In summer 2005 I finally had the big program in Dublin which we had been planning for more than half a year. A lot of preparations had been going on before the event as the organizer, my Irish friend, was expecting huge numbers of visitors. It was my task to get musicians for the event and I also planned to bring some yoga teachers to help with the yogic part of the program. I ran into quite a problem though!
I knew a whole group of musicians in India very well, as they had been travelling with me to my lectures all over India. It was them whom I wanted to invite to the program in Ireland. They were a group of six or seven musicians and they would play flute, sitar, tabla, sarangi, which is an Indian violin and some side instruments and one of them was a singer.
Obviously, they would need visas for coming to Ireland at all, which I told to the organizer. I had enquired and told him exactly what papers were needed. They were prepared and sent to India. I then gave my musicians the instructions what they needed to do and they started the application process.
The date of the program was getting closer, now only one week was left to the big day. Then there was a phone call from India and the shocking news: the embassy had refused their visa application. The musicians did not get the permission to travel to Ireland. What should I do now?
I was just happy I had not booked their flights! Oh well, that’s life, sometimes things go different than you planned and you have to make other arrangements. That’s what I started doing. After thinking a little bit about what to do, I decided that I definitely needed musicians, as it was going to be a big program with workshops the whole day long. People need the break after a lecture, some music makes the atmosphere light and also during meditations, music just helps people relax. For the vocals there was a singer from England whom I had met half a year ago when I was shortly in London. She had anyway planned to come but she was the only musician whom we had now. So I had to somehow find musicians with instruments, preferably Indian instruments, who could improvise and had time and the permission to come to Ireland the next week.
I started phoning some friends. A Dutch tabla player from Amsterdam who had played in my program before was immediately ready to come! He was happy about the opportunity and said he would ask some of his friends, too. He called some time later and told that he knew a flute player in Germany who agreed to join us! So we had a nice group together already but if I could just find one person with a string instrument, it would be perfect, I thought!
I was already in Ireland for some other program and thus kept on spreading the message there, too, that I was still searching for musicians. When member of the technical team finally approached me and told me of a friend who played the sitar, I was sure we were now complete!
It was quite exciting and even the media had picked up the news of the visa problem. They made some really funny headlines of it but I was happy – I had a great international music group and they did a wonderful job on the event!