Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Can you be to old for “Love & Revolution?’

Cinnamon Wednesdays says goodbye but continues
Cinnamon Wednesdays closed their two year existence as cultural gathering in Amsterdam with a bang! The monthly evening which always stages poetry, music and sometimes visual arts closed with the traditional jam session with rappers and singers cheering the crowd. I was not a regular, but consider myself a big fan.

Cinnamon Wednesdays embodies a lot of things I believe in and enjoy. The music never lacks soul and most times is brought by real talented musicians. This closing night was no different. I was already a fan of Shisani but saw her performing for the first time with her band. Normally it’s her and her guitar but she is one of those singer songwriters that makes her appearance much more than a intellectual composer with a guitar. She really touches her audience, mostly with her powerful and always very personal words. Beautiful melodies carrying poetic words about love, the environment and about the struggle to be yourself.
And that has been something I’ve struggled for here in Amsterdam. As a black gay man I joined groups trying to create spaces for migrant gays and lesbians to meet each other and have had my own initiatives the last years with for example my sexual divers poetry program Black Talk. And what a relief to see all kinds of people mingling and enjoying arts at Cinnamon Wednesdays. It is not about being gay or lesbian, but about we all being together and respecting each other. But still without for example Shisani hiding her love for her female partner with a beautiful love song.

Most of the audience could easily be our children
I travelled to the event accompanied by a friend my age after seeing each other at a gathering in the Bijlmer. In the subway we met a young artist from the neighbourhood who was also heading to Cinnamon. My friend doubted if he would join us. I warned him we would probably be the oldest persons around. Most of the audience could easily be our children. Me, I don’t have a problem with that because in a way I consider events like this my offspring. Some of the organisers have been mentored by me or programmed in my shows in the past.
I see the torch being passed to this generation. But honestly I didn’t feel like a dad being proud of how good the children has done the task. I just enjoyed the evening, I saw people I like and admire and was touched by Kno'Ledge’s poem claiming back the Netherlands I also experienced in the 1990’s.
And I danced. I danced and sang mostly to the live music from Shisani and her band. This just cannot and won’t be the last Cinnamon on Wednesdays.

To old for Love & Revolution?
When Shisani announced the song Love & Revolution she wrote after being in a very inspiring space in Johannesburg, I remembered when I was in my twenties and met people from South Africa here in Amsterdam and the long conversations we had. Then it was always about Love & Revolution and it seems not much have changed.
Dancing and singing this song I felt on top of the world and after the challenging summer I had this year- struggling with my health and business- I knew it for sure. I don’t know about you, but I’m not to old for love and revolution.