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Saturday, July 07, 2007

I met Dilana in Fort Lauderdale

Thankfully she updates her blog with casual appearances where I learned she would be at Biddy’s on June 15th and Bahia Cabana on the 19th.
Biddy's is only 7 miles from our condo so we arrived by 10 and passing through the alley behind the bar is where I caught my first glimpse of Dilana. The dreads and wide shoulders are unmistakable.
We got drinks at the bar and moved directly to the front of the crowded room standing directly behind a front row of obvious fans. The songs featured her amazing throaty voice over a mix of African songs composed with her original partner George along with classics like “I stand by you” where she points at the crowd and makes everyone feel her personal care and love. She sings "Black Velvet" with her amazing throaty voice and it’s perfect. Sorry I can’t remember all the songs, I was really too mesmerized.
At the end of the show, the front row surged forward to meet Dilana. I waited behind them but when finished she went outside. So we went outside where she was nabbed by another couple who she spoke with at length. I noticed she tried to say bye a couple of times but they wouldn’t leave, she just has that effect on people. The guy who was playing bongos with her on stage came out so we spoke with him for a few minutes. She finishes speaking with the couple and they reluctantly depart with longing glances over the shoulder. Honestly I’ve never seen anything like it in my life but this is the first time I’ve chased a rock star for an autograph. She turns and poises her body to rush back inside just as the bongo player shouts hey DiLANa. She turns and immediately berates him for saying her name wrong. Its Di lah na (misspelling to emphasize pronunciation). She repeats it like 4 or 5 times slowly, bongo guy laughs and disappears and suddenly I’m under her spell. I stutter my name and announce I’m a fan and loved the show. She apologizes for ending the show early (she sang for over an hour and her my-space page mentioned she might sing a FEW songs – early doesn’t seem appropriate) but the smoky bar became difficult to sing over. I’m immediately apologetic about Fort Lauderdale’s lack of smoke laws and remembering my 2 years in LA where smoke laws are militant and being a non-smoker I empathize. Regardless, a show for over an hour is more than enough and I do my best to convey my opinion and disgust for our local smoking laws. I finally request an autograph and pull out my joker card and pen. I get a laugh and response of “cool”. She hands the card back and husband suddenly launches into a short speech of “I just want to say that as her husband, (pause, clear throat, I look up in puzzlement as to what could he possibly say next???) and I just want you to know that my wife is just being modest, but she is actually a really huge fan”. Dilana stops and suddenly gives both of us huge hugs and thanks us for our support.

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