Ok, today marks almost two weeks since my arrival here. Hard to believe my time is almost halfway complete. Things got pretty busy pretty quickly after the show at Chäslager….
I’ve had daily rehearsals with Shinichi and Dana of inkBoat this past week; we’ve mostly been focusing on generating material for their solo pieces. We’ve also been thinking about how we will need to modify our content and approach for the two very different spaces we’ll be performing in (Counterpulse Art Cener in SF and Albany Bulb, an outdoor public space jutting along the water in Albany).
I also had the honor of working with a local cellist (originally from the US) named Sarah Bowman. From the moment I wrote one of my existing songs, At the Door, I’d been imagining string parts as the main accompaniment. Because it was simpler and I was able to find something that I felt worked in Ableton (electronic music software that I use for arranging and performing), I had never actually had an instrumentalist play what I’d been envisioning.
Sarah played it so beautifully! Posting two videos of our live performance at the Chäslager Open Mic in Stäns. In the first, At the Door, she plays the part I had written out for her. In the second, she improvised a part to a song I’ve written since coming here – we only got to play it together a few times. I’m so grateful for the chance to meet her and work with her; our brief collaboration was yet another reminder, this week, of how good it is to play with other real people rather than electronics.
I’ve had a lot of realizations here about how essential it is for me to get away from the electronics when I’m writing songs. They offer so much in the way of arrangement and complexity, but also I tend to get bogged down by the details pretty quickly. And obviously, being glued to my laptop makes my performance and even my composition, well… more mechanical. So, having access to the baby grand piano in the cafe has been such a blessing!
It’s also been really wonderful to spend time outside here - the landscape is absolutely stunning and is rife with inspirational scenes… A lot of my song ideas have come while I’m out and about, walking, people-watching, and gazing at the mountains that are literally right next door.
On Thursday night, I gave a short presentation what I’ve been working on since arriving - should be getting some footage of that soon - and I’ll be sure to add those here or in a new post.