Sleep is avoiding me tonight. Sleep: I know your games!
This afternoon and evening we got to see the famous Super Chikan (http://www.arts.state.ms.us/folklife/artist.php?dirname=johnson_james) and several other local artists at a blues festival. So good. So, so good. As any musical connoisseur worth his or her salt knows, the Delta (still) brims with talent. The best part of the scene here, I think, is that — for better or worse — people don’t exactly sing the local stuff for money. They sing the blues because they love it, and because it just makes sense.
Things are real here. The Delta is the blues. You can see the stars at night, but the income gap looms wide as the horizon. It hovers alongside an immaculate sky above endless farmed miles. Cotton, corn, catfish; mansion, shack, church. This is the Delta. There is a stark beauty in everything here, it seems. No wonder the area has produced such great art and literature among those with the will and means (education?) to make it.
As the concert continued into twilight, then darkness, I experienced my first real pang of oh-my-goodness-for-the-next-two-years-I-will-be-hundreds-of-miles-from-everyone-I-used-to-know: not homesickness, per se, but instead a desire for people from my “old life” to understand this place. Of course I enjoy the company of my fellow TFA-ers very much, but this evening I found myself wishing my family and my friends from home could have been there too. I wanted them to hear the lilting voices, coarse and confident. I wanted them to listen to the music, really listen to it — to feel the bass line, and to eat fried tomatoes and okra (even if they can be a little difficult to digest…for me, anyway). This is a place worth knowing.