Three hours spent in a relaxed setting and we learned lots about our affable 39-year-old nephew Bret. Sitting in the center of a trio, with various musical tools, eyes closed, he used his hands and vocal cords to rhythmically entertain a room of a dozen fans for ninety minutes.
Advertised on their website as, “A contemporary classical ensemble born primarily from the lineages of African, Indian, western classical, and jazz music, Kamala is a connection to the interdependent, abundant universe surrounding us,” their donations-only event took place in his friend’s Brooklyn apartment. Located nearby BAM, the view of the city lights from the 17th floor was breathtaking. The subtle sounds of the cello, guitar and Bret’s percussion pieces, enhanced with his vocal interludes, made for a total Zen experience.
Before the ensemble performed, we learned that the guitarist is also from New Jersey. When we told him that we came in from South Orange, he said that he grew up in Clinton and Stockton. My husband and I immediately noted that was in WDVR country, where my husband is the host of a weekly radio show (tune in Fridays at 4:00 pm eastern at www.wdvrfm.org). It turned out that Matt was a volunteer during his high school years, at the start of the station, before my husband came on board in 1997. Now, he’ll have the opportunity to return as a guest on The World of Work next spring to perform with Kamala and discuss their group’s start-up and intentions.
Circling to Lara, the cellist for Kamala, I told her about Bret’s cousin David (sharonmarkcohen.com blog: JUST WHO ARE/WERE OUR COUSINS? OCTOBER 16, 2018). As I started to read her parts of the blog about David’s accomplishments, she picked up where I mentioned their cousin Charles Neidich. She burst out that she was in awe of Charles Neidich as she studied under him when she was getting her masters degree at Queens. She was amazed to learn that he was Bret’s cousin. The funny part is that Bret would have had no clue if it weren’t for my family tree research.
Making those connections with our nephew’s fellow performers was fun but more revealing were the conversations with his friends and learning where they all met, be it on the music scene on the streets of New York City, or in his hometown of Philadelphia. For some it was playing instruments, for others chess, or a new term I learned, dumpster diving. It had been too long since we had seen Bret but the vibes of that evening will continue in a few weeks when he comes to our home in South Orange to take a nice long walk and catch-up, followed with an appearance on the radio. Stay tuned.
Interested in learning more? Go to Kamalaensemble.com.