Recently my husband took me to a guitar concert to see a duo of artists he has followed and admired for some years – Rodrigo y Gabriela. My husband has played guitar on and off since he was a teenager and still has his one of his electric guitars and an amplifier from that time. He has updated his guitar since, when he took up guitar lessons again as an adult about 3 years ago. I had seen YouTube videos and interviews of and with Rodrigo y Gabriela and heard their music on my husband’s playlists, so I was somewhat familiar with their music, and in my own noncommittal way, I appreciated their talents as musicians. It has been a few years since I have been to a musical concert that was not a symphony or similar. Even as I was a teenager, I found the music blaring from speakers at rock concerts a bit too loud!
Last Fall, a friend kindly gave my husband and me tickets to an International Guitar Night concert at the Massey Theatre here in New Westminster and even though I have not played guitar myself since I was a teenager, I found the performance inspiring. When I had the opportunity to buy a friend’s guitar a couple of months ago, I did so feeling moved by the artists I had seen in November 2013. While not as enthusiastic as my husband, I was interested to go to see Rodrigo y Gabriela in concert. Part of my lukewarm attitude was that it was a longer trek than the usual jaunt to Downtown Vancouver since they were in Seattle – they have not been to Vancouver for many years. This show was the last of their US Tour before they headed to Europe and there were no tour dates in the next 12 months to come back in this part of the world. As lovely as it would be to go to Europe to see them that was hardly practical, so we headed to Seattle a week ago on Sunday afternoon ultimately bound for the 7:00pm performance at the Paramount Theatre.
After the pre-show performers, Zach Heckendorf who were entertaining in their own right, at 8:00pm, Rodrigo y Gabriela took the stage, and from the first burst of amazing sounds emanating from their guitars, I was transformed by their talent, energy, presence, enthusiasm and the way they engaged and moved their audience and adoring fans. No introduction was required, their music flooded the theatre and I had imagined that I would enjoy the performance, but I did not expect to be inspired to such an extent. It felt voyeuristic to watch Gabriela especially, as she appeared to drop into a trance-like state with eyes closed; the rhythmic and instinctive movements of her body to the magical blend of notes and chords created on her guitar. Seeing the energy she and Rodrigo poured into the riffs as they moved closely together in a synchronistic flow – Rodrigo bent at the knees and hunched over his guitar completely caught up in what he was doing in that very moment. I was struck by how present both of them were on that stage.
I was inspired by their passion to be so immersed in doing what they love so much. It made me want to be more immersed in what I love to do. I was witness to two people who are living what they love. At the risk of sounding corny, it made me want to be a better counsellor/ facilitator/ helper – whatever you want to call what it is I do. If you ascribe to the theory that it takes 10,000 hours to become expert in an area, how many hours does it take to reach the level of brilliance that I saw on the stage of the Paramount on that Sunday night? I can’t believe that it is hours alone. Is there an innate connection with taking something you are so passionate about and love, and really living it? What are you willing to sacrifice to live what you feel you are passionate about? When Rodrigo y Gabriela did speak, I heard a message of dedication and extremely hard work, but it was not framed in those words. It appears some force from within their hearts and very being drove them to create their current album 9 Dead Alive Album in 5 weeks or some extremely compressed timeline like that. In addition to that, they are on tour for 10 out of 12 months a year, and there are other projects they are doing on the side. I heard a message that this was not work for them – it was a chosen lifestyle of love and passion for their music.
The inspiration that I took from that night with Rodrigo y Gabriela is to be more dedicated to what it is that I love and feel passionate about. Part of the way that I want to share my message with others is to communicate through my writing, but I have not been prioritizing something that I feel is important to me. Taking the lead and energy from the transformative experience of their concert, I am committing to make time to write daily. I have a sense this will help me support more people and develop my own communication skills that are important to me. If you find yourself in the presence of inspiring talent – whether it be music, art, a performance or any other form of expression, perhaps let your thoughts wander and see where in your own life and career you might be inspired? You may be surprised at the answer.