Dili, Timor Leste
Today, we woke up in Timor-Leste, the youngest democracy in Asia. Epic vistas of mountains greet the ocean in a sweeping, beautiful way as they both meet the pure blue sky. As opposed to our experiences with monsoon season in Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia, here it is hot and sunny with very few clouds. In fact, it hasn’t rained since June and the locals don’t expect any more until December. It’s the dry season here for sure.
In a meeting this morning with Ambassador Fergin, we learned more about the turbulent history of this part of the island and the resilience of its people. Right now is the longest period of peace in recent memory. We are the first American band EVER to tour in Timor-Leste. What an honor!!!
This afternoon, we played for 8-11 year olds in their schoolyard at Farol Primary School. They learn their schoolwork by ear, mostly without books. As we laid down the Earth Stringband MASH under a grass hut, reactions varied from huge smiles to groovy tropical dancing. While some preferred the scattered shade in other parts of the yard, many braved the heat to become part of the show right up front. Growing up in a new country cannot be easy, but these kids are forming their identities and they will be the future of Timor-Leste. We see strong hearts and bright futures!
Once evening hit, we played a concert at Ambassador Fergin’s residence to one of the most incredible collections of people we’ve ever seen. The invite list was tailored to bring mostly Timor-Leste people who are actively working for a better future in this new country and it showed; the attendees included university students who contribute to peace and stability, Rotary members (big and very helpful in this part of the world), people who work for NGO’s, student council members, artists/musicians who we’ll jam with on Friday at Arte Moris, and USAID workers.
The Earth Stringband has been on tour for a while now and it’s starting to show. We’re finishing each other’s sentences in song, together in unison, and playing and listening to each other better than ever. This really translated tonight and the audience got way into our vibe. Ambassador Fergin was dancing up a storm, the Timorese were dancing up a storm, and everyone had a great time celebrating life and music and togetherness between peoples!
in Dili, Timor-Leste
PS. Our internet access is limited so please forgive the lack of extensive multimedia, but we’ll do the best we can!