Sunday Evening Reflection: Klapa Music in Croatia

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The Vancouver winter storm was to be over in an afternoon.  And yet, here I am in the late evening looking out my window onto a street full of snow, with more coming overnight.  It is a lovely sight, especially from my warm perch with a cup of tea close by. Tomorrow, everyone (including me) will be out with their cameras determined to capture the layers of snow.

Tonight, I chose to leave Vancouver and head over to memories of Croatia, where I discovered Klapa music.  Well, to be honest, I did not know it was Klapa music until a few days ago when I met up with my Croatian neighbour.  When I showed her my video, tears came to her as she remembered her homeland. It is a magnificent blend of voices that resonate with exuberance and power.

Klapa is a form of traditional a cappella singing that comes from Dalmatia, Croatia. In 2012, Klapa was inscribed in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Klapa speaks of love, life and home.

“Klapa singing is a multipart singing tradition of the southern Croatian regions of Dalmatia. Multipart singing, a capella homophonic singing, oral tradition and simple music making are its main features. The leader of each singing group is the first tenor, followed by several tenori, baritoni and basi voices. During performances, the singers stand in a tight semicircle. The first tenor starts the singing and is followed by the others. The main aim is to achieve the best possible blend of voices.”

UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Welcome to a new week.  May your days be filled with music of love, life and home.

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Reflection – Shetland

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“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” Khalil Gibran

Welcome to Sunday Night Reflection. I invite you to join me on a quiet walk through Kergord Woods. It is early Spring and green leaves are beginning to appear. It is a little chilly so bring along a sweater.

Kergord Woods is a symbol of resilience against Shetland’s fierce winter gales.  It is a forest that thrives since its planting in 1913 by Dr.George Munro who owned Kergord Estate. What was designed to be a shelter belt of Japanese larch, Sitka spruce, Silver fir and other species, has become a welcoming home to woodland birds.

 

 

Cherry Blossoms Welcome April

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“Between our two lives
there is also the life of
the cherry blossom.”
Matsuo Bashō

The cherry blossoms grace our lane ways and gardens, welcoming April, the month that was, in ancient Rome, sacred to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. April is the month that gave us Leonardo da Vinci, William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth and, more recently, Wangari Maathai, Maya Angelou and Ella Fitzgerald.  There is a warmth in the chill of an April evening, perfect for the beginning of journeys as immortalized in Geoffrey Chaucer’s, The Canterbury Tales.

What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.”
Kobayashi Issa

For me, April has always been about cherry blossoms.  Vancouver is renowned for our approximately 50,000 cherry trees, which flower in varying shades of pink and white.  Every year, we hold a Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival.

“In the cherry blossom’s shade
there’s no such thing
as a stranger.”
Kobayashi Issa

The cherry blossom is Japan’s national flower that has given birth to hanami, a century-old custom that is said to have its origins in the Nara period (710-794) which simply means flower viewing.  Families and friends gather under the canopy of flowering cherry trees to share a meal and gaze up at the delicate white and pink against a pristine sky of blue. Nighttime brings out the paper lanterns that people carefully place in the trees to add a spectacular illumination, which highlights the profound idea of the ephemeral nature of life. The blossoms come for a moment to bestow a graceful elegance,  covering pathways with petals, then, slipping away with the silent promise to return the next year.

So, my dear friends, I invite you to join me under the canopy of a Vancouver cherry tree.

Cherry Blossoms from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.

 

“Cherry blossoms – lights of years past.”
Matsuo Bashō

Celebrating International Friendship Day

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“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Gift of Creativity

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Creativity is central to the human spirit.  It is in everything we do, feel, enjoy.  A line of poetry, a few notes of a musical score, the aroma home-made bread, the vibrant colours of a sunset – all speak to our emotional need for beauty. We experience this first hand through the lens of our memories, our current reality, and cultural awareness.

My journey to understanding art and artists, has led me to a profound conclusion.  That is, we all have a gift to visualize creativity through the eyes of another.  Another time, another culture, another perspective.

 

 

Stopping Time

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“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”  Anaïs Nin

I have often thought of this quote by Anaïs Nin – not in the context of a writer, but in the framework of a photo. Ever since Joseph Nicephore Niepce clicked the first photo in 1814, humanity has been beguiled by the ability to capture something important.  It is our only way to stop time, to remember our journeys, and proclaim that we have lived, felt love, endured challenges and sustained losses.

I confess that I am a “photo hoarder.”  Yes, even the photos that I consider “second best” remain safely stored on external drives in hopes that some day there may be an editing program that will be invented that will enhance and bring out their beauty. By beauty, I mean the emotional impression of that event.

Just last week, I went back to “taste life twice.”  The year was 2004.  I had purchased my first digital camera, a Canon Powershot A70, for a long-awaited trip to Italy to enroll in a 3-week Italian language course.  The reviews were as generous as I was enthusiastic: “The PowerShot A70 is much more than just a 3.2-megapixel version of its predecessor, the A40.”   I was convinced that this was an excellent purchase.

With a camera in hand, there is added emotional drama at play, more clarity, more interest in the “now.”  This awareness was most keenly felt when I walked the lush paths of Frederick Stibbert’s Garden.  It was a late October afternoon. A gentle light settled on the trees and aging walls, a faint wind tossed the leaves.  A quiet solitude lifted my spirits.  I had recently finished an arduous academic journey and was at a crossroads.

Looking back on these photos, I remember a pivotal decision, made with a recognition that we move in tune with the music of time, surrounded by those who came before and those who will come after. Our myths, our struggles, our joys are intermingled.  Perhaps it is in the retrospective, in knowing what happened afterwards, that reveals a greater understanding.  And with that knowledge, we move forward with profound resolve to embrace the next moment.