TV, American Center, and the Mall

A view of Baku and The Caspian Sea

Early Tuesday morning, our team picked us up in a van to make our way to the ATV TV station. 

We were special guests on Baku’s most famous morning show. There was a live studio audience and band. Picture “Live with Kelly Ripa,” Baku-style.  

We appeared alongside local singers and a poet. In addition to our art and music, we each also had differences and special abilities. The program set aside the full 2.5 hour time block to share our stories. 

From there, we visited the American Corner and led a workshop with local children with differences who study and play traditional Azerbaijani instruments. The U.S. has hundreds of American Corners/Centers around the world. If you’ve followed my previous tours, you’ll remember I’ve visited many of these in the past. There are English lessons, there’s a library, you can see American movies, learn about scholarships and travel opportunities, and the walls are lined with pictures of Redwood trees, MLK, Astronauts, Niagara Falls, and other iconic U.S. images. They’re really neat places.

During the workshop, we went around in a circle, each child told us his or her name, instrument, and played a little bit. At the end we had a collective jam session where our group learned some Azerbaijani folk music, and they joined us on “Stand By Me.” It sounded super-cool!

Jam session with local musicians

At night, we played a public concert in the middle of a large shopping mall called Park Bulvar. To my U.S. friends: though shopping malls have changed a lot in popularity in the last 10-20 years in the States, in many places around the world, they are some of the most booming, bustling places you can go. 

Large crowds of people surrounded the stage, stopped to get a selfie, to hear us sing, and to take a video.

Before we began our set, several new Lucky Fin friends came up to say “Salam!” and I met a mother of a boy who had Down’s syndrome who was so excited to meet us that she brought me a gift: a small, hand-woven carpet that she made herself. 

Group selfie with new friends in Baku!

More to come…