Music is like alcohol, it can make two complete strangers sit together and have a most intimate experience. This evening I understood why phrases like “music is the common language”, “music transcends all borders” are not just cliches to be thrown about willy nilly. This evening I was thrilled to be alive, and any evening like that is worth remembering.
It’s my mother’s 50th B’day and we had planned a quiet evening out with family and 3 close friends starting at the Barefoot WOMAD concert followed by a hopper feed at Green Cabin. We got to Barefoot a bit early for a change, it was a warm, slightly sticky evening. I was expecting the music to comprise of drum beats from a few countries so I was fairly surprised to see the familiar hat of Glen Terry. The show kicked off with some superb Terry Jazz and Blues numbers, accompanied by the excellent Bass Guitarist and a couple of solid sax players who I hadn’t seen before. The stage was then stolen by the guy who plays the rabana like drum along with some fascinating vocal backup. I remember this guy from the last Glen Terry show I went to, and he was rocking even then. The number of musicians on the stage gradually increased and each of them brought their own distinct flavour both in music and fashion. It was a colourful and vibrant melange in every sense of the word. At one point I counted 12 artists on stage. The next act that caught my attention was the African dude who sang a brilliant song where the word “aiyo” kept coming up. He did some superb dances as well and the crowd really got going just before the first break. Glen Terry and Co had given another fabulous performance, and it was now the turn for the Cuban boys to show their stuff, and they certainly did show it. There’s just something about Latino music that is so sexy, rhythmic and infectious. By this time I felt it best to get a front seat view so I sat myself down on the steps just near the stage. A reasonably large part of the crowd were unable to resist the temptaion to dance and most of the impromptu dance area was taken up. Unfortunately by the end of the Cuban set we had to make a move bc our Green Cabin reservation was for 9.30.
The best thing about that show was the way all the musicians seemed to be having the time of their lives, enjoying one another’s performance and expertise and working together to create some amazing sounds despite being from several different parts of the globe. There seemed to be something about music that linked them all, a common thread that runs through their blood. It was such an entertaining and brilliant performance overall, I wish I could have stayed for more sets but we had to move on. To me the Green Cabin has always been a place to get nice Chocolate Cake (to eat with vanilla ice cream on a sunday afternoon) and Lamprais. I never expected it to be a place where you can get superb Sri Lankan food at very reasonable prices. The little Garden Cafe has a nice quiet outdoor atmosphere which is ideal for a small group like ours. Try it out sometime.
We finished our meal around midnight and nobody was in the mood to go home so we decided to go to Baristas for some coffee. I was feeling slightly tired so I had two espressos which woke me up instantly. TNL had some event next door to Bari’s and there were a bunch of kids outside and a few inside. One of the boys inside was fiddling with a guitar and uncle B who was in a mildly tipsy state suggested that we should borrow the guitar and play a couple of songs. The guy was nice enough to part with his guitar and ammi’s other friend began playing a few classics like House of the Rising Sun. Within a few minutes the boy and his friend joined us and we were singing and drumming on the tables to timeless songs including Lemmon Tree, Obla Di Obla Da, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Knock three times. I was really surprised that the guitarist knew these songs bc he seemed to be about 17 years old, had spiked up hair and wore 3 quarter shorts, I’d have expected him to be jamming to Linkin’ Park, Slipknot etc. Looks can be deceptive I guess. Around 1am the boys’ parents also joined us and we sang even more and added some superb Sinhalese songs into the mix. It was such a Motley crew, a group of 11 ppl, half of whose names we didn’t even know and had never met before in our lives. And yet we got along so well and had such a great time, singing, laughing and almost dancing! Finally around 1.45 the Baristas’ folk began to close up so we had to make a move.
We stopped at uncle B’s place for some Baileys before heading home. Whilst driving back I marvelled at how easily all of us could have sat at different tables at Baristas without even exchanging a glance, and how throwing one guitar in brought everyone together to enjoy a marvellous evening. In today’s world it’s easy to feel despondent about human nature and the way we treat one another, but days like today make me realise that it’s not all bad.
Happy birthday ammi