Music was a big part of this pre-day at TED and I loved it all!
The block party tonight featured the band Red Baraat. This brass and percussion band played rollicking, energetic music that had people really bouncing on the dance floor. In preparing for this post, I did a bit of research, and that drum the leader plays at both ends is called a dohl, and the music is derived from Indian wedding music. Listen to this video of their performance at the Montreal Jazz Festival, and see if it makes you want to go to an Indian wedding, the way I do!
Earlier in the afternoon, I was captivated by the lovely voice of Meklit Hadero. She's from Ethiopia and lives in San Francisco and her music shows the influence of both places. Here's a link to hear her.
The always ebullient Robert Gupta was back to treat us to some Bach. I can't get enough of Robert Gupta. In fact, in curating the TEDxIBYork conference, the first TED talk video I elected to include was Gupta's. Do watch it; it will pull at your heart strings. Amazing again today.
Another great experience today was listening to Abigail Washburn on the banjo. She was delightful.
Equally fascinating was her back story. With a passion for changing the world through justice systems, and fluency in Chinese, Washburn was on her way to China to study law. However, she stopped at a Kentucky Blue Grass Festival with her newly-acquired banjo. She was invited to jam with a few musicians and all of a sudden, she was offered a recording contract in Nashville. So off she went to build a career in music and to charm audiences around the world with her banjo and songs - in English and Chinese! Washburn is still committed to bettering the world, and her TED Fellow descriptor lists her as a singer + banjo player + cultural activist. But, as she says, US-China relations didn't need another lawyer.
Catch some video of her singing in Chinese here.