Jonathan Sampson, the complex mind behind the gypsy jazz ensemble Bar Tabac, invited me to capture a captivating event at the Red Light in the downtown Bellingham. First of all the Red Light is the coolest place to get your chill on late at night. Hip space, tall ceilings, brick walls, changing local art, solid menu and a beverage choice. So, we got Bar Tabac setting the mood, filing the air with sounds of whining musical wood saw, droning upright bass, with plucks of lapsteel over bending electronic echoes all held together by an underpowered suitcase drum kit….and then, out comes the Belly Dancers! With Samantha Riggs of Portico leading the way, the crowd’s attention was fixed on the performance in the middle of the space. It seemed like a tight space for so much going on, (I had to bust out my wide angle lens to capture the action); but really its the intense energy of the Bhangra and tribal belly dancing that was causing me to go ask “Is it hot in here?” It was my first experience of watching this style of performance, one that I imagined would be observed from 20 or even 50 feet away up on a stage. But there I was, having a knee brushed by evocatively clothed, bell ringing women, who would occasionally wink in my direction. Steamy!
Now before you look through these: dim the lights, pour a glass of Red Light’s house tempranillo and play this track called In The Shadows.