To begin with, I guess I always admired that about Kristen Stewart. The girl just unapologetically chooses to be herself. She sticks to her guns… and that makes her unique.
But this is about music and the human spirit more than films and acting. I love live music. When done wright, there is something incredibly electric about it. I love it especially when the performer’s heart crosses over in it and you can feel their soul pours over. It brings an intensity that makes the hair of your arms rise. I love musicians that create music that make you feel like you are touching their soul. Hence my fascination of who they are beyond the stage.
So couple of weeks ago, I saw a violin concert by young Bulgarian solo performer- Bella Hristova. A nice one, but found myself mostly enamored with simply observing the performer, her body language, the intercity of her facial movement as she performed the pieces and how easily that switched to the sunniest of smiles once it was time to bow. It was a sun that beamed inside of her.
This was a girl that spent most of her childhood in the strict discipline of practicing and rehearing her craft to perfection, after a point (age 13) in countries away from her homeland (Bulgaria) and judging from how rusty her Bulgarian was, most likely often away from her family.
From a young age she probably played the violin easily eight hours a day, if not more. Her chin and neck were bruised. And she did achieve perfection at age 25 to the point of being permanently lend a 1655 Amati. You’d think, that sort of intense discipline could have stolen her spark… you would think that soul may be robbed, with the innocent and playful childhood that she did not get. But no, as intense as her performance was, right after a sun beamed through.
In other words, I was amazed that this classical musical performer did not in no way, appear overtly serious or even perhaps miserable. She was celebrating instead. And then I realized, in those intense moments of performing the same notes again and again and again, she never let go of herself. Nor did she ever let her success define her as anything else but herself. And that is what made her performances what they were- honest to listen and look at.
Not too long after, this weekend actually, I had a similar experience, but this time with a quite seasoned Bulgarian musician with an established career. Someone who I happened to idolize and go gaga over, if you will- Theodosii Spassov. He happens to perform on the flute a combination on jazz, Bulgarian folklore and pure improvisation. An incredible performance, but what was more incredible was to watch someone that idolize up close and see bits of the person. To be able to meet him briefly and recognize that this was also the soul of a quite decent human being. That in addition to the talent there was a genuine goodness in him, that his celebrity status or hoards of fans never stripped away. Instead he was humble as a monk. Ironically, that made me only idolize him even more and admire that he spent an entire career being true to himself….
I most likely won’t be able to ever become famous. I do not have their special gift, I can play with words sometimes, but even in that by no measure I am a genius. But no less, by looking at two fairly extraordinary people, I recognized how important it is to keep yourself and let no circumstances define you of anything else, but who you are.