Rather than opening with a standard-fare concert, theatre or dance performance, the arts presenter opted instead for a hybrid film screening/orchestral performance, free of charge for anyone who could make it into Hill Auditorium.
Art never really exists in a vacuum. It may not always be obvious, but each artistic creation fits somewhere in the constellation of human experience, drawn from and given meaning by the array of stars surrounding it. Whether the connections are made explicit by the artist, implicit in the work or simply in the mind of the spectator, there is always some link in the vast network.
It’s difficult to describe Danilo Brito's expression when he plays. His face seems to go through subtle emotional shifts as the music progresses: One moment nostalgic, the next joyful, the Brazilian mandolinist slips between different states almost imperceptibly. If you weren’t paying close attention you might not even notice. But whatever the state may be at any given time, one thing Brito’s face will always express is a profound sense of being at ease. No matter how hard the music is — and some of what he plays really is fiendishly difficult — he always looks relaxed.
I don’t remember who first told me about The Last Word. A friend, maybe, or a friend of a friend. It could have been when I asked musicians coming through town where they were going after a show. Or maybe it was someone else entirely. I just can’t remember. But that’s the kind of place The Last Word is — you have to hear about it from someone, you don’t just find it. I feel a bit bad writing about it, honestly, because this word-of-mouth nature is a large part of the charm.
But whether it’s overt or implicit, confrontational or oblique, musicians who use their work to change our world are essential to the way we do art. Because nothing exists in a vacuum, and nothing ever changes without a push. So maybe that push is exactly what a musician can give.