An evening of hot music, great food and cool people
Guardian Lifestyles Editor
Published: Jun 21, 2013
Smooth Caribbean jazz with a twist of Goombay is what The Band Quartzz is known for. Hot rock and roll, blues, island vibes and reggae means The Rum Dums are in the house, and “rockalypso,” a blend of rock with Bahamian-style Calypso from Johnnie Christie & Floating Boats will make for a great night of music, coupled with delicious food and people coming together to support great causes at The Meah Foundation’s Music Festival.
The Music Festival will take place at Van Breugel’s Restaurant on Charlotte Street. Tickets are $100. The price includes food from Van Breugel’s, Olives Meze Grill and Goodfellow Farms. Libations will be from Sands Beer, Bacardi Mojito Bar, John Watling’s Distillery, Bristol Wine and Spirits and Jade Imports and The Bistro at Van Breugel’s.
“There will be lots of good energy, great music, food and drink and people coming together as a community to support great causes,” said Tina Klonaris-Robinson, founder of The Meah Foundation of the event from which funds raised will aid The Meah Foundation and its featured Story Bracelet projects, The Bahamas Humane Society and The Bahamas Down Syndrome Association.
“We expect our community to learn a bit more about what we as a foundation aim to do in the future and what our vision is, as well as abroad,” said Klonaris-Robinson.
The Meah Foundation is all about showing that stories can be used as powerful healers. Through stories of what has been endured and overcome, people can reach out beyond their suffering and speak to one another — their stories can help each other heal and become whole, when they realize they are not alone.
Klonaris-Robinson, the founder of The Meah Foundation, did not always understand this, but in her late 20s, events would turn her life inside out and take her on a journey to Rwanda that would change everything.
She lost her daughter, Meah, in childbirth. But she knew if she was going to survive and be the mother her living son deserved, the wife and friend her husband needed and the person she wanted to be in life, she had to do something. She decided to become active in her journey of healing. She knew she needed to bring gratitude, love, kindness and compassion to herself and others. And she needed to forgive. She believes this led her to Rwanda and to Immaculee Ilibagiza who lost almost all of her family members during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda (over one million people died in a period of three months), whose story she had heard when she was pregnant with Meah. Ilibagiza survived by hiding in a tiny bathroom with seven other women. After Meah’s death, Robinson traveled to Orlando for Ilibagiza’s “I Can Do It” conference for her workshop on forgiveness.
Klonaris-Robinson was amazed by Ilibagiza’s ability to find compassion for the people who killed her family in the midst of her pain. Hearing Ilibagiza’s story changed Klonaris-Robinson and gave her the strength and motivation to move forward. She traveled to Rwanda with Ilibagiza in June of 2007 and then again in June of 2008 and 2011 where she met other survivors of the genocide. She cried with them. She laughed with them. She listened to their stories — and they listened to hers. When they could not understand each other, they held hands and hugged. With each story shared, Klonaris-Robinson said she was taught how to forgive. With every new story she said she felt her heart open and the energy of anger and powerlessness shift and change to love, forgiveness and a sense of empowerment. She said she began to understand that it is not what happens to you that defines a person, but the heart you bring to tragedy, to loss, that has the power to transform grief and anger to love and compassion. Klonaris-Robinson said hope grows from an open heart, and that new possibilities are illuminated in the light of that hope.
That light led her to begin a foundation in Meah’s name. The Meah Foundation is Klonaris-Robinson’s way of passing on what she learned and what Meah came to teach her — that stories are powerful healers.
“The Meah Foundation is all about the power of stories — the stories to heal and transform lives,” said Robinson. “When I traveled to Rwanda, and I listened to stories of people who had experienced hardship, I started to see how those stories were impacting me. Some stories gave me strength. Some stories helped me to find my healing. It was just really powerful for me to see the way that stories moved in me and I wanted to give that to others,” she said.
Klonaris-Robinson created The Story Bracelet Project. The Meah Story Bracelet is a physical symbol of the stories that people have lived that can change the world. The stories are about surviving, overcoming, bringing awareness, sharing, experiencing and inspiring others. Every bracelet carries the handprint and name of a person whose story is inspiring and they think will inspire others in the struggle for change.
There are eight themes for Meah Story Bracelets — Connection Bracelets, Cause and Awareness Bracelets, Inspiration Bracelets, Vision/Dream Bracelets, Family & Friends Connection Bracelets, Environment and Wildlife Bracelets, Animal Rights Bracelets and Celebrities Bracelets.
By wearing a Meah Story Bracelet, people can be inspired daily, every time they look at their wrist they see a story of another human being whose life experience has inspired or moved them in some way.
Klonaris-Robinson says wearing a Meah Story Bracelet says you are standing with the person who has shared their story, being a witness to it and also sharing it with others. She said when you wear a bracelet you stand with that person’s dream.
“Wearing the bracelet says we’re sharing the vision, the hope, the possibility,” she said.
Meah Story Bracelets are sold at $10. At this weekend’s music festival, door prizes, raffle and a silent auction will also take place. Story bracelets will also be on sale. Tickets for the event can be purchased at Van Breugel’s Bistro & Bar, Charlotte Street; Traditions, Hawkins Hill; New Providence Community Center, Blake Road; Windermere, Harbour Bay, and Caves Village and Liquid Nutrition, Old Fort Bay.