A Music and Photography Pairing: Land ohne Eltern

Five Senses Tastings was so humbled to have been asked to present a music tasting to accompany German photographer Andrea Diefenbach's moving photography exhibit Land ohne Eltern (Country without Parents) last week at the Goethe Institute in San Francisco. Kala's childhood was spent in Germany, and the country and language still hold a deep place in her heart.

The challenge of pairing to art – well, photography in particular – is that you are pairing to one single moment in time captured by the photographer's lens. What happens the moment before or the moment after is irrelevant, and so you are left to interpret a single moment with elements that take more than a single moment to experience.

We divided the evening into three acts. The first act, Journey and Loss, addressed the heartbreak of family division. In the case of this exhibit, we saw on the one hand the parents who left their home country of Moldova to seek opportunity in Italy. On the other, we watched the children left behind in poverty, left to be cared for by a sibling, older relative or, in some instances, only themselves.


However, as children do, these children also found ways to have fun and engage in the wonder of being a child, and our second act, Life Goes On, was a tribute to the joyfulness of childhood. Our third and final act, Nighttime Dreaming, was a reference to the intimate moment of putting a child to bed. Tucking them into their beds and sending them off to sleep is one of the moments I remember most tenderly about my childhood, and I could picture the heartbreak of the parents and the children who no longer were able to experience this bond of intimacy.

I'll admit to a little childhood potty humor here but one of my favorite elements of the night, and not just because of it's name, was one of our cheese selections: Anton's Peppered Ass. Not only did it delight our guests with its cheeky name, but it was one of the most delicious, interesting, and irresistible cheeses I've ever tried!


As usual we had a stellar line-up of artists. Beside me is violinist, Alisa Rose, followed by Canadian pianist Amy Zanrosso, and guitarist Howard Simon. So grateful for their talent, creativity, and dedication.