The following personal account of her experience in Mexico is taken from a text the pianist wrote for the Keyboard Charitable Trust in London, who organised the tour.
After a very long trip I arrived in Monterrey almost at midnight and Jorge Gallegos and his lovely wife picked me up at the airport. I was way too tired to look around my room in the hotel, so I just found my bed and slept at once. The next morning when I woke up, I opened my curtains, and: wow, a beautiful big balcony with table, chairs and sunbed... I couldn’t help but run out there and I found myself standing there in front of a beautiful panorama: city, mountains, sunshine.
That was a beautiful start to my adventure in this city. I practised at Jorge’s instrument shop, with an endless choice of pianos. Later on Jorge took me to the mountains, as I am attracted to nature and high places (above sea level), and we walked there, talked about many subjects and realized how very much we have in common. The next day we went to his friend’s for lunch, a beautiful family who cooked special Mexican food (for me, a vegetarian improvisation of the original dishes) – it was so good! To be sitting there in the middle of a loving family, with Jorge and his wife, was a wonderful experience. I quickly realised that our mentalities are very close to each other in terms of humour and general understanding. I was taken everywhere by Jorge, his son, or a driver: I could not have been more cared for. I felt so much love!
On the day of the concert we were all excited. Jorge was happy with the audience attendance, I was happy to be playing for them and trying to give them some comfort with music at such a difficult time for their country. It was only a couple of hours before the concert that the tragedy caused by the earthquake happened. I always tend to present music as something close to people’s hearts, not as the job of a professional. I believe art in general is something that can help people, awaken their deepest emotions, maybe even some long forgotten feelings or experiences that are hidden somewhere in the corner of their souls. Music reaches different corners depending on what music it is, and it gets a response from the listener; sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but in any case comforted.
I was very much under the influence of the earthquake and how many people died with no idea that this was their last day. That really makes me very sad, helpless and small. I generally think that most people are not thankful for every day. They take it for granted. I am sad about this, because I think every day is a present for us. Love is something that needs to take over the world; that would help.
After the concert people came to me and hugged and thanked me, telling me they had cried. I saw their faces and thought: yes, that is exactly what I want, to see their faces full of emotions. They felt something, experienced something, and we all created something spiritual and were standing together. That is how I see myself and that is what I want my concerts to be like, always: people leaving full of thoughts of a better life, of love and kindness.
Mariam Batsashvili, 2017