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i hear america singing

December 16, 2007

A few years ago some wonderful family operated the Stamm Theater for a few months, just before it died its final death. They showed some Indian films (Bollywood-type) and had a great concert of Afghan music, which I attended, though I had to leave early, at 11:00 P.M., when they were really just getting warmed up. The whole thing was running on Afghan time, so even though eight was the stated start time, the hall didn’t really begin to fill up until about 10:30.

I saw the concert advertised on Persian television, and it wasn’t really till I was actually there that it occurred to me that I’d only seen it advertised on Persian television. So I guess I was about the only non-Afghan there, but they were very nice to me and I really enjoyed the music. Later in the year a concert series was announced that had all kinds of wonderful world/folk acts lined up, but then the whole enterprise apparently just collapsed, and that was the end of the concert series, and of the Stamm. A shock and a loss to all of us who grew up with that theater.

One of the acts that never came was Golden Bough, but they later played some other places in town, including the Black Diamond Mines. Last night they were at the Campanil, and it was a full house, and though I haven’t seen them for several years they were as radiant as ever and the show was fabulous. My niece, who cut her teeth on their tapes and saw them a few times when she was little, came with her best friend, and it seemed to me that they really enjoyed it too. A couple of months ago I also got to attend the Cenzontles event there with them (my niece saw them when she was little too, though this time too little to remember); this was another performance that just lit up the entire house: unforgettable. I’m glad to see the theater filled, but I notice most people are even older that I, and I wish more young people had a chance to experience these incomparable performances of traditional music.

I hope the Campanil will continue to bring these kinds of groups (how about Coro Hispano?), and I want to personally thank them SO MUCH for keeping the prices reasonable and making them accessible to as many people as possible.

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