In the brevity of life, it is worth loving. Its worth living. It’s worth finding a way. It’s worth pursuing a dream. It’s worth finding understanding. It’s worth learning how to not be angry. It’s worth trying. It’s worth failing. It’s worth trying again. It’s worth crying. It’s worth learning to speak in silence. It’s worth screaming. It’s worth being human. It’s enough being you. It’s worth feeling your pain. It’s worth letting go. It’s worth saying no. It’s worth the hardship of want and virtue. Where there is a will, there is a way. Sometimes you will have to evolve. It’s worth being wrong. It’s worth is what you make it. You’re worth making it worth it. It’s worth setting yourself up for success. It’s worth your continued effort. It’s worth finding peace and happiness. It’s worth being present. It’s worth showing up. It’s worth patience. It’s worth laughing at yourself. It’s worth. It’s worth telling your story. It’s worth being honest. It’s worth saying I’m sorry. It’s worth moving forward. It’s worth looking back. It’s worth not. It’s worth fighting. It’s worth listening. It’s worth growing. It’s worth everything. It’s worth what you make it. It’s worth taking the time. It’s worth re-reading. It’s worth paying it forward. It’s worth sharing.
This evening reminds me of why music matters. It can seem trivial so often, and especially in the lines I work through to pay my bills, my work feels novel at best. Sometimes the conditions are less desirable, as was the case this evening. But tonight this thing happened, which happens only a few times a year, at most.
I was playing down at Amazon under a tent. It was a little rainy and cold, and I didn’t have a space heater- plus this cold I’m fighting. I was in good spirits, as I always try to be, about this somewhat uncomfortable situation. As I began the first set, there were people who just passed, some who waved, and others who chose to ignore me. However, the most comical were those who stood behind me and watched me. From behind. Apart from the would-be voyeurs, I’m used to this treatment and pretty much have my program prepared for when the non-crowd orients themselves toward me in this way.
There were 2 young women who were walking and stood and watched for a while. They were walking and talking but then they became still. After a while, I asked them what they would like to hear, and I played a couple of the tunes they requested. They kept talking, and I kept playing, with the rain falling. I started listening to their conversation a bit between and during songs and realized that one of these people was preparing for a burial tomorrow. Her grandmother had died.
I learned that this was the woman who primarily care-took for her. Who taught her how to read. Who protected her and guided her through life. But she’d died somewhat suddenly. And this person was very upset because she had left North Carolina because of the bigotry and general hatred she found there. She was upset because these family members who she was supposed to grieve with had voted for Trump, and in addition to being angry, she was so embarrassed to be forced to affiliate with them. And that she didn’t want to hear any holiday music, because of what it meant and no longer does. She was quiet. There would be some swallowed emotion.
Her friend was comforting her, and they eventually sat and listened quietly. I sang some old jazz tunes, made some jokes, and sang some more songs. At some point the friend was also talking, lamenting how at the beginning of 2016, her best friend had committed suicide in the same week as her birthday. There was more talking and some more tears and I kept playing. They were appreciative of the music. They eventually got me a cup of tea because my fingers and I were very cold. They left the tea with me, I sang some dumb songs, and they laughed. They went and had drinks and came back. When my gig was over, they were there and sat, talking. There were hugs and some tearfulness, some southernisms, condolences. I left and they were still talking.
I thought about what I do, because often times it feels purposeless. As an instrumental soloist, often times people don’t know I’m there. They think I’m a recording, as I know because they tell me this and often times proceed to not tip. I can easily pass 4 hours somewhere where there may be no one who seems to notice me at all.
But it’s really just more where people’s heads are at. When people are upset, stressed, or otherwise agitated is when they say thanks. Or how meaningful it is that I’m there. Or how happy they are to be hearing live music. I think this is more characteristic of instrumental solo music than anything other I do in performance. And it’s a somewhat strange feeling, to realize that the majority of people probably don’t notice you, but those who do greatly seem to appreciate the presence of live music. I mean, obviously there’s folks who hate you and your music and won’t say anything, but who has time to care much about that?
It’s important to see how this thing which can otherwise be so novel or trite can have an otherwise profound impact on someone.
Come see some of me in the music making this week! Sometimes even with others!!!
Friday- same. Except that I’ll also be singing along the way. I’m not just all fingers, you know…
Saturday: #doublegigday ! Underneath of Sophia Wheelwright‘s Suspended Eddies, I’ll be performing the Departures suite again, and for what will probably be the last time (for at the least quite while) down at Occidental Square from 4-6. Featuring Alex Guy, Janet Utterback, Michael Watson, Nick Pozoulakis, and Rose Fininha Gear.https://www.facebook.com/events/182155748881388/
AAAANNNNDDD then I’m heading to the residence of Mark Ulises Chavezand Christian Pincock to perform some solo works for classical guitar and voice. I believe this is open to the public, and y’all are welcomed. Probably wouldn’t hurt to RSVP. https://www.facebook.com/events/1238251129538521/
Sunday: The Seattle Composers Alliance hold’s it’s first official open reading down at THE ROYAL ROOM rom 1-4. Featuring pieces for a chamber orchestra of 16 by Stan LePard, Susan Maughlin Wood, and a special guest. Come hear composers talk with performers about compositions, idiomatic stuff for instruments, and hear the beautiful sounds of strings, winds, brass, and sticks/mallets. https://www.facebook.com/events/183321422102981/
Long time no see!!! Work has been incredibly full, and I’m still trying to get back into the swing of this whole blogging thing. The biggest highlight of the last month: being interviewed and featured on King5! and upcoming: playing for Amazon’s farmers market on July 7, at noon with my tango trio Sol De Noche.
Hope to see you there!!!
There is a wind who blows through me.
It is more important than my name, and it is not me. But I am the one who’s mouth must open to give it a voice.
There is a window- a doorway- who is open. This open frame, through it comes a season, all of the seasons. Through it comes a memory in roulette, a memory in vignettes. Presses it’s best foot forward and doorward it enters into this place we share without an effort or a care and we are one at once and then also none.
There is a silk and patient breeze who makes love to me, off in a fantasy between my tongue and teeth. I remember the wetness but not the touches of your embrace. I miss you still, even though you’ve left nothing more than the wake. All of these shades of blurred makeup sits sweet in my waiting but the breath draws like a bow across some old string. The universe jumps into sing, and I bleed grief. The universe jumps into blue and I can’t do a damn thing to stop the thief, yet I weave a new thinking on the hinge, and I’m forgotten by the blustering pummel, the sensing of what has been into a pastiche of being, a pastel of teeth digging in on my blooming dream.
Intersecting with reality. The tragedies don’t grow close here, they just grow here. Year in and year out, a decanter sings a whistling tune and I’m back in June with the sound of concrete against me. I can feel the pulse pull me, I grit my teeth and they draw me like a blade across some long lost masquerade. My characters and myself, we find our way our of the blister and linger in the morning light. At the edge of evening. At the dawn of reflection. In the moon of Regrets.
I can’t revoke my silence then, and my remorse now has drug me into the villages who birthed these ideas.
I think about my name, and I wonder who is saying it. There’s an uncertainty, waiting for the opening.
There is a wind who blows through me. It tells the truth.
Seeing as I did a wonderful job of not posting a single post in 2015, I figured I’d start 2016 with 2 posts, and one of which ought to be a year in review.
At the top pf 2015, I was getting some traction with the financial stability, exiting the tails of a traumatizing later-2014, and was playing some tangos, some jazz, and some classical music. Around the New Year, I had my first gig performing with Marina Christopher, which quickly made itself apparent that there was going to be a bunch of musical fun in this year and gave creation to Duo Michma. Also around the New Year, Amy Denio and myself, drunkenly late one night decided to compose some music for a set ensemble, and that sparked off the large-format, 16 piece Ancient Present reading session, which would become a monthly event for the next half-year. Around the time this came to a conclusion, in August, I was on Orcas Island with Sara Thompsen and Jennifer Bruner, who suggested I reach out to Mirta Wymerszberg. With also similarly good luck, shortly after our first jam we were booked for a gig and ended up creating Sol Del Noche, our tango duo. The last of my musical collaborations, which has been a long time coming, developed in November with Andrew Joslyn, for the case of playing some holiday music together.
2015 was a year of great musical beginnings, and also the beginning of some returns. In September, I transitioned from being Secretary with the Seattle Composers Alliance into the position of Executive Director. In December, I finally released my first record, Easy Moods, which is a task I actively set out to accomplish in 2011. The earliest of those recordings dates back to Spring of 2014, and the most recent if taken from this past summer. It’s been very educational and challenging along the way, and the result is that I feel that now, more than any other time in my life, I am finally gaining a sense of clarity and strength in my abilities as a musician, and a way seems to be presenting itself.
I can do this. Let’s make it good, 2016.
Music is so magical.
After the #doublegigday I went to grab a bottle of water while waiting for the bus. The gas station attendant, noticing my guitar, asked me to play a song, so I did, for which he discounted me a dollar. There were 2 cops hanging around, who were enthusiastic about the music and started tipping me.
Then, the gas station attendant started telling me about how he came here from India on a student visa, which he secured through being a professional singer. He showed me videos of himself, videos of his teacher, and then he told me to accompany him! I told him I had to catch a bus, and then the cops said that if it was a problem, they’d be happy to give me a ride home.
So we began to play, and the cops continued to tip, and the cops and I went on our way. They are apparently big music fans, and so we talked about that a bunch and I turned them onto Mulatu Astatke. We drive around for a while, and then we eventually made my way way home. We had so much fun, we took some selfies!!
Hey folks! I’d love to see you at some of my upcoming gigs this month:
12/10- Going in with some solo nylon-string action at the Milagro Cantina, 7-10
12/11- Warming up Pioneer Square with Delilah Beaucoup at Cafe Paloma, 7-10
12/12- Back at the Milagro Cantina, throwing some tune-dice with Anna Boydon violin. I will not be on violin, but on nylon-string guitar.
12/13- Chicharra Tango will be playing at Dance Underground in Capitol Hill. The milonga starts at 7:30, lessons available beforehand for those who’d like. I will be performing on the nylon guitar and also singing some tangos.
12/18- I am so incredibly proud and honored to be premiering a piece I have composed and arranged for the Seattle Rock Orchestra‘s chamber orchestra, on which I will be singing. This show starts at 8 at The Chapel at the Good Shepherd Center. More info here:https://www.facebook.com/events/326700337501955/
12/19- Chicharra Tango takes the stage for our first time at The Pink Door! 9-12
12/20- I will be performing some jazzy lil’ arrangements of holiday tunes for electric guitar at the Castillo De Feliciana Vineyard & Winery – Woodinville Tasting Room 6-9.
Following which, I will be out of town until 12/30.
12/31- I am uncertain as to wether or not I’ll be playing, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted. And if there’s anything dope going on, let me know.
Quedo en el espejo de tus ojos
Perdido contra la lluvia y el sol
Otra vez, recuerdo su nombre
Cantando en el callejon
Mi familia, caminamos lento
Alfondo la suda y sangre
Buscamos, graspano las lagrimas
Por algo a limpiar nuestras mismas
Dijimos que somos nuertra tierra
Vez y vez y vez y nunca
Entiendieron, porque tu Alma
Nunca miraste tu misma en la lluvia
En el calle, suena una esperanza
De una isla de fe, perdido
Y veo en cada corazon,
Una espeja, quedando cantando