I'm still trying to shake this horrible Australian flu that's going around Paris, which means my cultural outings have been seriously curtailed. I even missed a performance of the Alvin Ailey dance company, which I'd been looking forward to all year. My husband took my daughter, so the ticket wasn't wasted, but it wasn't the mother-daughter bonding experience I had been looking forward to.
Then this week I had sort of the opposite experience, where I dragged myself out of bed to attend a concert by the blues singer Pura Fe, only to be stood up by my husband, who apparently "forgot" about it (although I gave him the ticket that morning so he could meet me). The only good part about all this is imagining his face as he walked in the door and the kids informed him that Mommy was going to "kill him" for not showing up.
Luckily, I had a couple of other friends attending the show so that while I did sit by myself, I didn't feel totally abandoned. It was one of the few times I've been to this theater when it hasn't been full, but the low-key atmosphere actually created a kind of intimacy once the concert got going.
Pura Fe is not an artist I was at all familiar with before this year. A singer-songer of Native American descent, originally from New York, but now living in North Carolina, she has a voice imbued with life experience and can sound close to Bonnie Raitt or Joni Mitchell, depending on the song. She isn't the most charismatic performer when introducing the music. There wasn't much patter or attempts to charm. But when she sang it was a whole different story and she had no trouble drawing in the crowd and winning it over.
The concert was a mix of straight blues, protest songs, and traditional Native chanting. In addition to lead vocals, Pura Fe played the lap slide guitar, not an instrument you see too much of in Paris, and was backed by a trio of other musicians: Pete Knudson on percussion ( a "cajon" which looks basically like a wooden box), Corey Morin on lead guitar and Charlie Lowry on backing vocals. Each member of the group was given a chance to shine and it was another reminder of how many truly talented musicians are probably toiling out there in obscurity while auto-tuned crap clogs up the airways. But I digress.
It was just what I needed to pierce the fog that seems to permanently encase my head these days. And while that cottony, dizzy, shaky feeling has returned this morning, at least I have the memory of an authentic musical night out to keep me comfort me.