martes, 17 de abril de 2012

Break a leg! (on Friday the 13th)

Yup, that's what one usually say to a performing artist about to go on stage. In Spanish it's even worse, they say "mucha mierda!" which means "loads of shit!". If it were told to a politician who's about to give his campaign talk it would be more appropriate. I don't know the origins of those sayings (am pretty sure lots of google entries can explain it to you), but in any case those well-wishes phrases stem from the superstition that giving good wishes is considered bad luck. And yes, we artists ARE highly superstitious due to our insecurity towards the high level of unpredictability of our end products.

But I did get my bad luck a few days ago, and it wasn't on stage. It was an act as simple as going down the livingroom steps at my house, just those 2 steps that I've known for 13 years that I lived here. Maybe that's the bad luck key: I fell on Friday the 13th, after 13 years living here. And it wasn't as bad as breaking a leg, I just broke a bone in my left foot (if I had fallen at 13.00 p.m it might be worse). The most outer bone, that most vulnerable one. After I fell down, I didn't go immediately to the hospital but tried to live a "normal" life for a few days instead, until yesterday my wife insisted that we go visit the hospital since the pain didn't go away. And so we went, and they X-rayed my feet. And my fate for the next month is sealed: I will need 2 walking sticks to help me walk.

Needless to say, I will have lots of time this week, since I mainly lie down in bed with my laptop. Even today, I've read all those mailing lists which I normally don't read, checked all messages on facebook ... and tweeted of course. But I also have talked to my managers and we have decided that my next public appearances will not be cancelled. I have only a broken foot, which is so light compared to a broken heart or broken spirit! Even only 1 day has passed, I could already understand how life is for disabled people, and I'm sure it will inspire me for something. As you might know, I have written music for disabled people, and now by experiencing first hand how it is, I am more keen to do it. As I would be too lazy to bend one of my legs to live and feel how life is with 1 leg if I hadn't got this accident, so I feel lucky to have experienced this. So, next week I will still teach at Rotterdam as a guest professor and even keep my small concert & talk there on Tuesday evening for the students (mostly piano and composition), and the week after I will go to Jakarta where I will perform Tschaikovsky's Piano Concerto and that famous variation of Rachmaninov's Paganini Rhapsody with a new arrangement: accompanied by an ensemble of angklung! The concert will take place on May 5th at Teater Jakarta (TIM). This will be a very special experience for me. Other guest stars will be one of the winners of the National Vocal Competition "Tembang Puitik Ananda Sukarlan" Adi "Didut" Nugroho (yup, he's the tenor who asked for wealth to the shaman in my opera "Mendadak Kaya") and famous Indonesian pop singer Kikan Namara. Hopefully things will go well, since it's more difficult to travel with one leg. Wish me luck, friends, but this time I dunno how, since I have fulfilled your good wish by breaking a leg. Literally.