Last September saw the Songs of the Soul series head off to Portugal.? On the bill were Alap, Ananda, Mandu and Visuddhi, Sangit Surabhi, Kanala and Sadanand, Pavaka’s group and Sahadeva’s Orchestra.? For this tour Sangit Surabhi was composed of 7 Canadians and 1 Dutch girl to make this (I believe) the highest CanCon* for a Songs of the Soul tour so far.? Pavaka’s group consisted of Christian from Austria, Dave from the UK and myself.? Dave is one of my favourite guitarists out there and this was the first time we were able to collaborate.? I was thrilled!? Dave’s main gig is as the guitarist for Ananda.? Christian is an excellent vocalist, former member of the Vienna Boys Choir and we have a few tours under our belts now.? I also had the opportunity to play bass for Sahadeva’s Orchestra offering soulful, R&B flavoured arrangements of Sri Chinmoy‘s music.

Sadanand at Cabo da roca – The Western-most tip of continental Europe and a Sri Chinmoy Peace Blossom

The tour led us from Lisboa to Coimbra, Aveiro and Porto.? For each evening we met very receptive and good-sized audiences.? I think the biggest crowd was 600 in one of the smaller cities.? It felt really nice to be able to offer a peaceful evening to all of these people.? You can certainly feel a sense of struggle in a country that’s battling a 16 or 17% unemployment rate.? But there is a richness to the culture and to the history of this country that reassures.? You can literally see all the time that has passed in the buildings and monuments, so it gives you a sense that struggles are a passing thing and that there are more victories for humanity ahead.

Mandu on the tram

This was also the tour where the concerts started latest!? It was quite surprising, even to other Europeans on the tour.? Most evenings we started at 9?ish.? It’s like the audiences waited for the concert to start before actually coming in.? It made a few from our group a little antsy at first but in the end it always worked out just fine and the crowd was very appreciative.? It was a little like getting used to the Mongolian audiences who would come and go and chit-chat during the concert, then leave glowing comments about how they loved the evening.

Monastary in Lisboa

All in all, it was another lovely tour and I for one am very grateful to our dedicated, warm-hearted and open-hearted Portuguese hosts.? Obrigado!

p.s.:? There is a slideshow of the tour on You Tube – click here.

*term used by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to designate Canadian Content

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