When I think about the three years of Itai’s life so far one of the first things that comes to mind is the Barcelona Gypsy balKan Orchestra. Itai was born in the BGKO. He was conceived in the full moon of October 2015, when we had just changed names and something was set free and a story began that was much more true for all of us.
When he was one week old he went into his first studio. I recorded a beautiful disc with the pianist Clara Peya: Oceanes, una oda a la mujer en todos sus facetas (an ode to women and all their sides).
At 20 days old he came with me to my first concert with Clara and when he was 40 days we went to the Dolomitas Alps to do a very special concert in the middle of the mountains.
We have been on more than 100 flights, slept in about 300 hotels, visited 30 countries, eaten in at least 400 restaurants, listened to 30 different languages, discovered diverse cultures and above all, Itai has shared the profession and passion of his mother and father. Music. Our big family, the BGKO.
His love for the double bass started when he was a month old. He loved passing the bow over the strings with me and feeling the vibration. Percussion also started early and since then his hands have passed over hundreds of surfaces: my back, airplane seats, instruments, plates, my legs, tables, glasses, floor, books, hands, trees…
As soon as he could stand, he picked up an old guitar of my mother and started to use it as ‘his double bass’.
At two years old he could distinguish between the instruments most present in his life: the violin, clarinets, double bass, bendir, dabuka, cagon, daf, drums, piano, trumpet, guitar, tuba, davul, duduk, accordion, mama and friends of mama (any woman that sings)…
He has made many instruments with different objects found in his daily life.
Later came his obsession with the tuba, trumpet and clarinet. He has some pieces of plastic that build any wind instrument. He loves to stand in front of Dani and play with him.
He cannot conceive of music without joining in, dancing, playing, singing and also listening carefully and curiously. And he always does it with complete abandon…I showed a friend a video of Itai accompanying me singing on the bendir…she got really emotional and said “this is exceptional, and it shouldn’t be. If only all children had access to the arts in this way”. We don’t listen to music at home, we make it ourselves, although it might sound ‘bad’, we make up words, rhythms, dances and we use music for many rituals and celebrations in our life. Even my parents and the parents of my partner get involved though it is the first time they have tried to make music themselves…my father surprised me! He sings really well! He has such musicality! Now I understand where my love of music comes from. So many people supress the need to express themselves through singing, dancing, playing…a well-known proverb in Spanish says ‘quien canta, sus malas espanta’ (who sings, their evils surprise)
It fascinates me to discover in Itai and in all children this full surrender to what they decide to do (not in what we want them to do). They don’t know any other way. Many adults have lost this ability along the way and I notice that it is key in everything. If you don’t fully surrender, what is the point in doing it? What is the point in life? And you can only surrender to what fills you with happiness. What makes you vibrate.
Living as a mother alongside my profession has been incredible, beautiful and difficult all at once. We have been constantly moving, not more than one month anywhere. It’s not easy to combine everything. I have learned to look after myself and take care of the most important things to be able to live the life I have chosen. From there I have been able to give my presence to Itai, devote myself to him and respect the person he is.
It has been a few years of evolution and incredible realisations. It hasn’t been easy. Looking after myself and taking responsibility has meant confronting many of the things that protect me from the pain of being the creator of my life. It is very painful to realise all the behavioural patterns that stop me from living a full life. It is painful to face all the things from my past that haven’t been resolved. It is painful to let the pain pass without wanting or being able to resolve it.
And here I am, feeling the ultimate and intense pain which comes with the realisation that the rhythm of life and work that the BGKO requires, doesn’t allow me to look after myself. The decision to leave the group is not only because I have become a mother, because first is Sandra, then Sandra-mama, Sandra-singer, Sandra-partner, Sandra-lover…
And it is me Sandra, here, that writes, that has decided to say goodbye to this group which has given me so much. It is what my body is asking. And so, it is also best for Itai and for the rest of the world.
Children and humanity do not need conscious, devoted, perfect mothers…they need mothers who are who they were born to be, who do what makes them happiest and who believe they are creators of their own lives. For me there is no better freedom than this.