I invite my band mates to share their moments in the comments section.
Last Thursday me and three of the best musicians I know played at Lewiston bistro She Doesn’t Like Guthries, a cafe aimed at “eco-conscious, urban bohemians.” The food and wine were excellent and the four of us — Le Bon Truc — brought our tradFrench to a full room of chatty, convivial and, if I can say it, extraordinarily well dressed night goers. (Seriously, I saw two bow ties.)
|Gary+Barb+Joelle+Steve = Le Bon Truc at Guthries|
Moment #1: We were well rehearsed for this, but we waited, literally, until the last minute to draw up a set list, and even then it was only the first five pieces. We opened with J’ai un nouveau chapeau, Sylvain Piron’s hanter dro with the great lyric.
Moment #2: It was at the very last rehearsal before this gig that we finally worked out the song Dodo Beline. It can be found on the recording by Frédéric Paris and family, Petite Alouette (which you can download here). Entrancing. Amazing. With Joelle singing and Barbara’s dulcimer, I found myself — so improbably — in a group performing this wonderful song. Have you had moments like that? Where you you can’t believe you are where you are, doing the thing that you’re doing? Just so you know, when I took up the accordéon some fifteen years ago …THIS was what I was hoping for!
Moment #3: Brave Marin is a great song, but I can’t figure out what I should be doing on it. Joelle has the melody, Steve the obligato, and Barbara the rhythm. Logic dictates long tones or counter-melodies, but nothing I’ve tried has sounded good to me.
Moment #4: The set of Trois bourrées bemol (Three flat bourrées) does contain three of my favorite bourrées, transposed to Bb, Bb, and F. I did this when I got my Dino Baffetti Bb,Eb, F three-row, but now I just like it as a set of tunes. However, when Barbara takes out her banjo uke and does the sweet little chunka-chunka behind Steve and my melody … wow, does that piece fly!
Moment #5: The break. We eat a little. Drink. Talk about many things other than the music. We don’t make a set list for the second set, and when the break ends, we’re caught unawares! Not sure what the psychology is going on there. We were happy.
Moment #6: Joli Mois de Mai, an hanter dro/an dro. A capella. Joelle did the call. We all did the response. Yes! That’s crazy talk! And it did threaten to go off the rails a few times, but reckless abandon had set in. Very fun!
Moments #7 thru #11: An array of beautiful stuff. At some point the table that was smack in front of us (with three very attentive and appreciative listeners) emptied. I missed them. But my twelve year old daughter, Sarah, occasionally shouted, “You’re doing great, Dad!” So the grief was fleeting.
Moment # 12: Can y Melynid is a great Welsh tune that Barbara brought to us (she learned it, I think, from an Alan Stivell recording). Again, I can’t figure out where I fit in this one. Steve, Barbara, and Joelle use the tune as a launching point for improvisation … a foreign practice for me. But the tune sounds great. I want to find my way in.
Moment #13: Saturday Night at St. Andrews is a waltz written by Barb, and it’s become our closer of choice. Amazing good feeling.
After the performance the owners, who had been gracious hosts throughout, expressed deep appreciation for our sounds. Randy said he’d never heard a sound like ours, and commented on its unique quality. Very gratifying. We were invited back!
So, one of the things about going through the hard times that I’ve reported is that they set you up to be especially grateful of the good things, and, in a meta way, to be grateful for gratitude. Like it’s root, grace, gratitude is a good state to exist in. So, thanks to Guthries for providing that amazing spot to play in, and to Barbara, Steve, and Joelle for joining in this crazy French-from-France thing I’m on. We may still be “finding our groove” as a group, as Barbara says, but I’m loving finding the groove.