TUESDAY, April 21, 2014
I had a great musical experience today. There is a small coffee shop downtown on water St. called The Rocket. It serves great coffee and homemade food. Every Tuesday a small collection of local amateur musicians gather in the corner of the dining area and have a jam. Today it was three violins, a guitar, two accordions and a flute. They played traditional Newfoundland jigs & reels to the delight of everyone gathered, especially the come-from-aways ( the NL term for tourists). Newfoundlanders love there music. It is, I guess, one of the enduring traits that is typically associated with us. I know I relate to this as being part of what it is to be a Newfoundlander. Here is a You Tube clip I found of one of their performances. The video I took today wouldn't cooperate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-GpSgWoIkw
It's not even so much the type of music. To be honest I was raised as much on Charlie Pride, Jim Reeves and Elvis as I was on the Newfoundland folk songs and the tunes that we typically associate with our Irish heritage. I was at a concert last Friday called the Last Waltz Revisited. Local musicians of a different genre got together to reenact the Band's infamous last concert. It was an amazing night of high quality entertainment. At it core, though, is the love of the music.
I guess like everyone, there is a certain identity that goes with being where you are from. I think I hold on to the music and it's continued influence on our culture more so because so many things about what it meant to be a Newfoundlander seem to be different now than when I was younger. It started with confederation with Canada when the then nation of Newfoundland lost its independence. However, the destruction of the cod fishery that was the corner stone of the economy and the life blood of the hundreds of small out ports that dotted our coast, brought irreversible cultural change. I grew up in a different Newfoundland than the one my children do, so experiences like today's musical lunch remind me there are still pieces left of who we were.
It's not only the music. No, the arts in general remain vibrant in our province and are still an important feature of our identity. Indeed, last week I took in our school's performance at the provincial drama festival, which showcases acting chops amongst our provinces students. The next generation of talent waiting in the wings was impressive to witness.
I am currently on Easter break. Schools closed on Holy Thursday and will reopen on April 28. It has been quite restful and I needed that. The year is winding down and I am tired. I have filled my days with reading & walking; great practise for retirement. The spring temps have been tolerable, indeed today we got up to 11 degrees. The snow is pretty much gone except for a few clumps and clusters where it drifted or where the plow had piled it high. We still haven't had that two or three days of heavy rain to wash the asphalt and the white salt residue is clearly visible when I am walking. The bike stays stored until that is gone. Our evenings are occupied with a newly discovered series on Netflix called Dowton Abby. Sherry & I began watching on Sunday and have nearly finished the the second season (eight hour long episodes per season).
I have continued my window shopping for our future gypsy caravan but I have moved from internet surfing to visiting the local RV dealers. So far I have only looked at travel trailers but today I plan to tour a couple of Class A's. I'm still a couple of years from a purchase but this research is just something else to keep me occupied and it will be time well spent when I do need to make a decision on a purchase.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
I held off posting Tuesday's blog because I had taken a video of the performance and wanted to include it. However, It was on my daughter's phone and we couldn't figure out a way to download it, so ultimately I had to go with a You Tube video I found. It turns out to be a fortuitous delay as I it gives me the opportunity to give you a sample of another musical experience I had last night. It was a triple header of concerts in our small city last night with Bryan Adams, Gordon Lightfoot, and Willie Nile. Willie is certainly the road less travelled, but it is the show I chose. He never found huge commercial success compared to some of his New York City compatriots like Bruce Springsteen. But even at 65 he rocks the house. The whole room was actually dancing. Here is a You Tube sample of some older and more recent tunes. The first one is from a 1981 album. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPbQAn8Lh0g . This second one is the title track from a recent album. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT3MFnOxNZo
Music for me is really uplifting and when I put in my headphones, turn up the mp3 player and hit the road on my bike the troubles of the everyday just fade away. It has rained here the past two days, and that should be enough to wash the salt residue from the asphalt, so, despite it only being five degrees, I shall likely have my first ride of the season today.
See U out there... Ride On!