October 17, 2009

Loss within Loss

Last night I sat listening to the New Orleans Hot 8 Brass Band play “St. James Infirmary.” While I sat there I felt inconsolable about the losses experienced recently by friends, strangers, and acquaintances. This has been a particularly hard summer and fall for many in this community. Loss Within Loss: Artists in the Age of AIDS (University of Wisconsin Press, 2002) is a collection of essays edited by Edmund White. While I read it a while back, the title brings to mind a spiral of losses, loss upon loss, loss moving inward to our vulnerable centers, losses piling up, one after another with no time to process or adequately grieve. The New Orleans Brass Band “drummer Dinerral Shavers was shot and killed in late 2006 while driving with his wife and child in New Orleans. In addition, two other members of the band have lost their lives due to violence on the city streets. In response to these tragic setbacks, The Hot 8 Brass Band has recommitted itself to bringing people together through their unique brand of music to celebrate, to heal and to learn.” While it was weird to sit in a theatre listening to street music on a chilly autumn evening, I appreciated the opportunity to feel this band’s energy and to ponder the weight of violent death while feeling the beats of drums and hearts.

Hot 8 Brass Band

Hot 8 Brass Band

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *