The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.*Matsuo Basho
Last night we ushered out 2011 and welcomed 2012 in grand style. “Sound” tied both experiences together. Expressing gratitude for the causes and conditions that kept us going in 2011 and ringing the temple bell came first on the evening’s agenda. Buddhist tradition requires the bell be rung 108 times. “Each ring represents one of 108 earthly temptations a person must overcome to achieve nirvana.” It also symbolizes ridding ourselves of negative karma accumulated over the course of the year.
From the temple we drove to the home of a musician friend and made a quick transition from the sound of a single mallet slammed against bronze to the sounds of four and five guitars, a flute, vocals, maracas and other percussion instruments (I got the wooden egg shaker). The sound was professional, as it should have been, given the resumes of the musicians. Several played in the band “The Time Machine” that was active in Seattle between 1966 and 1968. My husband and our host played between 1966 and 1967 in a band called “Stuff.”
The host also plays in Grupo Amoroso, a Brazilian pop, jazz and bossa nova band, and he and the flute player do house concerts and perform in coffee shops, restaurants and other small venues.
The spontaneous program went from blues to bluegrass, country and western to folk, Brazilian choro to American pop favorites from an earlier era. Everyone who wasn’t a musician — about ten of us — got to join in, keeping the rhythm with as varied a collection of percussion instruments as I’ve ever seen. One visitor from Malaysia braved the tabla and another from Argentina played the cabasa. Having everyone take part in the performance was a stroke of pure genius.
This was the best New Year’s Eve we’ve spent in many years. Here’s hoping it becomes a tradition. Now it’s time for a nap.
*from Brainy Quote