AUGUST 2016
It’s hot. August in Indiana is hot. And humid. That’s what comes to mind when I consider playing August festivals. It’s hard to play in the heat. Taiko is aerobic. Sweat pours when we play in an air-conditioned climate-controlled environment. When we play outside in hot, humid weather, sweat is the least of my concerns. I get so overheated, I can’t think straight. My mind quits processing and my body takes over. Thankfully, I have played most of these songs so many times they are ingrained in my nervous system. It is both exhilarating and disconcerting, feeling my body move through songs as if in auto pilot. This out-of-body experience works as long as I keep out of it. The minute I check in and question what is happening, I’m lost. One year I was out in 90+ degree heat playing through a song I have played for years– a song I know as well as I know my children’s faces. We had agreed to play through it three times. I got through it twice and had started the third round when I suddenly started to think about what I was doing. And as the thought flashed through my mind, I was lost; I suddenly had no idea where I was. I was completely disoriented to time and place as if I had quantum leaped into a stranger’s body.  In frustration, I started jumping up and down to the pulse with an intensity that seemed to speak to the crowd. Positioned front and center, I was hard to miss. Interestingly enough, the crowd loved it. They either missed the fact that I was completely lost in the song or they simply didn’t care; instead, they responded to my energy. And I responded to them. I abandoned the song and rode the wave and learned several lessons: 1) even songs that I know well can be lost given the right circumstances and 2) there is more to an appealing performance than playing well. Energy is always the key. I hope to keep these things in mind as we move into late summer performances. May the heat and humidity stay at bay; may we yield to our body wisdom; and no matter what happens, may we have the grace to surf the energy like a wave.

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