Dhafer Youssef is on stage. His first breath connects to spirit and intent. Empathic me feels along and holds space for his level of clarity.
His second breath is for lyrical prayer. It is a call that soars beyond the hall. With arms extended, he turns circles that bring to mind the poems of Rumi and Hafiz. Though he is a showman, his smile isn’t performance, it is gratitude.
His third breath is for his brothers on stage. For them, he is an exceptional and generous bandleader - trusting, guiding, encouraging, giving devotional attention to - all the while aware of the energy of the audience and spirit and his own instrument, the oud.
He is is own stage hand moving a stool to and fro between times he sits before the microphone or traverses gracefully to his band mates with his oud, fully employed.
His fourth breath is for the audience, “How are you feeling?” he asks. Dhafer is completely at ease and it’s infectious. No prescription required.
The stage continues to buzz minutes after the talented and eclectic musicians from Tunisia, Brazil, Norway and Italy have left it.
The audience in attendance of the sold-out concert, redefines enthusiasm. They bang the balcony boxes, stomp the rakes, whistle and shout above and beyond hand-stinging applause.
Their desire continues.
The house lights go on.
The gift was given.
Field Notes Author
Tuaca Kelly chronicles experience in music and other human culture treasures.