Breathing space in the heat of summer #this weekend

We’re sharing iced coffee and a palm-sized blueberry pie — my old friend Teresa is here for the weekend, and we’re escaping the sun for a minute with pastry in Lenox.

We have been getting lost at Tanglewood and slipping into the Boston University Tanglewood Institute’s harp concert in honor of Ann Hobson Pilot, just as it begins. Charles Overton plays Lift Every Voice and Sing in a sound like warm rain.

Last night I was listening to Magela Herrara draw tones out of a silver flute I’ve never heard before — low and full-bodied and head-thrown-back whole.

Performers with Music from the Sole perform tap inflected with Brazilian rhythms. Press photo courtesy of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.
Photo by Jamie Kraus

Performers with Music from the Sole perform tap inflected with Brazilian rhythms. Press photo courtesy of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.

She’s a leading Afro-Cuban jazz flute player with Music from the Sole, and on the outside stage at Jacob’s Pillow her liquid notes lifted high over the quick polyrhythmic beat.

She called out ashé — to hear it, the same word as the name of Valerie Coleman’s new work, the theme we have just heard rounding out the BUTI concert.

Coleman is a widely acclaimed flutist and composer, and in Herrara’s improvisations I thought of Coleman, and the opening world of ensemble music she imagined when we talked … all the creative potential she sees.

Ashé, when I look it up, offers me a Yoruba idea — an energy, the power to change — yes! That affirmation has a pull for me right now.

Sometimes, this time of high summer, time turns into a friendly blur. Stories and performers call so powerfully from so many directions.

So it feels good to sit down and talk. The coffee is cold and strong, and the blueberries remind me what flavors are coming into season.

After the last few dry weeks, they are finally ripe now for picking at Second Drop Farm, and Chenail’s has sweet corn at the roadside stand.

This weekend …

Events coming up …

Find more art and performance, outdoors and food in the BTW events calendar.

Fall color comes to Pine Cobble and the stacked cobbles of the Ledges in Williamstown.
Mar 29 2023 @ 4:30 pm
Wild Soul River holds a weekly gentle exploration into the symbols and stories of the tarot in an affirming environment.
Amateur historian Philippa Langley finds the lost burial site of King Richard III. Film stills courtesy of Transmission films
Mar 29 2023 @ 4:30 pm
Amateur historian Philippa Langley believes she has made the archeological find of the century under a car park in Leicester — the lost burial site of King Richard III, lost for more than 500 years.
Microphone. Courtesy photo (Creative Commons) by Ernest Duffoo.
Mar 29 2023 @ 7:00 pm
Join the Barn for night with their regular Open Mic, as musicians gather around the piano, the stage and the fireplace for an intimate night of songs.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

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