Prague, Czech Republic

May 2009

Prague_Concert'09We were due to perform in Czech Republic some years ago but it didn’t work out, ever since then my dear friend Akshaya has been reminding me that we owe her country some concerts! For various reasons we ended up touring France and the Baltic countries before honouring our debt to Czech but all that was put right with our two and a half (explanation coming) concerts in May.

Akshaya invited us to perform at their annual Meditation week, quite an honour as they only have one concert during the course and all other nights feature different lecturers. We arrived the day prior to the concert and started the daunting task of getting musically ship-shape — we hadn’t practised together since April — but things came together nicely and by late afternoon the next day we felt we were ready to give a concert.

The hall was lovely and the stage beautifully decorated, there was even one of Sri Chinmoy’s original Jharna Kala Bird paintings. During the first half of the concert we found the audience very peaceful and respectful but at the same time we struggled to make that real connection which adds to the joy of any concert. All that changed when we begun the second half with the song Sri Chinmoy composed for the Czech Republic, at once the hall came alive and for the rest of the concert we felt energised by the audience. I had never heard this song before, I was familiar with the his powerful Czechoslovakia song (very beautiful but maybe a little inappropriate more than a decade after separation),

Akshaya faxed it over less than a week before we departed but in this short time Eshana came up with a piano arrangement and Cello part which highlighted the beauty and power of the song. The lyrics are in Bengali and we didn’t manage to find a translation until shortly before the concert, as I read it I was once more struck by Sri Chinmoy’s ability to divinely ‘hit the nail on the head’, the song sums up the unique qualities we see in our Czech brothers and sisters, the two words that really hit home were Virtue and Knowledge-Light.

Czech Republic, Czech Republic, Czech Republic

In knowledge light and virtue delight you transcend all, you far surpass all,

Everywhere your victory banner the world beholds.

Sleeplessly you march forward, on you march, on you march,

With a confidence heart and life, on you march.

The next day we combined performing with sight seeing, Abhisar had organised a mini concert at Hluboká Castle — all turrets and fairy tales — we were blessed by clear skies and curious but respectful tourists, plus a look inside at the full coats of armour and serious looking ancestors. After that we headed to Budweiss and just about managed to get set up for our last concert before the audience arrived. That night we returned to Prague and the next morning everyone headed back to their respective countries, a little tired but happy and fulfilled.

All thanks to the super Czech organisers, especially Akshaya (the perfect host), Kritartha, Pavel for lending us his synthesizer and Abhishar for organising things in Budweiss.

– Shankara

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