Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Whenever I See Your Smiling Face part 2

As we prepare for our third cultural
diplomacy trip as musical ambassadors for the US Dept. of State, I'm reminded of all the beautiful and kind hearted people we have met along the way. I am looking at all the photos of our trips to The Middle East and South East Asia and the one thing that stands out is all your smiling faces :) Each one so unique, special and warm, it makes me smile myself.

While we were rehearsing for our Bon Voyage concert last week at the Iridium Jazz club in NYC (http://iridiumjazzclub.com/), we were looking for a new opening number that would express something universal and welcoming. Johnny came up with the idea of doing James Taylor's song, Whenever I See Your Smiling Face. I love playing this song and I think it's the perfect welcome for our Malaysia concerts.

Often the first contact we have with someone, even before a handshake, is a smile. No words have been spoken, no physical contact, yet in those first few silent seconds we receive so much information through a persons energy and vibration. Often lifelong friendships start with a smile and the sparkle in the eyes, you just know from that instant that there is a connection to something deeper than both of you, a kind of understanding that you share the is-ness of the moment. It is in those first few milliseconds before thoughts and judgements are formed, where you can find peace, a common ground. How many times have you met someone and neither of you speak the same language, yet there is understanding, friendship? I feel that most diplomacy and sharing of culture starts with these beautiful smiles we all have in common.

Did you know smiling can reduce stress, boost your immune system and your mood? Here is a link to some more fun facts about smiling;

That silent sixth sense behind the smile is rooted in our five senses; touch, sight, taste, hearing and smell. These gateways are how we can experience Sculpture, Dance, the Visual arts, Music, Cullinary arts etc. These are all ways we can relate and learn about each other culturally, but more importantly these bridges of expression keep us present and rooted in being. They bring us together in the art of being alive and sharing the most common of bonds, life.

We are retuning to Malaysia next week through the generosity of the US Embassy, Consulate and SPARKS,
a wonderful arts organization in Sandakan. We made so many friends in Malaysia on our last tour there
and we have been blessed to stay in touch with all of those smiling faces
through social networks and even webcast that was a joint effort between the US Embassy and the Mannes College The New School for Music Prep Division. These electronic opportunities have helped us share music, teaching materials, recipes, music gear advice and most of all friendship.

Even though we haven't been to Malaysia in a year or so, I still feel connected to all the wonderful people I met there during our first tour. I am looking forward to sharing music, stories, food and of course smiles with all of you. So come on, give me a smile

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