“I’ve been working as an actor for at least twenty five years now and I’ve never before been involved in anything quite like this. AWoW is a unique blessing. So happy to be a member.” Jack O’Connell, actor
Young and extremely talented singer/Songwriter Tess Druckenmiller opened the night with three of her compositions. Exhibiting her musical versatility Tess played solo, accompanying her voice with acoustic guitar and piano. She sang three songs – “Break My Heart,” “Please Say Yes,” and “Red Wine.” Red Wine is included in Tess’s recently released EP, “Carousel.” Wonderful performance.
Thanks to Connie Roberts, who has introduced AWoW to a number of excellent poets, we were able to experience the poetry of Rafiq Kathwari, the first non-Irish recipient of the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award, in the 44-year history of the award. When asked to say a few words about his first Artists Without Walls’ experience, Rafiq Kathwari responded with a poem:
for Artists Without Walls
“Where are you from?” I’m often asked.
“From Kashmir,” I answer.
“Is that where wool comes from?”
Sometimes, I play it straight: I95
Exit 16, hang a left. In the Himalayas
my road diverged.
Not, “Where are you from?”
But where are we going
Charles R. Hale’s film, “The Musical History of the Lower East,” which was recently performed as a full-length musical production at Rockwood Music Hall, followed. The short film is a musical journey through the diverse cultures that have inhabited the Lower East City, New York City’s melting pot, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. “This could be a PBS or HBO special! A treasure.” Joanna Migdal.
Meridith Szalay followed with a dance piece entitled “Alan.” According to Meridith, “The dance allowed me to be emotionally vulnerable and send out my cries of pain.” The dance was a heart wrenching display of passion, heartache, and anger with Meridith lost in a swirl of intense feelings. “I felt as free as a bird. I flew directly into the heart of my storm of pain. I laid my broken heart on the dance floor” she said. Breathtakingly vulnerable, beautiful, and tender.
Multi-media artist, photographer and musician Dina Regine performed a few songs off her latest album, “Right On, Alright.” Dina, who sings with a gentle unease, varied her delivery from one track to another, from sweet to defiant to undeterred. “I had such a great time playing this evening! Thank you Artists Without Walls for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful event, and thanks to saxophonist Erik Lawrence for sitting in and dressing up my songs so cool.”
Erik Lawrence, a longtime Levon Helm sideman, has built his career as a saxophonist, flutists, composer and educator. Erik spoke of the power of music in the healing process and then proceeded to join the entire audience in a breathtaking chorus of healing and meditation. A few moments that won’t soon be forgotten by those in attendance.
“Thank you for the incredible opportunity and incredible reception to my work,” Erik said. Well deserved. For information about Erik’s work, sound healing/guided musical meditation concerts or private sound therapy sessions you can contact him at Erik Lawrence Music on Facebook.
The next Artists Without Walls’ Showcase will be at The Cell Theatre, 338 W23rd St., on Friday, November 20th.
Photos by Vera Hoar