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Dedication for April 9, 2008

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  • Dedication for April 9, 2008

    I was one of the three Daheshists who assisted the morticians during the embalming of Doctor Dahesh's body... The procedure took close to 3 hours...

    I was not yet 24 years old, and it was the first time I saw death up close.

    No words could describe what I saw... and touched... and felt...

    So I found refuge in art and music.

    There were two special creative endeavors I was involved in around March 1985 that were profound expressions of what I was feeling.

    I don't think that I could ever paint or compose with that level of emotional depth journey ever again.

    Unfortunately, all I have left from the painting is a modest snapshot I took before offering it — as many of us did back then — as a gift to (what was then) the still uncreated Dahesh Museum. Prior to that, I had finished the 8 Drawings to the Inferno and I was completely drained... So that painting was a renewal of hope. Also, it was the first time I had ever used a real airbrush over a real painting. Unlike "Painting with Computers," here there was no "UNDO" command. This was painted with Gouache over paper I stretched over a canvas frame. Basically, I dipped the 20x30 sheet of paper in water, put staples all around the canvas stretcher and let it dry like a drum.

    Also, back in those days, and despite the "mind-bending" experience of creating the drawings for Inferno, I was still influenced by the art of Pavis, whose work adorns many of Doctor Dahesh's books. I simply loved his work.

    In essence, this painting reflected what I consider to be mystical experience I would have every time I visited the Doctor's final resting place.

    As for the piece of music...

    This one has an interesting history:

    Also around March 1985, I visited a college friend. He lived right across from Higgins Hall in Brooklyn, back when attending Pratt Institute was both intellectually rewarding as well as a security risk, due to the surrounding neighborhood. Again, this was 1985 and the NYC subways were still covered with graffiti and Times Square was no Disneyland!

    My friend was also a guitar player and we often shared renting airplanes.

    On that particular visit, I instinctively made my way to his acoustical guitar and grabbed it.

    He immediately told me "don't try to play it... It's off!"

    "How is that?" I asked.

    "I was fooling around with this weird tuning... trying to create new sounds... it's useless... I've gotta re-tune it to its original state."

    "I'll do it... do you have a pitch pipe?"
    I asked, while I strummed a random chord ... and what came out was amazing... to my ears anyway.

    There was no way anybody could play those types of chords with a standard guitar tuning.

    When I got back home, I adjusted my guitar to the tuning he used and began practicing.

    When I felt finally comfortable with the new "landscape," I set up the 4-track recorder (back then, that was a big deal) and the microphone.

    One day, I felt ready and I finally sat down and ... improvised an 8 minute piece. One take. A couple of mistakes... here and there, but for the most part, I consider it my best composition... If I can even call it that...

    In any case, after I laid the guitar track, I did a vocal track.

    The 4 track has since "had a melt-down" and I can no longer access the actual recording.

    So I present you with the next best thing... Yesterday, I re-tuned the same guitar I used back then, and practiced for hours... It is true what they say about getting older ... arthritis... and perhaps, the onset of senility ...

    Speaking of which, this morning, I went as far as record myself playing live... on VIDEO.

    I improvised the song and made a 4 minute (or so) version... one take... mistakes and all...

    I used two cameras recording in synch. The sound was recorded on (this time) a digital multitrack recorded system. I added some echo and reverb. I scanned the painting and incorporated it in the piece

    Arguably, I can now die in peace... or maybe in total embarrassment.

    Either way, I humbly offer :

    I Believe (In Miracles)
    (Words and Music by Mario Henri Chakkour)

    I believe in miracles.
    And I believe in flowers... growing on your steps, telling me you're gone.

    It's time to be lonely again.

    Oh, don't you know, I've waited so!

    And I believe, in promises, that time... time never keeps.

    What am I to do?

    I'm here without you... once...again... I've waited so!

    First recorded in March 1985.
    Re-recorded on April 8, 2008.
    My sincerest thanks to René Alvarez for being (to the best of my knowledge) the innovator of the special tuning used in this song.

    View the movie on YouTube
    Last edited by Daheshville; 04-10-2008, 01:13 AM.
    "Fail, to succeed."

  • #2
    Such a beautiful tribute and remembrance, Mario. It is nice to have a record of you performing this amazing piece.

    I remember your showing me this beautiful painting. It is so nice to see it out here in the world again so that others can see (and hear) and appreciate your amazing work.


    • #3
      I remember hearing about Dr. Dahesh shortly after he had passed away. The significance of the memory and the legacy of Dr. Dahesh grows for me with each passing year.

      Every "new" Daheshist since this day in 1984 and all future Daheshists that come along, will always from now on only read of the life and works of Dr. Dahesh in the past tense. When I first heard of Dr. Dahesh, I was among people who lived with and knew Dr. Dahesh and many of those had witnessed the amazing miracles and words of this amazing man. I was greeted by some with open arms and viewed by others with great skepticism and sometimes even distrust. I always wanted more... I was young, I was earnest... frankly, I was starving for more of what I had found.

      As I reflect over these past 24 years since the passing of our Beloved Prophet... many things in my perspective of things have changed, or maybe possible matured.

      The community of thought and thinking forming around Dr. Dahesh and his Message I see as becoming more and more of a common base... as time passes, we that are coming together are truly sharing a kind of commitment to one another that has taken on more of a vision of the future of things to come than I ever felt in the past. Kind of like "Daheshism: The Next Generation..."

      On this day of solemn remembrance, on the 24th year of the passing of Dr. Dahesh... I do not have memories I look to of him... although I have feelings of such that I just can't quite be able to put a specific memory to... it is a "feeling"... I have many good memories of my personal journey of learning about Daheshism, I have many good memories of meeting many Dahehists over the years... I also have many sad memories of where I have seen relationships go awry.

      One fond memory and ongoing pleasure I have is seeing Dr. Dahesh being talked about and inquired about here on Daheshville. I pray that the memory of Dr. Dahesh is always preserved and honored by more and more people as they bring themselves to come and learn of Dr. Dahesh. This I pray for what the beauty and truth of Dr. Dahesh's message can bring to them... and bring to us as an ailing society.

      My love for Dr. Dahesh is a private emotion that I do not really talk about... it is deeply personal for all the others that know Him in their hearts as well... the best honor we can do with our lives in not ever forget what he brought to this world, and how he suffered so horribly in bringing it.

      I wish I had something specific to offer or show on this day... but I do not. I only have myself and my thoughts that I don't think I am too effective at expressing here today.

      I open my prayers today to not only remember Dr. Dahesh today... but also I pray for all those out there that are looking for "something"... for all those Spirits out there that have the seeds of Daheshism within them... I pray you find your way on your life's journey.

      Blessings to all... and the Guiding, Beloved, Prophet...