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Music, movement, art and magic at events in Las Vegas


There is something magical that happens when a group of people play and experience live dance music together, and it turns out that it has a name. Chasing that magic is part of the mission of the Tarjama Ensemble and its founder, Meg York, who is hosting the fourth of four monthly global dance soirées on April 14 at 2 p.m.


The event will be held at the Old Town Mission Community Center at 301 Socorro Street. It features music by Tarjama Ensemble and guest musicians, played on acoustic instruments without amplification. Music from around the world will be played, with tunes from the Mediterranean area, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Egypt and more. “It’s about creating a sonic space where musicians play off each other and the audience in real time. It’s a community event on more than one level:  Artistically it’s a community event as well.”


The space is set up with seating around a dance floor. People can dance, do yoga, stretch, or just sit and listen. An art station with Las Vegas artist Leota Brigida Harriman will have art supplies on hand to share. Harriman practices a technique called neurographic art, which links different areas of the brain together while giving soothing messages to the nervous system. “I love to share art-making, and to ‘play art,’” Harriman said of joining forces with Tarjama for the events. “The process of doing art feels good, and uses the brain in a different way than rational linear thought.”


Turkish delight, a traditional sticky treat, Arabic cookies, and fresh brewed tea is offered. Tarjama invites folks to bring their own fancy teacups for fun and less waste, although teacups are provided.  


Tarjama intends to bring people together in community to experience the healing powers of the arts in our daily lives. 


Guest musicians include Wade Knight on bass, members of the Salt Road Ensemble, Maureen Newsome and Judie Harris, and Las Vegas local, Jess  Graham, who bring to the table a wealth of global musical knowledge. York, an accomplished clarinet player and ethnomusicologist, both leads the band and talks to the audience about the music they are presenting—as well as occasionally leading folk line dances.


York says she hosts events because she loves the experience of playing dance music with other musicians. “I also feel like we’ve been so depressed, everybody, all the time, because of Covid, and here especially in Las Vegas with the fire and its aftermath. Hosting these low volume, open setting, beautiful live music events with exotic snacks, with natural lighting —I can’t call it therapy because I’m not a therapist, but it’s healing.”


York says she has the “best seat in the house” from the stage, “because I’m leading the band, watching the dancers, and I’m giving the dancers what they need in that moment,” adding that there is a documented phenomenon called mirrored neurons that can happen when people play and listen to live music together. In the Indian tradition, it’s called “kirtan,” a call-and-response devotional singing. People’s heartbeats and brainwaves align.


In the end, York hosts the events because she thinks they’re fun, and to create “some positive community energy” through music, movement and art. These salons recharge her energy and spirits and York hopes they will help Las Vegas dance music lovers feel the same as well. 


Contact Meg York at megyork@megyork.com

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