up my easel and peep over the top of the canvas, painted as children scour the rice fields for a bowl of food for the night, seen thousand of crabs scuttling for cover on the Caribbean coast, shared food with Alan Titchmarsh and washed up for Kim Wilde! Each time I explore a new subject in paint I have a visually stunning and unique set of experiences to share and remember.”
These are the kinds of paintings I discovered by John, some that you’ll see in the video.
A quarter of a century after John first visited the rainforest and began to paint, he met Amazonian Indian Artist Nixiwaka Yawanawá, who was but a small boy back in 1989, but one who dreamed of painting the forest as well. As I understand it, the two met at The Eden Project in Cornwall, where John has been artist-in-residence for a number of years. These two painters had a joint exhibition of works that they created simultaneously, inspired by the rainforest. Yawanawá’s paintings are featured alongside John Dyer’s in the LF video.
And a footnote to close it all out: How small is the world, that I could look John up on Facebook during a world-wide pandemic, and within hours get permission to use his and Yawanawá’s paintings for our video? Thank you, John and Nixiwaka.
This, my friends, is what I call conquering social distance – one song at a time.
Here is today’s song! (Learn more about John Dyer below.)
Learn more about John Dyer here:
Learn more about Nixiwaka Yawanawá