On Thursday, 11 February, I spent an evening at the Halifax Café with a large and enthusiastic audience for the ten Bindii poets who read their work.
We were also fortunate to have musicians Munetaka Umehara and Alexander Ask performing A Midsummer Walk, their original work for Japanese flute and didgeridoo. Munetaka’s great niece Natsumi performed on percussion to accompany the other musicians. A great effort, as she had just arrived from Japan at 2.30 pm that day.
The event was organized for Bindii by Lynette Arden, on behalf of the Adelaide City Council and the Box Factory Community Centre. The readings were structured by Lynette Arden, Julia Wakefield and Sara Sims into themes: Nature, Childhood, Love, grief and loss, Humanity and finally, Music. Each theme was welcomed by a gong, sounded by Gail Umehara.
Julia Wakefield was MC for the event.
Readers were: Sara Abend-Sims, Maeve Archibald, Lynette Arden, Lee Bentley, Belinda Broughton, Dawn Colsey, Margaret Fensom, Jill Gower, Julia Wakefield, Athena Zaknic.
Following the readings and an interval, the musicians took over and transported us into a world of sounds where the flute and didgeridoo echoed and played off one another, accompanied by the staccato of the percussion. The sounds reminded me of being in a forest, somewhere in the heat of summer.
A couple of the audience members told me they had expected to hear a few poems read, but had not dreamed they would be transported to another world. They loved both our poetry and the music. This seemed to be the general reaction.
I think we sometimes forget the impact Japanese genre poetry can have on an audience. The very compact forms of haiku and tanka can say so much in such a short time and space.