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Storm Large or Storm Home

Post #1494 • January 12, 2012, 9:57 AM

Last month we had the pleasure of seeing Pink Martini perform a holiday concert at the Berklee College of Music. China Forbes, who is arguably the lead singer of this complex, ambitious, yet delightful ensemble, wasn't in the lineup. She's recovering from vocal cord surgery, said bandleader Tom Lauderdale.

Standing in for her was the improbably but genuinely named Storm Large. Towering, blonde, and robustly voiced, she led the band to domination over the hall. Lauderdale also explained that in order to step into lead position for Forbes, she learned ten songs in six languages in four days.

It's hard to imagine someone with a greater, clearer mandate from heaven to get on a stage and unleash her talents on the world. And yet her bio on Wikipedia reports:

Storm moved to Portland, Oregon in 2002, originally planning to quit music and attend the Western Culinary Institute, but at the urging of friends and in particular Frank Faillace, owner of the Portland rock club, Dante's Inferno, she began singing again with a band she called "The Balls."

The moral of the story is that the safe and sensible life always beckons, even to the likes of Storm Large, to say nothing of the rest of us. It is the voice of the Devil.

My Zen teacher once talked about Mara. Mara was the demon who attempted to dissuade the Buddha from his quest for ultimate enlightenment. Mara tempted the Buddha with lovely visions of pliant women and worldly power. When that didn't work, he tried doubt. My teacher said that Mara comes to you after you've been sitting for a while and whispers in your ear, "Take a break. You've done enough."

Maybe you have, and maybe you haven't. Maybe you need to give your angrily crossed legs a rest, or maybe you need to bear down on your breath. Maybe you need to do something sensible to keep body and soul together, or maybe you need to embrace your true calling and true self. Only you can know. For me, I'm grateful that Storm Large didn't go to culinary school, because the world would be a poorer place without her voice.

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