An American Abroad

Dar Kmar: The Audience

Although I came to hear the band, I came to see the audience.

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Perhaps because half the band is a percussion section, it was almost impossible to sit still during the music. The drumming, the smoke, the accelerating tempo, and increasing volume combined to put people into an ecstatic dance trance.

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There were a few brief moments of repose between numbers. I noticed that women in the audience outnumbered the men by about three to one. People generally danced in single-sex groups, and not as couples.

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After I’d taken a bunch of pictures, I sat down to sip some tea. But one of the concert organizers came over and grabbed my arm and motioned toward the center of the room where people were dancing. “Je suis un phototographer, pas un danseur!” I protested to no avail. But really, I didn’t need my arm twisted.

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