Album Release

Friday, April 25, 2008

And then there were four.

We are down to four now... the rest of the tour is gonna be finished as a duo. And rather than let some really negative energy sit around in this blog, I'm just going to say that you reap what you sow, and that the four of us are doing our best to live & learn, and forgive. There is a reason that the Golden Rule is "golden"... it's really valuable and reliable: "Do to others what you would have them do to you."

After parting ways in Amsterdam, it took us only about an hour and 27 minutes to go from being stressed out and angry to relaxed and in complete vacation mode. We ended up spending 3 nights there.... cruising around town on rental bikes, checking out Van Gogh, eating really delectable food, paddle-boating, sipping espressos, and recovering from the craziness of being on tour. We joke about how we've now run away FROM the circus. It's good. I feel like I'm myself again. I don't think you could have wiped the grin off my face as I wizzed around aimlessly on my bike. And the sunshine-- auh. Light is sweet, and it's pleasing for the eyes to see the sun.

And what great gals to be with! Cat, CJ, and Louise are some of the best traveling companions I've known. So easy and simple and hilarious. I love these ladies.

From Amsterdam, we popped on over to Belgium and stayed two nights already. Belgium: chocolate, waffles, beer. We're in Brugge, which is a cutey-pie town and a spectacular example of how refreshing spring can be. Great for busking, I might add! My poor harp... he's been wheeled through more cobblestone in the past two days than he never knew existed. But I think he secretly enjoyed it, as did I. With my earnings, I bought a lot of gifts involving cocoa, some treats for my niece and nephew, some harp sheet music, and a round of beer for the girls.

Next: Versailles. And then begins my journey back to Arizona. I feel like I'm having culture shock already; it's hard to believe that I'll be in Phoenix a week from today .... I'm not sure how I feel about this...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

How are you Copin', Hagen?

I'm hagen in there. I like Copenhagen. I feel like I'm in Austin. But I'm in Copenhagen.

And I'm not just saying that to say that. Of all the cities we've passed through on the tour so far, I'd love to go back and spend a month in Rome, a week on the beach in Gaeta, Italy, a weekend in Trier, Germany, and another afternoon in Switzerland. But I could actually consider living in Copenhagen.

The city was strumming my pain with its fingers, singing my life with its words, killing me softly with its song. During our 38-hour stay, we saw a load of live music. Every other person we met was introduced as, "Hey, this is my friend so-and-so. They're a singer songwriter," followed by, "Hey, you're a harpist? Come to Copenhagen; there'd be a lot of opportunities for you here."

But I loved it not just because of the (tempting) music scene. Not just because of the crazy language or the lack of ugly people. Not for the unique, "just right" architecture. Not because guys greet each other with a kiss on the lips, nor because the people seem pretty happy and down to earth. It's because there's something in the air there that put a welcomed kick to my stride. Like the air in Austin.

I had a perfectly happy 38 hours there. I remembered this list of "life goals" I made a long while ago. One of them was that I wanted to play my harp with a band in a rowdy, cramped pub in Ireland with people singing and having a good time and forgetting that life sucks sometimes. Well, we weren't in Ireland, but I'm going to put a very content check mark next to that one anyway.

Other thoughts:

Someone once believed: "Better is one day in God's courts than a thousand days in [Copenhagen]." (Psalm 86:10) Hm. Those must be some courts.

Question of the day in the van: "When (or how many countries ago) was your last proper shower?" The winner is going to remain anonymous, going on day 5 and 4 countries (due to lack of hot water, time, and/or.)

Monday, April 14, 2008


A rat chewed through some of the wires in our van's engine. This is just one of the reasons why yesterday was a bad day.

We were in need of some help. Some good news. Something to go right. A few of us who don't usually pray... prayed. Mercy. We need help.

And help started to come through an angel/ sound engineer named Paul. We pulled up to the venue in Elmshorn, Germany for the sound check... late, hungry, greasy, tired, grouchy. But Paul was there with a smile and a joke and energy... and really good sound equipment. We quickly set up and he directed us towards free brats, bread, and beer, which were waiting for us just around the corner.

Thank God for the audience and the church we played in last night. It was a blast to play music for them, which is why we are here on tour in the first place--- to play music. But in a strange way, it's like the audience was there to encourage us rather than the inverse. Thank you, God.

There's a proverb that says "Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a faraway land." Man, is this ever true. A mere "Hello, I'm thinking of you, I love you" can be so touching and like water to your soul. The other day, Cat (the drummer from Australia) got a simple text-picture of one of her best friends blowing her a kiss. That's all she needed. It brought tears to her eyes and water to her soul. A couple days later, there was a bouquet of flowers waiting for me in the dressing room from a friend in France. Again, tears to the eyes. Water to the soul.

Before the show last night, Louise (string player from Australia) was talking about how, before every performance, she dedicates or sets her thoughts towards someone and decides to play for that person. It keeps monotonous performances from being fake.

So I tried it. I was thinking of my brother and sister in law, Clint and April, while I played last night. It's their 1st wedding anniversary this weekend. They are in Thailand. I miss them. I love them. A year ago, I was in San Diego playing for their blessed beach wedding. Here I was playing for them again. Thanks for the advice, Louise. It changed what came out of my hands last night.

Other thoughts:

One more thing about windmills and I'll stop: It seems like no matter what music you're listening to, the tempo of the music seems to match the speed of the windmills, even when there is a cluster of windmills and they're all moving at different speeds. It's like they are still perfectly in sync with both each other and the music.

I would like to take up the harmonica.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


We've decided that this tour can be captured by 3 letters: TBA. To be announced. Where are we? How long is the drive today? What's the set list? If this isn't flying by the seat of one's pants, I don't know what is.

The other night I was apparently talking in my sleep and having a conversation with Camelia as she was also sleeping. "Where are we going? CJ, where are we going? Where are we going?" CJ: "I don't know." This explains a lot of unconscious stress.

We are headed to Humble, Denmark next. Yesterday was a day off from playing and we drove up to Bremen, Germany for the night. We stayed with a really hospitable and fun German couple (of about our age), and they let us use their kitchen, do laundry, cuddle their dog, drink their wine, and have a jam session in their living room. I look forward to having a home to share with strangers and friends. We found them through crazy concept.

During the drive to Bremen, I had a surreal musical experience. I was at the wheel, 3 of us where asleep, 1 was on Dr. Who, and the other one was reading. I decided to shut myself up into my headphones and put on an album of solo piano I got from my brother... "True Love Waits: Christopher O'Riley Plays Radiohead." After a beautiful breakfast at the Chat Noir Variete, we headed out of Trier, Germany just as snow started to fall. The roads were almost empty, and it was nice to have this music in my ears. Let me just say, this album is exceptionally fitting for white weather. Christopher O'Riley is the type of musician that plays from the pit of his stomach. If you allow it to, the music can enter directly into the very bottom of your own stomach.

By the time track 7 (Subterranean Homesick Alien) came along, I had hot tears on my cheeks. It was a really beautiful snow storm... flurries coming from every direction, and us driving through the thick of it in a van whose interior was calm and still. Then came track 12 (Bulletproof). This is when the weather started to change from 1 degree celcius and snow to 12 degrees and sun. The remainder of the album was a soundtrack to windmills stretching out their arms and elegantly moving with the air. I love windmills. CJ and others in the car have a fear of them, but I think there's something beautifully mysterious and even spiritual about them. Hard to put my finger on.

Other thoughts of the day:

You can discover a LOT about a person's personality and character by the way they handle their sound check.

I can appreciate being exhausted and in a routine of performing almost every day; there's no room for nerves when you get on stage.

I'm glad I'm not a singer.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


The locals think we're crazy. The six of us girls are putting in an unheard of amount of kilometers on our van, jumping all over the place to play music. 4 weeks of this is gonna be a stretch!

The concerts have ranged from a jazz club in Rome to village church in a tiny Swiss village to an underground (both physically and legally) venue in Hannover, Germany. Each one's drastically different, fortunately. I love this kind of thing! But it's a lot of energy... and coffee is proof that God hasn't forgotten about us.

The places where we stay are also quite varied... a hippy band-host person's pad, to a pastor's house, to the six of us in one hotel room.

So far, my favorite part of each show has been a little duo that Cat (the Australian drummer) and I do. We play a tune by the Italian singer Paolo Conte: "Via Con Me." She's such a ham, and this is such a cool tune. I have a perma-goofy-smile when we play it.

Someone recently referred to me as being a "free spirit." I guess this is coming in super-handy right now. My flexibility and patience are being tested big time, and this next 3 weeks is going to need a giant sense of humor. Fingers crossed.

Guten Nacht from Frankfurt,

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dave, we're in Switzerland

"Dave, we're in Switzerland. I know this is getting hard to keep track of. We were just in France. Before that, Italy, and just last night it was Germany. But we're in Switzerland now. Try to get some rest before we head out tomorrow." (Dave is my harp.)

It's been 8 days now since meeting the girls I'm playing with, and after 4 shows, we're starting to have a lot of fun on stage and feel comfortable with the music. Tonight we played in a small village called Lohn in Switzerland. I think I could really like this country... green, clean and friendly. We've been hosted by a great guy and also pastor of the church here: Hans. He has reminded me that there are still nice and honest people in this world.

And all I can say is that I'll be happy to never eat a cheese sandwich in the car again. But I've been saying that for days.

Swiss chocolate, though.... yes.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Bonjourno from the road in Italy.

Bonjourno from the road in Italy.

Let me introduce my new friends and fellow musicians:

Emaline Delapaix. 32. PC user. Beautiful Australian singer/songwriter, living in Canada, Also organizer of this tour.
Camelia Jade. 24. Mac user. From Seatle. A beautiful rasta mama and heck of a guitarist and vocalist. Also a sound engineer/librarian.
K Phanie. 24. Mac user. Hip (and beautiful) Canadian from Quebec, playing the keyboard, flute, and singing. Also a bartender and lover of Japanese animation.
Louise Woodward. 34. Mac user. Beautiful and sweet Australian, playing violin and viola. Also an orchestra manager and lover of interior design.
Cat Leahy. 25. PC user. Another beautiful Australian, tearing it up on drumset. Also a pharmacist assistant.

This is my new family for a month. Eating, sleeping, driving, and playing music together for 5 solid weeks. I've known them in person for 5 days now, but it feels like a year already. It's strange to finally meet someone in person after knowing them simply through MySpace. They who were once pictures and sound tracks are now humans and friends.

I'm thankful for this tour for many reasons. Sleep deprivation and stress is eased so far by Italian cuppacinos, a walk through old Rome, seeing the countryside by car, and meeting interesting people with each stop. I feel like someone has placed me in a map of Europe with a giant red sticker on my head, and has said, "You are here." I am here. Nuts.

Exactly where "here" is at the moment is South of Florence in the middle seat of a Mercedes Viano van. We are on the way to Paris (this is a looooooong drive). I'm listening to the Bach cello suites and munching on cheese sandwhiches and oranges. I'm thinking of people far away whom I love and miss. I'm thinking of the next gigs and the music we will play.

One thing I am thoroughly appreciate is being able to drive ALL day, arrive to a gig in jeans and converse, setting up my harp, and playing. I can't say that I've been able to really do this to this degree before, though I've tried and dreamt of it. (My family is laughing as they read this, I'm sure.)

Pasta, sun, and espresso in Italy. What will Switzerland and Germany bring?

Ciao for now,