Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Would there be someone to sing a song for you?

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I have been putting off the writing of this post for a month.
Today I just felt this is going to be the day I am going to talk about it.

It's not going to be funny, or witty or entertaining, so if you are in for that, skip that post! But if you want to read something from the hearth, I think you'll like this.

I am going to talk about a special person, who I never knew or met, but who's death affected me greatly for the past month.

You all remember that I did a huge article on the Native American Festival in Saratoga, and after I finished it, I promised that I am going to talk about the dancers, but this never happened right?

Well, it didn't happen sooner even though I have been thinking about it pretty much every day since visited the festival, because I never knew how exactly to explain what happened there.

Meet Don Barnaby( Micmac), the Head Male Dancer of the Saratoga Festival.

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I have seen him dancing at the same festival in 2007 and he struck me as very lively, very fun and outgoing person, very friendly.
This time, when we went to see the dancers, I couldn't believe how he danced! It was like he wasn't there, like he wasn't human at all, he was just dancing in the rhythm and the rhythm was him.
It was striking to see such a personal experience shared with so many people on the dance arena, like it was a private moment that we were not supposed to see.

After the break, they've announced that Don Barnaby wants to sing a song that is not in the schedule, a song for his cousin Grace ( I think her last name was Condo) who passed away the previous night.

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He could have left.
He could have refused to dance and just head back for the funeral.
But he didn't.
He started talking, you could see how hard this moment was for him, because of the connection he had with his relative, he spoke about her, very briefly, explaining what a valued member of her community she was, one of the elders in her tribe, how she helped people and what a nice person she was.
He couldn't talk very much, apparently distraught, so he just asked us to stand up, to put the cameras down and to give her a silent minute while he was singing for her and to think about all the people we have lost.

I have no idea what song he sang. He didn't say the name, the song wasn't even in English, so nobody could understand the exact words he was saying but he just mesmerized us!

Nobody was moving, you couldn't hear even birds.
It was completely quiet and only his voice was breaking the silence with this very beautiful and sad song.

He said that he was thinking if he should go back or not, and he decided to stay and honor her memory in front of all the people here, who would honor her, think about her, talk about her and remember her on the day of her death!

What a beautiful way to show somebody respect!

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I was completely speechless.
I wanted to go and talk to him, but I just couldn't. I was just standing there, listening to him, seeing his pain and feeling it through his voice.


At this exact moment you could feel Grace's presence there with us. You could see all the people who stood still around us, bowing their heads, some of them embracing each other, some of them with tears in their eyes, and you could feel the presence of all the people they have lost.

The air was heavy with love and sorrow!

Thinking about the people who are not between us is never easy, talking about them even less easier.
But singing a song about them is something different.

I hope there would be at least one person who would honor my memory with a song the way Don did for his cousin Grace, God bless her soul and God bless his big heart!

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