I hada wonderful time at Folklife today. As I read in this morning's Seattle Times, one of the highlights to look for today was Radost. (Too bad for Radost fans that the newspaper got the time wrong, but it was not printed correctly in the Folklife schedule, and I assume that's where they got the information.)
Although we arrived 90 minutes before the set began, there was no time allocated for a sound check for Orkestar RTW and Dunava (I guess we weren't as important as some of the other groups). We did our own rehearsing, dancers, singers and musicians together, in the large amphitheatre-type room we were assigned to for a dressing room. Then as we were called to places, waiting in the stage right wing, someone said, "This is what it's supposed to be like." It was a perfectly true sentiment, and sadly, only those of us who had performed in large ensembles could relate to it.
Our first number went off without a hitch, despite no sound check. Dunava actually opened the entire all-Bulgarian concert with our powerful rendition of Zheni me mamo and Sevedelino malaj mome. In the hour between our first and second sets, I went outside for a late lunch with two other Dunavites. The concert had already begun, and there were more than 100 people standing in line.
After an hour or so we performed our second set. This piece had even more resonance of "the way it's supposed to be." The dancers flew around the stage, we sang with great verve, and the musicians were whisking us all away. I simply couldn't resist the impulse to yip throughout the piece. Yipping with excitement was a signature part of my performance experience. The full house was very dark, but I could see the reflection of the dancers in the light booth's glass windows.
It was an emotional moment for me. I teared up over the excitement of sharing the stage with all of Radost, remembering when it was me flying through the air, and yet still performing this ethnic material I love.
All in all it was a long day, and I hit the "wall" and had to go home to crash. Much as I wanted to go to the big Balkan dance tonight, I was too pooped to do so. Remember, I asked to be able to perform at Folklike, not participate in all its other aspects. And perform I did, and well too, I hope.
Photos coming soon, I promise. Tomorrow is chemo day, and if I am feeling well enough, I will download the images Rik took and post a few pics.