Friday, August 23, 2013

Some piano to melt hearts

Many a time do I listen to a song or a piece of music where my heart just swells with awe, warmed by the utter beauty. One that sits on repeat on my iTunes for about a week.
I share with you today one such piece, an improvisation piano piece Comptine d'un auntre été by a youtuber called lollocompo. The piece was inspired by the movie Amelie.


Monday, August 19, 2013

A Call from Home

It's just over two years ago when my fourteen year old self went on an expedition to Kenya and Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. A troupe of 11, we set out to make it to the top of Africa, 5895 metres high, and we did it. It was truly one of my greatest experiences. And now I'm going back, to Kili.

It was on our journey back to SA that my dad and I decided that we were not done with this mountain, and so this year has been a furious plan fest of trips.  I have actually just arrived back from an adventure at the coast, a five day hike called the Otter Trail -which will be promptly shared when I come back, no fear. 

This time though on Kilimanjaro, my brother is also coming, not to mention a familiar face from our last Kili stint, Sibusisu Vilane (pictured in first photo). We couldn't go without him, so we're not! Our flight leaves tomorrow at 13:30, our first stop, Nairobi Airport, and yes, we are aware that the entire arrivals section has burnt down. I hear the Duty Free is a table (chuckles) but apparently they're making due, so we will too. *shrugs*

I have so many wonderful memories from my trip, and I hold that land, those people -our guides and their team, and the people in both Tanzania and Kenya- in my heart. It was that raw earthiness to both the countries and its peoples that struck me to my core, and it was there where I realized that part of my Calling is to help people, and to be a humanitarian. 

Suddenly it feels like I was there yesterday, and the mountain and the two lands it watches over seem to be calling me back, back home. 

It's going to be incredible.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Ashton -Chris, I am so sorry

I judged you because you were the pretty boy, the dumb guy in every comedy show ever, the cutesy, the almost there sincere guy in What Happens in Vegas, the kuger arm-candy, but Ashton -excuse me, Chris Ashton Kutcher, I am so sorry. 

Now if your thoughts at this moment go something like 'What the hell? Has she gone mad? This is Ashton Kutcher -he is all of that!'

Well, my friends, I am overjoyed to say -so much that I have just finished watching the video and clicked straight away to write this- that all of that has been wiped clean in my eyes. 
Let me start by asking if anybody here watched the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday? Wait, who am I talking to? You here, reading my blog, are a seasoned individual and wouldn't be caught dead watching such pop culture garbage. Comrades, I am simply bursting with happiness that this year, something amazing happened on that stage, and yes, it has to do with Ashton Kutcher. 

See this week he won the Ultimate Choice Award (applause to him) and when he went up to do what everyone on the planet thought he would, which is give one of those 'I love you guys, I'm here because of you...blah, blah, blah...' speeches, he gave what I call the most authentic, honest and sincere appeals to the audience, but also to the world. I was blown away as I watched the Youtube video that my aunt shared on Facebook, and so I share this video with you all today. It starts off as the classic funny guy speech, but then it changes into pure gold. I urge you, listen to his words. They are worth that.

Anyone want to join me in their apologies to Chris?
Let's list those three things;

1.Opportunity looks a lot like hard work.

2.Be sexy. The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart, being thoughtful, being generous. Everything else, is crap, I promise you.

3.Build a life, don't live one.

Please, give a moment to think about all of this, give a moment to Chris, and then hold those words in your heart. 

They are so true. 

Chris, you are a brilliant human being. Salutes to you, man.

P.S I would also like to direct your attention that Chris Ashton Kutcher has made it under my Amazing People label.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Grahamstown Arts Fest Day 3

Do you know what sounds like music to my ears? 
Free time to explore!

It was our third day in Grahamstown and we were wonderfully granted 3 hours to our own accord at Village Green -it was time to check the place out properly!

My first stop was to visit Jan, the artist again -this time armed with my iPhone as I put it to him. I was completely enraptured by the beauty of his art, especially his painting called Gypsy.


What's more wonderful is that Jan then gave me a gift to thank me for coming back to his stall -it was a medium sized printing proof of Gypsy! I left feeling utterly warmed.

The rest of my time was spent going around, meeting brilliant new people and thoroughly enjoying bartering with some very non-Indian vegetarian Indian food salesmen. As I passed their stall, I was affronted by their rather funny appearances. Three non-Indian men, dressed in a cross between Shaolin monk robes and Hindu saris, with a laughable attempt of a dot in the middle of their forehead, which looked suspiciously like a smearing of curry paste they had finger painted onto their foreheads. I commented to them that my mother is a vegetarian and that I was very familiar with this kind of food. They replied that she was setting a brilliant example for me, to which I replied that I don't think vegetarianism was coming my way for a good while, or ever. I was considering that I'm not sure if my scarily low blood pressure condition could take it. We debated for a few more minutes, before I decided to move on and I found myself at a stall I had walked into the day before called Home Grown Music, which sold indie South African music. Some of that stuff was honestly amazing -I even bought a CD, by a singer called Sarab Deva. 

Fabulous tunes, but what my memorable moment of the day actually was was meeting this man named Martin who was standing in the stall next to the manager. I went to ask the manager about the song he had just played, which happened to be Sarab Deva singing, and I found out that this random guy standing in the stall was the pianist for her CD! I started talking to Martin and we spiritedly bantered for a straight 45 minutes! I heard the most amazing stories and things from and about Martin, and only after my friend dragged me away because the bus was going to leave without me, was I forced to wish him goodbye. Have I ever mentioned that I absolutely love meeting amazing people? I always feel totally encapsulated with awe and zeal when in contact with the interesting and new. Ah...

I'll admit, I shouldn't realised it was going to be ridiculous. That afternoon a bunch of us decided to go and support our wunderkind clarinetist, Naledi in a show in which he was playing. Thankfully, we made it in for free. I'd rather not elaborate too far into the show, but I'll give you a few comments on it that will basically sum up it all. 

At fifty, I want that lady's body, forget about Jessica Alba!
I really can't stand Afrikaans crass humour.
My goodness, the transvestite thing, errrr....
Wow Naledi! You play the saxophone too?! You're brilliant!

I will add that Elzabe Zietsman, the lady in the show has an amazing voice, but also a heart of gold. The reason Naledi was performing in the show is that Elzabe, through a scholarship charity she started called the Doily Foundation, is actually sponsoring him, his younger brother, a pair of twin girls and another boy to go to the National School of the Arts.

After the show, we all went for lunch and then on our walk back to the dorms, we were stopped on the street by a group of actors. They offered us free tickets to go and see the final performance of their play the next night called Rituale Romanum. We happily trotted off with our plans for the early shift of the next night with our money still in our pocket. That's just it about the Grahamstown fest. Every Tom, Dick and Harry on the street is some concert pianist, jazz trumpeter, actor or performer at least, aaand, they're all carrying around tickets to their shows  
-love it!

That evening we played our first proper concert in the main cathedral. I can't say I enjoyed the first concert entirely. The acoustics in that church are awful, maybe not to listen to, but to play in, yes. Agh, it was like wading through mud and sludge, while still trying to perform Tchaikovsky's Polonaise.

We had planned to go to a hypnosis show that night, but by accident, the girl who had set the alarm to wake us up to get ready for the show -we decided to snooze a little as it was a late performance- set it for the next morning 9 and not that evening. Utterly mortified, the others decided to go out for their partying in the early hours, and I stayed in.

Note: I was the human looking one the next morning. (Chuckles)


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Feminine Essense

Women are infinite, boundless, enchanting. Within them lies the infinite power of the universe. Yet that power is dormant and unused in many of us, because of the dour littering of the past. We just can't seem to find the key to the gate, but all it really takes to tap into it is the frame of mind that believes in that vastness and strives towards it. I am such a believer, believer in being vast.  

I am a feminist, but dear ones, my kind of feminism is not the extreme, harsh  landscape that society has pasted with negative connotations. No one is saying screw men, not at all. Feminism is not the belief that women are superior, men are evil and we should be able to grow out our leg hair. The embryo of feminism was spawned by the women rights campaigns in the days where a woman was not trusted to hold a bank account or vote. At that point in time, yes, the radicality of burning bras and giving a good telling off to the men who were equally conditioned into the state of inequality and oppression was necessary, and for all of that feminism has coined a near swear word status in society. Oooh, you're a feminist... 

Unfortunately that attitude has travelled through the years, culminating now in the belief that feminists are harsh, anti-male Amazonians who are aggressive and want there to be absolutely no distinguishing between being a man or a woman. And that is where I must intervene and say no. Feminism is not that, for it and the times we live in are very different. They both have morphed and changed and do not nearly resemble their distant selves. Feminism requires a new understanding and a new approach -from both sexes. 

Thankfully we have arrived now in a society that has indeed in many ways evened out, however on the one side, feelings of inferiority among girls and women and shaded gender discrimination still exist in the modern consciousness. On the other side and even blurred into the first, a complete rejection has occurred toward the embodying of the feminine essence by women, because of the butch approach of conventional "feminism" 
In an unconscious attempt to overcome the remaining discrimination of our modern society, women have tried to make the seemingly gender equal environment so even that women have forgotten their own nature, the nature that seethes from the womanly soul. 

Our feminine essence. 

Today I, Petite Dynamite, am introducing to the world a new take on feminism, my take. It both honours and distinguishes the two sexes for the differences that exist between them, sans the plight of centuries of conditioning. It encourages women to be all powerful and amazing, without needing to be dominatory or war-like. This new M.O on feminism is really not very similar at all to the feminism at which everyone hisses, for it calls for a new way of thinking. A way of thinking that allows a more compassionate, natural approach to women empowerment and tapping into the flowing chi of abundance that comes with ease when in balance with one's true nature. 

Therefore a new segment is 
adorning my topics tab, titled, you guessed it, Feminine  Essence. This dewy branch of my blog is dedicated to the radiant beings out there called women. It's purposes is to celebrate, discuss, inform and share and I am doubly excited! This has been harbouring in my consciousness for quite some time and I will confess to having written two posts already.(grins) 

Happy Women's Day! Fireworks and sparklers for you all. 


P.S. Sorry boys. I am aware that this isn't the most gender neutral segment to my blog, but look on the bright side; If you were ever curious to what's really going on in our heads -perhaps a tad more of my head in some cases- here is your opportunity. Enjoy. 

P.P.S 80% of this post was written on my iPhone as I am currently without my laptop. Petite Dynamite gone mobile!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Poetry from the Soul

    This is a poem that I wrote inspired by my free write My feet want      to..., and it is also my entry for a Creative Writing Competition!

     My feet want to...

     My feet want to walk up the mildewy steps of Wudang
     hidden in its quiet existence between the giant sylvan molehills of the gods,
     a mandolin, unobserved, bows its sweet eastern tune
     eternal in all its twanginess,
     a stone square dotted with the white silk robes of ones early and late in time
     performing tai chi,
     two come down steps from higher places with the wood strung roots of tonight’s soup

      I see the warm face of a lao taitai,
     crow eyed from almost a century of smiling,
     dunking modest clothes into a flat bucket on her lap,
     releasing the chime of water disturbed
     A sough mist caresses the risen fingertips of the robes
     hands morph into lotus as though to absorb the chi of passing wind spirits,
     laughter of missing milk teeth echo in a room with no furniture,
     behind me the powerful snap of an intruding flash onto film is let off
     the silence disturbed into a microcosm of heightened stillness,
     but just as unsettlement rose, so too did the mute hush of the still
     sending the megapixels off and out of this place

     The eyes of a temple sage sweep over this damp world below,
     tracing the dynastical insignia of ages not too long lived
     adorning the carved arches of an ancient architect,
     in his eyes is not the understanding of buzzing chats and likes
     ornate by no grasping of the utter noisiness of life eluding the here,
     the circling of black dotted with white and white dotted with black
     yin and yang
     the ray of harmony that garnishes this being
     a gift for the ignorance of less wisdom   

  Hold thumbs, friends.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Grahamstown Arts Festival Day 2

The next morning, it was back to our old friend.

Now as much as I enjoy performing, one thing that grates at me is waiting. To elaborate further, we played two pieces and a hymn in the beginning of the service.... and three and a half hours later we played two other pieces and a hymn at the end of it. The look of affiliation most of my fellow players' eyeballs had toward the pointed ends of their instruments was a bit of a tell tale sign to their slight annoyance. Nevertheless, once we were set loose on the rest of Grahamstown that day, then things started becoming interesting!

It was time to get our flash mob on, but alas, the course of genius never did run smooth. As we arrived en masse, trudging our instruments alongside us -oh, how I feel sorry for the cellos and double basses- we discovered that a jazz band was scheduled to be playing for a solid hour there before we were allowed to mob the place. Our conductor told us that we could therefore take the hour to explore and said he and the Orchestra Company's manager would look after our instruments. My first thought was Hell no! I was not going to leave my violin on a piece of newspaper in plain walkway of hundreds of peoples' feet, just begging to be stepped on. So for the next hour I carried my violin around with me while I journeyed into the white tents of Village Green.

Unfortunately, in the rush of unzipping my case on a cramped bus seat and trying really hard not to be bludgeoned by passing brass giants like say, a tuba, I managed to forget my iPhone on the bus. Oh the horror. As I ventured into the first tent I walked passed little stall after little stall, each with their own beautiful touch of creativity. Vintage, earthy and boho clothing stalls dotted the landscape of the tent, with the occasional art and crafts stall. One that was particularly memorable was the miniature gallery of an artist named Jan Cilliers de Wet. He is a painter and ah, his artworks were exquisite. I started talking to him and telling him about how much I loved art and how I wish I could break into it at some point. Interested, he asked why and I told him the truth -that I just do too many things. I noticed that he has a blog, and I mentioned that I have one too and we talked a bit about writing and art. I promised to return the next day so I could take some photos of his art for my blog.

The rest of my trip around was the equivalent of squizzing into every tent to see what was there so I could explore further the next day, while trying to keep the meeting point for the flash mob in sight. I just had this feeling that somehow I was going to get engrossed into an art display and then would hear my orchestra starting to play in the distance. It didn't happen thank goodness! I met everyone on time and then we were ready to carry out the plan. 

1.Place mock string quartet of Concertmaster Jonathan Meyer, cellist Peter and Dineo, violinist, in clearing

2.Come in from all directions

3. Wait for the signal of our conductor Eddie shouting 1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4! as he hits his drum sticks

4. Start playing Summer, with a Twist -Vivaldi's Four Seasons' Summer, but with a really cool drum and percussion beat to it

So, first 3 steps, great, except for the fact that there weren't that many places to come from and I guess you could say we weren't the most pop in, pop out kind of flash mob. The fourth, good too, but please, if you haven't already, notice my use of grade 1 no-no words as description. It's not that we played badly, not at all, in fact we played very well, but agh, remember I mentioned that the day before we had a flash mob practice? That we were getting used to not hearing each other while playing? Well, we couldn't hear each other. The piece turned out fine, but not fantastic, HOWEVER, as we began to walk our way out of the clearing our french horns and brass sections started playing this African sounding chord progression. Feeling the African beat in our souls, we all began chiming in with harmonies and solos! Very very cool.

That afternoon it was up again to the Monument to play a free sun downer concert. The stands for the audience were completely overflowing and the reception was amazing.

That night I found out that a play that was actually here in Joburg at the Sandton Theatre on the Square was showing, so naturally myself and a few friends went to go and see it!

It was bloody hilarious! It was a one man play with a central character Sam, who is an employee at a world renowned restaurant in South Africa. He answers phones for reservations. BUT then things get interesting, because around Sam, were 36 more characters -men, women, people of different race, people with heavy accents, repeated catch phrases, specific mannerisms. It was flawless and the character changes were also super quick! 

The night was still young! So after the play we went to meet up with some of our orchestra friends at a bar called Champs. Now, I'm not a bar person. I don't drink and I don't smoke, and I absolutely can't stand the combined smell permeating to my inner most layer of clothing and into my hair, but in this case I was okay with it, because in that bar, I had the most mind blowing enlightenment with two girls from my orchestra. I found out that the one girl with which I've never really clicked with, has so much in common with me and knows about certain things that I thought I was rather alone in the world with my knowledge. Brilliant! Then, I had the most amazing one on one with a girl that I also have known for a long time, but only really had a heart to heart moment with in that bar. Afterwards I felt warmed down to the bottom of my heart. Girls, you are radiant beings. 
So glad to know you.

4 hours later and it was time to turn in for me, and time to turn out for others. See that's what was really cool about my Grahamstown experience. When I didn't want to go out for the second slot of the night that went from 12/1 onwards and included many a bottle of whiskey, they were cool with it and just shrugged. Very mature of them I might say. 

Day 2 was definitely one of my absolute highlights of the fest -thank you Champs.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa

My fault, my most grievous fault...

Forgive me my readers -or rather what's left of my readers. I have been an AWOL blogger. Shortly after my trip to Grahamstown I began my grade 11 exams, and dear friends, they were not a set of exams to be ignored. Alas, in time all has come to pass and I am back, and I owe you all a somewhat cumbersome set of blog posts. Though Petite Dynamite came to a horrifying halt in the last few weeks, my life most certainly did not, and so I have an absolute legion of mind blowing experiences and cognitive ponderings to share. 

So for the next few days before I am gone yet again I shall be writing, as some might say, like a beast to catch up my lagging and no fear, scheduled posts shall be rolling in while I am away.

Ah, I missed the tacking sound of my fingers on the keyboard.