Talk about a shot in the dark!
Rosh & One Eye Glass Broken (a string ensemble lead by singer/songwriter Rosh Rocheleau that hails from Boulder, CO) are quite a great sounding group to begin with, but they have also got a very interesting performance angle in their corner: They almost exclusively perform their music in complete darkness at a venue known as The Blind Cafe.
The band had their start in the stairwell at Naropa University in 2007. The lovely sounds of the folk/chamber group playing and being carried by the acoustics of the stairwell had many people becoming fans and ardent supporters. After several years of gigs at local places like The Burnt Toast and The Laughing Goat, The Blind Cafe was born in February 2010.
There are in fact several locations of The Blind Cafe (Besides the one in hometown Boulder, they also opened in other cities like Austin, TX and Portland, OR), but the original one was experienced by Rosh while he was visiting Iceland. Here he explains its impact and what led him to bring it to the US.
“I was inspired by how people’s usual social barriers were broken down by the darkness and I’ve always cared about people connecting and relating with each other more authentically. The darkness does this. It interrupts our usual habitual patterns in social situations and creates an opportunity to experience ourselves and others in a new way. ‘Beginner Mind’ sort of. Each person’s experience is very different and I’m still paying attention and learning how this works on people. I think it takes people out of the past and future while putting them in the present moment”. The Icelandic Cafe unfortunately was missing something. “Their event was only a dark coffee and pastry dark cafe experience. I wish there was music.”
The Blind Cafe (documentary directed by Devon Walton)
Rocheleau, who, by the way has a B.A. in music from Tibetan Buddhist-inspired Naropa University in Boulder, has also stressed that there is another very strong objective here: Getting people to re-focus, reconnect and listen to music again at live shows without any outside distractions from other people or any kind of physically social things like texting or cell phones. Combining the intimate music gig with the Blind Cafe concept had to be a good way of making that happen.
Love & Rainy Days
Has this experience changed the perceptions of the musicians performing at the cafe?
“Yes, I think the musicians just as the volunteers and the staff all go through some forms of transformation. Personally I’m less distracted by visual stimuli when performing in the dark and get in touch with it the music more through listening.”
Rosh is very interested in bringing more awareness of the event to even more places in the US and abroad: “The view at the moment is to establish ourselves in 10 + cities in the USA and visit them a couple times a year with some international tours thrown in. I would like to create a cross – cultural blind cafe exchange event/happening, bring a documentary film maker and see what happens with The Blind Cafe internationally.”