Summer is in full swing, and along with parades, fairs, concerts, and sporting events, local Orthodox churches have their big seasonal events - picnics, cultural events, festivals. If it's a Lebanese church, these are often called "maharajans". Armenian churches have big picnics. Whatever they are called, they are great fun. And if you're smart, you'll get yourself to one of these parties, because they have, by far, the best music ever.
Now why is this? Maybe it's because the musicians get to wear shorts. Maybe it's because they can play whatever they want. Who knows? All I know is that the music at these events is always hot, and the dance floor is packed. Not with belly dancers, mind you - it's all line dancing, all the time - church ladies and little kids and older gentlemen. But this is what it's all about, and why you should care - it's the folk music and dance of a community, a culture, from whence our dance comes. For these events, it's not about the dancer - it's the whole gang getting up to dance.
And maybe that's why those parties have the best music - because the musicians are playing for their friends, family, and community.
So keep an eye out for these events. I post them to the BDNE calendar when I can, but check your local papers, too.
This weekend, the Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church Ladies Guild and Armenian Relief Society "Ani" Chapter is hosting "A Hye Summer Night VI" in Cranston, RI. They are featuring legendary Udi Richard Hagopian, he of "Kef Time" and "Kef Time Detroit". (Son Harold heads up music label Traditional Crossroads.) Amina Delal* and I have our tix and are ready to kef the night away. You'll get a full report once we recover.
This year's Boston Kermesse is July 20 - 22. I attended this last year for the first time and had a wonderful time. It's an Armenian street fair and festival, and features more musical legends: John Berberian, Onnik Dinkjian, and Mal Barsamian. I just bought my tickets - hope to see you there!
If you are interested in participating in an ancient Egyptian ceremony, check out Northeastern University's "The Egyptian Oracle". Avatars, live actors, and the audience re-enact an authentic Egyptian ceremony through the modern magic of virtual reality. The show will be performed in the Raytheon Amphitheater on Friday, July 13 at 7 p.m. It is free to the public.