The Santa Monica Mirror Got The Memo… But They Didn’t Know…


Dana Rondel, Keith Price, Kamasi Washington
Dana Rondel, Keith Price, Kamasi Washington

… Just How Raw and Magical “Word Paintings and Eye Music” Would Be…

It was indeed a magical night… The date was March 19, 2011… I was in Venice, California at Beyond Baroque… Keith Price, Percussionist, and Kamasi Washington, Saxophonist, showed up to fill in for Chris Woods, Violinist, the initial musician slated to accompany me during my performance reading, “Word Paintings and Eye Music.” Chris was called for another engagement, so I reached out to other musicians I knew in Los Angeles, and soon after synchronized with Keith Price and Kamasi Washington… They said yes…and then came the rest… Neither Keith, Kamasi or myself knew exactly what would happen this night but we were ready… We spoke on the phone not long before the performance… I was in from Connecticut for the week and excited about sharing my work with a new audience. I decided on readings from a previously published novel, “A Flower: It Has Its Own Song,” and at the time from my recently published novel, “Death Has Wings.” During one of my conversations with Keith Price, I shared that we would not need a rehearsal… “We should just go with the flow…” About an hour or so before our performance, I gave further instructions… I may have said, “I’ll be sharing excerpts from chapters within these two books… Each chapter has something about music… At times you’ll create a musical prelude for my readings, and at times during my readings, I will create an opening for your songful interludes… We’ll make it work…”

Before show time I helped staff from Beyond Baroque setup a “For Sale” table for my books, while Keith and Kamasi setup their instruments in the auditorium… Guests began to arrive… When everyone was seated, the presenter walked to the podium and talked into the mic… He shared the mission and purpose of the literary arts center, talked about future guests who would make an appearance there, then introduced and welcomed me to the mic… I stood from my seat and made my way over to the podium… I looked out at everyone and smiled… I welcomed our guests then talked about my intentions for “Word Paintings and Eye Music.” Not only did I want to pleasantly and positively stimulate the minds and hearts of my audience, I wanted to invoke in them feelings that would arouse thoughtful conversation…

When I was done with my welcome, I signaled to Keith Price, Percussionist, who was playing the djembe, bongos and other complimentary instruments, to begin… Kamasi Washington, Saxophonist, started on the piano… The music first played low… It soon rose into a higher crescendo of tones… I spontaneously joined in… “Music… Music… Music… its song is the rhythm that flows within me. It too is the soft sounds of the piano, the humming of a human voice, a bird’s melodious chirp, the blossoming of a flower and the sun’s silent rise. It is the beating of the human and Nature’s heart. It is the beginning.” I could feel how we in the auditorium were being touched by the syncopated beating of the drum, the harmony, melody and rhythm of the piano and the poetic music of words… As we became more and more entranced by the sounds that floated around us, we could experience ourselves letting go and letting life flow… We let ourselves explore and experiment with sound, tones and color… Our spirits and imaginations were freed and our improvisational quest became simply, a magical journey… I feel… I feel… the beat of life… I feel… I feel… the vibration of love… my soul dances… limitlessly…

Chapter 11

…one night, while alone in Harlem with a book of Langston’s poetry in my hands, I began to regard the gift’s God offered me throughout my life. There were times when I would not accept God’s gifts for me, for I didn’t always believe that I deserved them, but time would bring the blessings for my life back to me in one form or another. Eventually, I would accept them. One treasure that recycled itself in my mind and came to me, as first a memory then as a poem, was my husband. I read him over and over again on the pages of life, and when my voice was ready to make music, I sang him until he was born into form. Ezekiel brought into the world with him the breath of heaven; therefore, I couldn’t fall in love. I could only be lifted by it.

After each short reading, when the music slowed then paused, I hoped I had ignited within each of our guests, the urge to share their feelings, but instead they just kept asking for more… So we gave them more… More organic sound and poetic truth… I moved deeper into the book, in later chapters of, “Death Has Wings” and received from the pages lyrical verses and chants my breath could give color to…

Chapter 38

If there were no music, would there be life?

Fa Ma La… Fa Ma La…
Fa Ma La… Fa Ma La…
Fa Ma La… Fa Ma La…
We are All; All are One, Fa Ma La
One is All; All is Water; All is Earth
All is Wind and All is Lightseed,
Which are One, Fa Ma La…

We were coming to the end of the hour we had for our performance… Still there were no questions or comments from our audience; they just wanted to hear us make music… We obliged… One of the last song chants I shared that night beautifully expressed the sentiments I so deeply felt… Music made us one…

O heshe fama sonu
O heshe fama sonu
O heshe fama sonu
He is One
She is One
God is One
Together One

Music is magical when it makes us feel a sense of oneness within ourselves… Its vibrational frequency can shift our inner life, allowing us to experience more of ourselves in God and more of God is us… In our expanded dimensional reality, our greater awareness, we come to realize that what we choose for ourselves matter, and what we create for the world matters… Magic is made within the here and now of each moment… We all have the potential to recognize both the unseen and seen, intangible and tangible gifts of alchemy (magic)… When we let go and let ourselves be one with the organic frequency of life, the inner harmony of our own souls, the breath of our beings, the silent stillness and purity of our minds and hearts… whether alone, with another or others…this is magic… May we all love the music that makes life and us… and may we love life and us who make the music… Together One

I’ve decided to share with you, my community, the raw, un-cut, un-edited, non-rehearsed performance reading, “Word Paintings and Eye Music.” You’ll find it on the right, lower-side of my blog site, under the section, “Thoughts… Voice… Music…” I’m sure that putting into words how truly magical the night of March 19, 2011 was for me was not fully captured in this write-up… I will say, however, that Keith’s, Kamasi’s and my serene, nonetheless, invigorated and emboldened dispositions, and the audience’s response when they found out that we had never performed together before, provides a hint of how freely and effortlessly we aligned our minds and hearts with the natural, subtle presence in our midst. My first formal and physical acquaintance with Kamasi Washington was after he arrived at Beyond Baroque the night of March 19th, and although I was introduced to Keith Price in Los Angeles about a year prior to our March 19th event, we’d only spent time together as friends… Regardless, we each believed we could give the audience a great and memorable experience… and so we did… Together One

I hope you’ll listen to our performance and be inspired by its magic…I also want to extend my gratitude to Eric Butler, Music Composer, in Los Angeles, CA. Eric was instrumental in making our performance as amazing as it was. Although he was seated with the audience we felt and received his energy… Thank you for being you…

Eric Butler, Music Composer, Los Angeles, CA & Dana Rondel
Eric Butler, Music Composer & Dana Rondel

If you didn’t double-click on the first image at the very top of the article make sure to do so… I included great messages just for you…

Always sending forth love and light…Dana Rondel

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