BELIEVE ME, NO STORM IS A PERFECT STORM
Pat Jasper, Director of Folklife + Traditional Arts
Who would have known? Who would have predicted? Yes, Houston is the biggest urban area straddling Hurricane Alley. Yes, we are just 50 miles inland from Galveston, site of the most significant natural disaster to occur in the U.S. ever. Yes, there was Carla and Allison and Katrina and Rita and Ike. Yes, the Memorial Day floods of 2015 were less than a year in the haunting past. But who would have known that the tribute program STORM SONGS & STORIES and its big sister opera After the Storm would coincide so immediately with the onslaught of yet another set of devastating storms last month?
Much to our disbelief, that was the case on May 4, upstairs at Rudyard’s British Pub at STORM SONGS & STORIES —a program organized by the HAA Folklife + Traditional Arts program and Houston Grand Opera —where it seemed like almost everybody sitting in the crowded bar had a story, a storm story.
Different storms were remembered, and various genres utilized; there were sweet and scary and funny and stunning songs and stories and poems and spoken word pieces. In all, we had a lineup of some 20 or so presenters, and the program stretched past 10:30 p.m. There was even a storm of gong sounds, reminding us of the ineffable character of high wind and harrowing rain.
STORM SONGS & STORIES was livestreamed by Houston Public Media and recorded by the Folklife Program. Covered by Houston Public Media’s Amy Bishop, a feature about the evening ran on Houston Matters the next week and circulated statewide through The Texas Standard.
The whole thing reminds us of how fragile the world we live in is, and how, sometimes, only the arts can address this, quite often in a story or a song.