My long friend Tina, surprised me with tickets to see The River performed by Ethel + Robert Mirabal at the Blanche Touhill Performing Arts Center on February 24 at UMSL. I really had no idea what to expect as I’d never heard of the group before, so I settled into the comfy theatre balcony seats.
The River embodied the ritual of the Native Americans gathering near the water for events – the the birth and baptism of a child, a celebration, washing their clothes and bathing, among others. The river forged a sense of community among the people, as they would always return to the water, creating an essential spiritual role in the Native Americans lives.
Mellifluous sounds expressed through violins, flutes, and spoken word about how the river connects people throughout their life, was blissful solitude to hear. Robert Mirabel shared stories about his Native America heritage as well.
Their performance overwhelmed me with gratitude, and brought me to tears. For me, I felt connected, just being an audience member. At times, the music was so meditative, my eyelids felt heavy with slumber. I identified with The River’s concept that water is life – holding close to my heart trips to the ocean and the Great Lakes.
Waiting patiently until the audience had left, Tina and I were able to meet and speak with the group in the performing art center hallway.
I expressed thanks to Robert that the music brought me peace after recent chemotherapy treatments.
As tears welled in my eyes, Robert placed a colorful braided necklace over my head. The coral, crimson, maize, and burnt umber strands highlighted a pendant in the shape of an animal carved in wood.
“This is Mama Bear. Mama Bear protects,” Robert smiled.
He lifted his left hand and interlocked his fingers with mine.
“Go with the flow of the River.”
Peace, Love, and Sand dollars,
Sheree is the author of three books –
– Chanticleer nominated Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits
– Chanticleer and Montaigne Medal nominated Midnight the One-Eyed Cat
– 2015 Da Vinci Eye Award Winner Folly Beach Dances
Her work can be found here: