the universal language room

so, i was fortunate enough to be asked to photograph the first meeting of the universal language room here in richmond, virginia. upon being asked to document this momentous occasion, i can honestly say that i didn’t fully grasp what was even going to happen. from the outside, it looks like a drum circle. it is SO MUCH more than a drum circle.

this first meeting was particularly important because some of the founding members of the original naqshon’s leap were able to make the trip down from new york to be in attendance. a reconvening of naqshon and the universal language room! for those guys that have been friends for so long — and have such a bond through music — this was a special day. thank you, william and gilbert for making it happen….

the event carries with it an energy. let me see if i can explain:

most of the participants are not musicians when they enter the room….

some people were older, some where children.

some people had different ethnicities, cultures & religions.

some people were strangers.

many of them are reluctant to even pick up an instrument — claiming that they only came to watch….

by the middle of the hour long session, many of those same individuals are tussling over instruments with one another — with smiles on their faces.

wanting a turn in creating this incredible, organic sound.

peaceful and happy.

not questioning.

not skeptical.

tapping their feet to the new-found rhythm of the group.

so in the moment… they’re don’t even realize that they are tapping away.

diligently watching and listening to the other people’s faces and instruments — deciding how to respond to the song that’s being cultivated….

from where….?

thin air?


from the pure interactions they are having.

and without saying a word.

the facilitator of this endeavor, jason, concisely explains it:

This is a group for anyone interested in communication through improvisational music. This experience is referred to as “freedom from conventional language” giving participants the ability to think and communicate in the universal language and meditate on the spiritual beauty of music and dialogue at the same time.

take a moment and browse the photos from the day… and if you like what you’ve read and seen, maybe you should think about heading over to carytown one sunday afternoon (3:30 – 4:30pm). the universal language room is held in the community room at ellwood thompson’s market every sunday. and, it’s free to attend. that’s right! you pay nothing, yet gain so much.


4 thoughts on “the universal language room

  1. I LOVED reading this. Where was this during my VCU days? I know this language….it has been a long time, but I remember 🙂 I need to make a trip to Richmond to my old stomping grounds. I heart reading your blogs! Keep them coming. Beautiful pictures.

  2. Pingback: RVA business accelerators | allison m. williams photography, rva

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