shadesofmauve: (music)
I've only been home since wednesday afternoon, and in a few hours I'm headed south to Portland and thence to the Oregon Country Fair.

For those not in the know, the Oregon Country Fair is like Folklife turned up to 11 and in a more natural setting. There are two-story vendor booths cunningly woven out of saplings from the site and a lot more toplessness (legal for all in the Eugene area).

I was up at FiddleTunes for the beginning of the week, and took two workshops from Liz Carroll (O frabjous day!). Jammed with friends, hung with the notorious happy hour crowd, basked in the sun, and ran a coffee tab (if you're ever in the Port Townsend area, remember: the folks at Java Gypsy are absolute sweethearts, they have adorable kids, and they make a damn fine latte).

I'm trying to tease out why I don't like it when people perform 'our' (trad/folk) music without being aware of our trad/folk community. I don't think it's a really rational response, which makes it harder (and more interesting) to chase down the bits going into it. I discussed it with a few friends, and found that I'm not alone in the discomfort. Erik -- who is much less involved in the community and doesn't viscerally 'get' the feeling -- can relate in that he'd feel similarly if someone performed jazz in ignorance of it's history and the greats who'd gone before, so it's probably partly an issue of wanting the music to have context.

Perhaps it's also partly that as a fiddler, I go to see a lot of performances by people that could be described as 'musicians' musicians' -- their playing is good enough that an audience made up of people who play the same kind of music are in awe and learn something from them. So hearing that someone is performing without following these kinds of artists always feels a little... arrogant? That word is too strong, but the idea is that we have something to learn and we learn it from each other.

Another part is that it's fundamentally a community music, whether you're playing Irish, old-timey, or contra. At some level it always feels fake if it's too separated from the community.

Lastly, who wouldn't want to drink margaritas in the sun while Reverend Big Dave randomly proclaims from whatever paperback he happens to be reading, Forrest sings the blues about That Time He Lost His Car*, Cathy and Sally sing competing western swing, and we all try and avoid the park rangers? I mean, really. Happy Hour Friendship is what it's all about!

*Best fiddltunes story evaaar.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
It's been an eventful few weeks.

After a whirlwind trip that went from the Olympic peninsula (Fiddletunes!) the Eugene, Oregon (Oregon Country Fair!), I took a week off to work on my house, learn that my neighbor is a socially mal-adjusted raging asshole with issues, and throw a giant and awesome yard party. Since then I've been ill, been late to a Great Big Sea concert, and (temporarily) added four kittens to my household.

The Incident With The Neighbor was an emotional hell that I was definitely not prepared for, and it's taken a bit of the rosy glow off of my home-owner status, but I think we've settled back down to a civil status quo.

The yard party was great, and really helped me reclaim the "this is MY place" feeling after the Neighbor Incident. In fact, the nastiness served to really underline what wonderful, amazing, supportive friends and family I have, and so I'm thankful for all of them.

The work-on-the-house I'd started to do is still in progress, and I'm becoming overwhelmed, which is mostly due to the complexity of trying to prioritize and order projects. I have Learned Things about cabinet doors, though.

At the GBS concert, I saw someone with a Cascadian flag, and introduced myself on the chance that they were [livejournal.com profile] solarbird. They were! I forgot to say "I'm from the internet", though. Opportunity wasted!

Somewhere in here I went to [livejournal.com profile] meliz113's wedding. Later we had a chance to catch up and drink tea, which was nice.

I'm fostering kittens for my co-worker Nancy, who has a feral barn cat problem. They're from at least two, possibly three different litters, but they all seem to be eating and sleeping and poo-ing just fine, which are the only job requirements for 'being a kitten'. In the 36 hours in which they've been resident in my master bathroom they've gone from hiding together in a hissing ball of fur whenever I open the door to charging it, climbing on any available part of my anatomy, and attacking my braid, so I think we're making good progress there.

Really, the cuteness of kittens probably deserves it's own LJ entry. Everything here could make it's own long winded entry, in fact, but people are most likely to read about kittens than about my adventures in kitchen cabinet repair.
shadesofmauve: (baby)
I'm back from Fiddle Tunes, worn out and broke and full of half-learned tunes, as expected. Unexpectedly, I'm making headway on learning podorythmie, the Quebecois foot-percussion, and I finished/wrote two tunes - The Wrong Waltz and Nancy's Sparrow. Even more unexpectedly, my laptop is dead, so this missive comes from the work computer.

I studied with De Temps Antan. I now have a new experience goal - within the next few years I want to go to this camp. Not quite sure how one gets from Montreal to the middle of the woods, and I'm pretty certain I wouldn't be able to understand anything anyone said to me, but those are problems I'm sure I could deal with.

Happy Hour, re-dubbed The Tailgate Series, was it's normal resounding success. Between a few of us and a representative from the Cajun faculty, we reached an important ethnomusicological discovery, probably deserving of it's own post. I'm working on some kind of Tailgate Series graphic for next year*.

I paced myself pretty well, but bedtime was still at least three hours later than normal (or five, or six...), so by the time Erik came to pick me up on Saturday I was pretty loopy.

It did not help that the Thai restaurant we went to had a dish called "Kow Pad Poo."


*"Fine entertainment for fine folks. This entertainment for us."

I was going to say that Happy hour got even raunchier than usual, what with all the straw wrapper inunendo, but then I remembered Dennis singing explicit Quebecois songs last year, complete with gestures, and realised that nothing will ever, ever top that. What is it with les chansons Quebecois, anyway? The one chorus I can remember from the all-night Quebecois party translates as "I like girls with big calves and hard butts."
shadesofmauve: (Default)
Just realised that there are probably more people on my f-list interested in reading and writing than folk music anecdotes, and there are bits of FiddleTunes week that I haven't mentioned; namely, that I had dinner with Elizabeth Anne Scarborough.

So that was cool.
shadesofmauve: (baby)
Fiddle Tunes seems to be leading to a fair bit of business for me.

Gordy (of Shanghaied on the Willamette) is considering having me do their next album cover. I was drafted to draw the card for Denis, Adelard, and les deux Andres, and Ray of the Centralia Old Time Music Camp-Out saw it and wants to use it (slightly modified) for the COTMCO logo. Of course, I don't have it - I drew it at 3 a.m. straight onto card stock and it's in Quebec by now. But I took pics on Lori's camera, so if she didn't toss 'em, I won't have to recreate the whole dang thing from memory.

I hope it's not irretrievably tacky to reuse the special, original thank-you-card-art for a music event logo. Ray was really insistant on wanting THAT one (with Adelard swapped out for a banjo player, natch).

I'm in the middle of revising the Fiddlers Don't Fret graphic so I can sell it as mugs on CafePress and consider another shirt run. I ALMOST got it done before Fiddle tunes, and told people there to expect it within the month.

To top it off, when I returned to work Monday I had a message on my work phone from Andy Bartels, a former neighbor, who wants some illo work done for his parents' 50th anniversary.

The unfinished projects already in the wings are a sigil for Beth's friend Keith, and the Amy Zilk, Piano Technician webpage. Oh, and finishing the violin painting for Amy so she can have it before her party (and I can have the cash before I go to Japan).

My own website is a disaster, but shoemakers' children...
shadesofmauve: (music)
Stuff in my hand

Rise Up Singing, 15th Anniversery Edition (Spiral-bound, [livejournal.com profile] westrider!)
CD, Le Groupe Sans Age
CD, Hand It Down
CD, Reunion
A book of crooked Quebecois tunes
A green plastic harmonica
A fun meter
An unraveling A string
A new A string of a type I'm not fond of.


Stuff in my head

A polka which is not actually named Timmy, even though I keep calling it that.
"Ronan Boys" (Liz Carroll reel)
"Road to Recovery" (ditto - still learning it, though)
"Reel Saint Paul"
"Reel Marcel Grondin"
troisieme partie du Caledonia, en 6/8
cinquieme partie du Lanciers
quelque 6/8...or maybe that's part of the Caledonia.
beaucoup de chansons de boire!
A bruise on my temple that should look nice and domestic-violence-y in a few days.
shadesofmauve: (baby)
FiddleTunes was an emotional roller coaster. There's something about late nights, hard learning work, friendly people and all the rest that really finds the chinks in my emotional armor. Doesn't help that the gorgeous-quebecois-pianist-whom-I-can't-have was there. Still, after the six hour drunken sing-along Tuesday, things went pretty damn well!

Studied with Denis Maheux (Musique Quebecois) and Liz Carroll (Irish). Liz said she wanted the tune I wrote, and Denis (den-Y) knows some really, really dirty French drinking songs. I got to practice my French a lot (not just with drinking songs). I met a Portland shanty singer and there's a chance I'll do either art or design for his next album. And he asked me to marry him* (no). Clyde lectured the happy hour crowd about corrupting innocent little me with their drink and song wihle I did my best injured innocent impression (which everyone laughs at).

[livejournal.com profile] madalchemist kept my plants alive and happy while I was gone. Go Derryck!

I did learn something important this week.
When you're toasting, look the other people IN THE EYES.
If you don't, you'll have seven years of bad sex. The jury is still out on whether seven years of bad or seven years of none is better.

unrelated quote
"At my age, the tunes come in the front of my head and leave out the back."
"Maybe someone could walk along behind you and pick them up."
"With a bucket!"


I am now to the point where the internal tune-radio doesn't turn off. I'll be leaking music for days...sorry. Deal. I don't know I'm doing it.

Will write more when not so damned exhausted. Have to go play music now.



*See, there was this really long running joke about the entire fiddle camp being Gordy's potential future ex wives, which is hard to explain and seemed absolutely hilarious when we were all sloshed.
shadesofmauve: (baby)
I'm off to FiddleTunes tomorrow afternoon!


I have to go. I was advertised.*

Tonight Dad and I are playing music with Gerald, and yesterday I was up in Bainbridge for [livejournal.com profile] westrider's birthday (happy birthday!). It was nicely relaxing, and would have been more so if I didn't get a work phone call in the middle of breakfast. Still, there are worse things than being useful to a brand-new boss!

Today I'm trying to do all of that pre-vacation prep, to wit:

1. Tearing up grass in front yard and planting the lavender plant that's still alive. The other two have croaked waiting for me to get off my ass and put 'em in the ground, and I don't think the survivor can wait a week.

2. Balancing my checkbook. This hasn't been done since April, which is VERY un-Skellington. I want to know how much money I can spend on CDs and tunebooks and things!

3. Working on the "Fiddlers Don't Fret" art. I want to put it up on CafePress as mugs, magnets, and stickers (I refuse to sell heat-transfer t-shirts, so those have to wait for more capital). The problem here is that I lost the original art years ago, the original screenprinter was sold, and the buyer can't find the screen or digital file. This means that all I have is a scan of a t-shirt, from which I'm creating vector-art.

4. Laundry.

5. Dishes.

For once, my to-do list looks MORE achievable written down! Cool beans.

*For those reading this journal who've never actually met me, now you know what I look like. Except that that picture doesn't actually look much like me.
shadesofmauve: (baby)
Did you get a Skellington in your mail today?
I'm the covergirl for the FiddleTunes brochure. It arrived in the mail yesterday, and I almost didn't notice (I'm wearing someone else's hat. It's a disguise!). Yes, my 15 minutes of fame was being mailed, without warning, to several hundred fiddlers. Hooray? You'd think I could hold Centrum up for a tuition break or something, since they didn't get a model release.*

Spent the morning stripping the finish off the bedside table I bought last fall, until the laquer thinner had eaten through two pairs of nitrile gloves and I decided I needed a break from the nasty chemicals. I got out my bike for the first time this year and rode down to the market, where I caught the last of Back Porch Swing's set and saw a bunch of musickers, a dancer, and a coworker. All the musicians, and I was in their mail!

I rode home around Capitol lake, past the walking bridge and around the undecided bit. "I'm a lake! No, I'm a river. Wait, I'm a lake!" Meanwhile Capitol lake proper says "Fuck this shit, I'm a tide flat" and launches into Queen's "I've got to Break Free" with choreographed geese. Freddy Mercury is spinning in his grave.

*Yes, I know this is wrong. But fighting nonprofits lowers your karma points.
shadesofmauve: (baby)

Bass player Tony Mates passes on the tradtion.

It's always good to have a second career option to fall back on. If anything goes wrong with my current path, I'm going to be a wino. And I'll be prepared!

Folk tradition is a wonderful thing. Thank goodness for Fiddle camp. )

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