As musicians and performing artists, one of the treats of spreading musical healing is the ability to travel! Flying off to distant lands, we get to immerse ourselves into another part of the Earth’s spacing. Experiencing how our musical talents are interpreted, performed, and embraced in another part of the world; unfamiliar to our eyes. Initially, it can be scary. After all, you do not truly know your audience when you travel. They are of a different culture. They speak a different language. Let’s not forget that their observation of your artistry can be perceived with a different twist. There may be certain members within the audience, who may not understand why you may sing, play, or conduct in the way that you do. Ah! Is that a challenge? Perhaps so. It means that your artistry is met with certain reservations. Maybe they came to see your performance out of curiosity. The marketing of your concert was of interest to them. And so, they decided to take a chance. What treasures would the night bring to the beauty and wonder for such a performance? That all depends on the performer, and the level of magic they bring to the performance.
On January 8, 2017, a very special celebration of “International Reverberations” had taken place. This time it came from across the waters. Dressed in a sparkling, gold-colored dress, with the wonders of a vibrant Spirit, the featured soloist for that night was more than a joy to observe. Versatility, passion, and being able to move through different repertoire with the comfort and ease required, is what embodies a phenomenal performer. On another note, a fascinating musician/vocalist has the power and ability to truly move their audience. Once the concert is over, they can no longer leave the auditorium in the same way, in which they had arrived. Its simply impossible. Musical greatness forces change! When a singer or musician has done her/his job, the audience is transformed. Life’s daily challenges and responsibilities seem a little lighter. You feel that you can breathe a little easier. After all, what is the performance of vocal music, but the movement of breath in all the right places?
On that sacred night, a familiar whisper had been exuded from the voice of none other than Romanian-born, Vocal Professor at the Choral/Vocal Division at Oklahoma State University. . .
Dr. Anne-Marie Condacse
Sitting in the front row of Oriental Hall, at the American University in Cairo’s Downtown campus, there was great passion captured from the voice of this illuminating artist. The concert was in collaboration with AUC’s School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, in connection with the Middle East Studies Center. Along with the late Georgian pianist and accompanist for the night, Elena Dzamashvili, there was a glittering sense of wonder throughout the night. Other accompanied musicians included, Pawel Kuzma on the guitar, and Mostafa Abbas on the tabla. Something about the way Dr. Anne-Marie Condacse colored each note, which simply encouraged you to follow her through these musical tales for the concert, on that night. Each song held its own shaping; its own design, its own mystique. Yet, somehow, they magically seemed to intertwine with each other.
The names for the works of all composers, performed by Dr. Anne-Marie Condacse, for that moment, gave insight into the different nations and cultures, which were represented. George Grigoriu. Francesco Paolo Tosti. Stefano Donaudy. Francesco Paolo Frontini. Giacomo Puccini. Sergey Rachmaninoff. Ernesto Cordero. Z. Randall Streepe. George Gerschwin. Jerome Kern. Cole Porter. Charles Ives. Richard Rodgers. Sayed Darwish. Ashraf Fowad. The structure, shaping, and design of their very words and patterns indicated that audience members would be exposed to the wonders and riches of all cultures, represented. What did the styles and genres of their musicality reveal about their people, and the lands they came from? Now that is something about musical artistry, that very people have yet to explore. Interesting, isn’t? Yet, it is the power of music. People are able to move through diverse landscapes; collecting myriad patterns of the human experience. How have various cultures created an arena of being connected and intertwined with the richness of Universal sound? In turn, what are their particular traditions in collecting that sound, transforming it into artistry, and validating their cultural/national existence, through it all?
Flowing through these unique genres and songs, I imagine Dr. Anne Marie-Condacse doing the necessary, and tedious, work of trying to dance through each song. Vocally, of course! Its a musical tour, to say the least. Let us not forget the late, Elena Dzamishvili, and the musical patterning between our guest vocalist. That’s another thing, which goes missing when engaging in conversation about concert performances: sensitivities between vocalist and accompanist. Such a relationship becomes more than scheduled rehearsals, and playing written compositions. In another musical realm, there is that hidden level of sensory for musicianship. Within this arena, you have to be fully connected to the humanity, within your musical partnership. Their instrumental rhythms, styles, and colors speak volumes on their level of musicianship. Let’s reflect upon that for a minute. Pause. Breathe again. Kindly remember that a musician or vocalist does not simply sing or play the music. No, Ladies and Gentlemen! They bring their Universal creativity and coloring, with them. In addition to the composition, its this other level of richness, which draws the audience to one piece or musical repertoire. It is not simply the music ? we are listening to, when attending live performances. It is also the intriguing dynamics among the musicians and vocalists, which captures the audience’s attention. That relationship, onstage, in the moment, and in the presence of others, is what brings the music to life. That silent recognition between two or more artists is what gets the audience to believe in the truth of the music. It is not simply playing copies of composed notes. Human emotions must be involved. Remember that “aha” moment, when two musicians realize why they were meant to be performing, within a particular spacing and time.
Another pertinent moment within the concert was Dr. Anne Marie-Condacse’s performance of Negro spirituals. I’ll be frank. The names of the pieces, I do not recall at this present moment. Nevertheless, they were performed. In that particular spacing, they were vocalized. Expressed. Recognized. Reminded. Realized. For a brief moment, I felt as if I had taken a brief trip back home. Back home in that Black-church based culture, which produced Black America’s authentic culture. Simply reminiscing on my Glee Club days in undergrad, when we performed the traditions of our foremothers and forefathers. There is a sense of gentility and recognition emerging, when you hear or see your culture being acknowledged in another land. Its fantastical, in fact. From a feminine perspective, you become in tune with those energies of affirmation. It feels good. It feels humane. Isn’t that the very purpose of music? Uplifting our humanity. Compelling us to feel alive! Its why, music makes us feel so alive! Having that experience in a live setting simply heightens and elevates the experience.
After the concert, the capturing of its moment came to place. Friendly, kind, and as humble as any artist, a beautiful connection was celebrated. Seeing Professor Elena Dzamishvili was a loving reunion. Of course, that’s for another telling. You have those individuals, who simply wish to rush out of the concert hall and head home. Having received their artistic medicine for the night, they get in preparation for the next day’s journey. Then, you have attendees, who stay around just a little longer. The atmosphere was too sweet to simply leave in a hurry. Some want to taste its sweetness, just a little longer. That’s how good the musical element felt for this time. In fact, it was so comforting, that you had to connect with those gifted performers, who blessed us for the night. Who could deny the elixir for musical blessings, which rained upon us for the evening? Who would dare state the presence of indifference, or not having experienced a sense of restoration? No one. That’s who. There are attendees of the audience, who would deny it. Perhaps, on the basis of being too prideful, and refusing to lay the ego to rest. That’s alright. Time has proven that denial has its limitations.
For my own personal journey, I would take music’s sweetness for the night. New faces and energies were directed my way, and their presence gave further meaning to my purpose for being there. Yes, it was the music. Simultaneously, it was also to meet fellow Beings, who were also directed there, to this point in time. Their beauty was phenomenal. Music was the unifier-even if it was temporary. Two thoughts entered my mind for that time. One was the joy in meeting an artist I had never known. The other pertained to re-uniting with one, who still has a place in my heart. As usual, that’s for another story.
Dressed in gold, Dr. Anne Marie-Condacse, wore the energy and vibrations of the performance. Sparkling and glittering throughout the hall, it was a perfect example in the uniting of fashion and music. Delightful, indeed! A brief conversation, and especially conveying my appreciation for her performance of Negro Spirituals, there was a mutual recognition between us. Another “aha” moment when women of different cultures, nationalities, and races understand the deeper complexity of music, and its beauty for the day. Acknowledging the different whispers of women’s language, and its coming together to strengthen the Universal. Powerful! As these memories linger along, as these musical whispers trend along, the aesthetics of the night, bridges into a wealth of new era; a new time. For that moment, in that moment, would always be, forever mine! Forever thine!
For more information on Dr. Anne Marie-Condesce, you may go to the following link: https://sing.okstate.edu/faculty?id=34