Tag Archives: Music

The Beautiful Diversity of Being. Perspectives and (Analog) Nostalgia.

It’s all about perspective. If you lay on your back on the parched ground, you will see bright blue skies through the opening formed by your body in the tall elephant grass. It is yellowed and crispy. It does not move. You see, there is not a breath of wind. Air is vibrating in the heat adding shifting patterns to the sky.  And you think of dance. Relaxing, slow dance of the universe.

african-dance-nos1
Traditional dancers in Zimbabwe early 1990s

If you sit up your perspective changes. You see a thick wall of dry grass. Covered in dust it is still standing, proudly reaching for the skies. More out of habit than anything else. Elephant herds have not yet passed by here, and the sun has not yet completely broken its back. But it knows from experience that not a drop of water will come down for a long time.

elephants-crossing-luangwa-river-zambia-nos
An elephant family crossing the Luangwa river, Zambia,  late 1980s

If you stand up in the midst of the dry grass your perspective will change yet again. You will see the river flowing by. Its speed has slowed down since the rainy season and its banks are higher now. But it still transports the lifesaving elixir to all in need, people and wildlife alike. 

luangwa-river-bank-in-zambia-nos1
Luangwa River, Zambia,  late 1980s

Beyond the river you can see an acacia tree silhouetted against the sky. And a lone giraffe seeking shelter from the burning sun. Still months to go before the heavens will open, making the rivers overflow their banks and bringing the savannah to life again. It will get worse before it gets better.

giraffe-2-kenya-nos1
Giraffe in Kenya early 1990s

These are but a few perspectives on Africa. As seen from a small patch of tall elephant grass.

Before experiencing Africa in the late 1980s to mid 1990s I had no idea how much this continent would adjust my perspectives on life. And of those sharing my journey.

mike-and-mom-in-zambia-nos
Fresh from the plane. Our first day in Africa (Lusaka, Zambia) late 1980s

I embarked on this journey to widen my horizons, and to add to my perspectives on life. I hoped to gain a better understanding of the human experience through immersing in cultures and traditions so different from mine. I wanted to experience the wild. And hopefully to do some good along the way, however insignificant.

aulikki-at-coffee-ceremony-in-ethiopia-nos1
Attending a traditional coffee ceremony in Ethiopia in 1990
uganda-music-nos1
Performing Lingala songs in Kampala, Uganda mid 1990s

Those were my hopes and expectations, but I had no idea of how much the rest of my life would be influenced by Africa. That I would feel the passions and pains of its people in my bones. Develop a lifelong love of the wild creatures roaming its savannahs. And come to embrace, at least partially, the differences and similarities of lives lived under the same sun in various corners of our precious earth.

young-dancer-vic-falls-zambia-nos1
A young dancer in Livingstone, Zambia, late 1980s

What I learned gave me a firm respect for life, and overlapping perspectives to observe it from.

aulikki-work-zambia-nos1

Life is about following your path. Sometimes it may mean leaving behind the safe and familiar to experience the pulse of something new and different. To leap into the unknown in order to contribute, to learn, to discover and respect other perspectives than those one was born with. To see the beautiful diversity of being. aulikki-and-dylan-birthday-2016

Last week I grew a year older. An excellent opportunity to reflect on what has been. Thinking back to this meaningful passage in my life, I feel nostalgia. And tremendous gratitude for having had the privilege to peek into life on this old continent over several years in several countries. Despite some hazards and heartaches, my eight years in Africa rise to the surface among the good things that have enriched  my life experience. I appreciate the hardships and the blessings. Africa captured my heart.

On my birthday I found nostalgia right there in my lap, together with Dylan. And went to try on my Ethiopian national dress. It still fits.

 

I picked up on Lucille, started singin’ blues…

B.B. King was one of the music legends featured at this year’s annual Sugar Sand Festival on Clearwater Beach, voted the best beach in the US this year – again. I welcome you to join me for this music themed art tour to discover some great works by sand sculptors from all over the world.

SSF CLW BeachThe skillfully sculpted exhibits featured artists from the 60s and 70s, like Jimi Hendrix…

SSF jimi Hendrix…and Janis Joplin, both with an impressive hair of soft sand.

SSF Janis JoplinSome wild rock bands, like Kiss, were also featured…

SSF Kiss…along with good ol’ bluegrass bands. Such an impressive detail. I could almost hear the banjo playing and feel the foot tapping on the sand.

SSF Bluegrass BandSome classics, like the Glenn Miller Band, were present too.

SSF Glen MillerAnd jazz of course, here represented by the phenomenal Louis Armstrong.

SSF Louis ArmstrongMy visit to this exhibition was just a couple of days after the death of Prince. A sculptor was at work to add him into the parade of musicians who had passed away recently…

SSF Prince…such as David Bowie, here portrayed as Ziggy Stardust.

SSWF David BowieI really liked this whimsical portrait of Bob Marley. It made me smile too.

SSF Bob Marley.jpgAnd I was intrigued by the fine representatives of the first musicians, the troubadours. They put their heart on their sleeve while serenading fine ladies. Sometimes with mixed success, I guess.

SSF TroubadourAll in all it was a very interesting exhibition of sand sculptures. I am full of admiration for the sculptors and how they are able to create something so delicate yet durable out of the sugar soft sand we have here.

You can find other responses to the Weekly Photo Challenge “Admiration” here.

Sibelius. Bears, Wolves and Goldeneye Ducklings. In the Wilderness.

This Fourth of July holiday weekend, I’d like to share with you a simple gift of beauty. Captivating scenes from an award winning documentary series “Wild Scandinavia” by Gulo Film Productions. This short video is pulled together from the episode about Finland, my birth country. Nine and a half minutes packed with wonder, drama, action and peace, all at the same time. And Music! Amazing footage of the wilderness and its inhabitants…to the tune of my all time favorite symphonic poem, Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius.

Make sure to watch on full screen…the Northern Lights are stunning and the Osprey fishing scene is one of the best I’ve ever seen. You’ll notice my favorite bird is not only an excellent fisherman, but musically gifted too. Enjoy!

I hope friends celebrating July 4th had a wonderful time yesterday, and that everyone’s weekend is going great.

Swan Songs and Alligators.

I’m back home after a great trip. I shouldn’t really say this was a short vacation, as I feel no need to take time off from my permanent vacation here on our barrier island. My travels nowadays are usually connected to work or visiting family overseas. But this was different. A trip back in time. To my musical youth. One of those nostalgic journeys I like to make occasionally. Changing my zip code for a few days. This time it was 32805.

orlando downtown
Downtown Orlando

So I went with hubby to see the good ol’ Stones. And I wasn’t disappointed. They are still rolling with an amazing speed.  And a strong, familiar beat in a masterful production. After playing together for over 50 years they still fill stadiums with 60K people. Remarkable.

Orlando zip code…
…concert.

That was an experience to add to the previous ones. Several of which were said to be the last tour, the swan song. But retirement doesn’t seem to be in these guys’ vocabulary. Mick said “see you in 30 years”. And I’m not sure whether or not he was joking.

So I saw an alligator, even if I didn’t have the time to go to the wetlands. But fortunately I could see some birds. Like this Swan family.

two juvenile swans orlando
Juvenile Swans
baby swan 2
One of the juvenile Swans
daddy swan orlando
Papa Swan

And many other birds familiar from the salt marsh, including a few juveniles.

great egret orlando
A Great Egret
cormorant
A Cormorant
juvenile great egret
A juvenile Great Egret

Now I’ll need to catch up on your blogs. And first thing tomorrow I’ll go see the Osprey family. I’ve heard there were very strong storms here at home last Friday night. I hope all of them are safe. I already have a sense that a lot has changed while I was away. But that will be for another story later this week.

Keep rolling, and have a wonderful week.