Almost two months ago, on a March evening, warmer than even my heart, I have been to a concert organized  by Ana Maria Stamp for the release of her new web site: anamariastamp.com. Ana is my daughter’s piano teacher and, of course, a well known presence within the Romanian community in the Netherlands. I met her a few months ago, also at a concert, where I liked her from the first look because of her personal charm, beyond the obvious qualities of pianist, teacher and singer.

            The evening announced itself a true success right from the start when I began my biking ride alongside the Amstel river until the concert’s place. If I truly adore something in my adoptive country is the way people choose to celebrate sunny days. Warm or not, it doesn’t matter, as long as the sun shines, all the living beings in the city go out with their picnic blankets, food, wine and even barbecues, either in the parks or alongside the water. When I see this, I am immediately being transported back to my student years, in Bucharest, where I spent many days on the bank of Dâmbovița river, spoiling myself with a bottle of Busuioacă de Bohotin wine or with a big bottle of Gambrinus beer (note: these are affordable wine and beer Romanian brands). That I was doing it for lack of money, it matters a little. That Dutch people does it for their famous savings culture, it matters still a little, the end result is a lot of noisy, cheerful, young people.

            I arrived there fifteen minutes earlier and, instead of immersing myself in the treasures of my cell phone, I chose to look at canals, bridges and people, and continue to marvel at the unnatural temperatures for an end of March in Amsterdam. It was my first time in Splendor and I knew nothing about this place. After I entered, the first amazement was related to the age of the public. Why did Ana invite so many elderly people, I asked myself from the height of my youth? Until I found out the answer, I was amused how we spontaneously segregated on age groups, just like in the church, in the left row the women, sorry the elderly, on the right, the men, that is the young people (if I somehow still belong to this category). Splendor finances itself through the annual membership contribution. Of the 100 Euros paid annually, members receive invitations to concerts taking place in the theater. This is the explanation for the elderly audience. Those people choose to support young musicians, by contributing annually with some of their pension. Until we get to do the same in Romania, it will take some years, my mother will never be persuaded to give a part of her wretched pension for such initiatives. Both financial and mentality considerations restrain her. After 45 years of communism, it seems natural that the government takes care of such places, not us directly.

            Ana wore a gorgeous dress, Adinda Anna’s creation that invested in it 3 weeks of work hours, the dress marking the end of her design studies. The dress fitted Ana like a glove, a successful combination of femininity and innocence, as I perceive Ana. The show was divided into 3 sections, corresponding to the fields in which she works: pianist, teacher and singer. My favorite (and I have a little intuition that hers too) was the voice. Ana performs old Romanian songs on jazz rhythm, accompanied this time on guitar by George Dumitriu, another known figure of the Romanian community in the Netherlands, who I had the opportunity to see in other musical combinations.

            My cultural evening was a successful one, another living proof that this catharsis (through art) exists and will never die. The bicycle ride back home, at 10 o’clock in the evening, without wearing a jacket, in Amsterdam, perhaps a few feet below the sea level, with my hair blowing in the wind, ended in a perfect way the art therapy offered by Ana Maria Stamp.

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