Tuesday, November 30, 2004

2 sides day 1

i got to bamako tonight after a grueling trip halfway across the globe. as my father said, if you drilled a hole in a globe from fiji to mali you'd just barely miss the center of the earth. i arrived on a flight from paris with the egyptian national military soccer team, headed to bamako for the african military soccer championships. i sat next to their translator, and gave him a couple bambara phrases to get him started. arriving in bamako, there were tons of soldiers and some drummers (one of whom i found out later was sidy) playing for the soccer teams' arrival. senegal also arrived on a flight around the same time. passing through customs was pretty easy as i expected in mali. no big hassles getting luggage or anything and always a nice smile after i go into my bambara greetings. both sekou and ba were at the airport to greet me, and it was really nice to see them both. after sekou and i made arrangements to meet jamie and duncan at hotel d l'amite tomorrow, i headed to doumanzana with ba. once at the coulibaly house, i found that ma and nafi were out at a wedding in kayes and abdoulaye was sick in bed. so it was actually easy to get to bed fairly shortly after arriving after hanging out with the kids for a while. good to be back in another house that seems like home.

Friday, November 26, 2004

last night in fiji

tonight is the last night in fiji. =(
last night was a great show. the first show of the
week that was open to the public and somewhat
affordable for the locals (10 dollars fijian, about $6
or $7). it was packed and lots of fun. black rose
(blackrose.calabashmusic.com) and edou played, and
laisa did a guest appearance.
tonight should be a lot of fun as well, as we've got
most of the audio and video that we need, so the crew
will get the night off and be able to have a nice
dance party as well. yeah!
and start making your plans for next year, as we hope
that this is the first of 5 festivals in fiji! come on
out for a great party and some great times. i'm going
to head out of the cafe and enjoy the rest of my trip
in fiji outside! the band heartbeatz has offered to
pick up the calabash crew in nadi (the airport town)
in between our flights (from savusavu to nadi and nadi
to lax) and take us around the sights there in
exchange for a rough cut of their performance on CD. i
think that can be arranged.
so, thanks to all for writing - jan, christine, dad,
thanks for posting. i'll try and post some pictures in
my short time back in boston.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

happy turkey day!

hello everyone, and happy thanksgiving!
it's hard to imagine it is thanksgiving at home. i'm in my bathing suit and a fiji style floral print shirt and sandals on a humid cloudy day here in suvasuva.
talking up the guys in the internet cafe about calabash, spreading the good word.
we've had a busy week, and it is just going to get more and more crazy until we leave.
sunday and monday we recorded string bands at 2 of the resorts. they play a style of music they call "sigidigi" due to the fact that it is played around a kava bowl, and in between songs, the musicians and others sitting around drink bowls of kava. kava is a drug, in a sense, that basically relaxes you, numbs your lips and gums, etc. good stuff. and a huge part of the culture here in fiji.
one of the groups, the samoi serenaders from the koro sun resort, will be on the BBC on friday on the global hit segment of the world news hour. check them out! (and check out our work!)
tuesday, wednesday and thursday, we recorded concerts at koro sun featuring one of the 3 big bands that are here for the festival; Edou, Black Rose, Heartbeatz and Laisa Vulukoro (the last 2 shared a bill).
lots of fun, lots of work. one person we forgot to have here was a music director/stage manager/band liaison, so i got to put some of my past experience to bear here and help out with that stuff.
tonight and tomorrow black rose, edou and laisa will be performing at the hot springs hotel. tonight is a public show, tomorrow private. we've been promised insanity, so we'll see what happens. this town maybe sees one or two live shows a year, so everyone is coming out, everyone in town knows about the shows.
i need to run, as always. i'm off to help record a little side acoustic session with laisa's nephew, a great singer/guitarist.
much love to you all, thank you to you for supporting me in this work i'm doing. i'm thankful for that, and took some time yesterday under a cabana on the beach to just be thankful for all i've got, even if i don't have a turkey here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

working hard in paradise . . .

Savusavu, the town where we are staying, is called "Hidden Paradise" by the locals. Apt.
I think i said something about this last time i posted as well. we've been having a great time. and working hard. really hard. i know that you all feel sorry for me, but it's true!
sunday, after our cruise in the bay on a 52 ft yacht and snorkel (mind blowingly great, better than anything i've ever seen), we went and did our first recording. a 5 piece string band (3 guitars, 1 ukelele, 5 singers). we got a nice recording, which will be on the BBC this friday (american time). i'm not sure of the show, but it's the one that features some world music at the end of the show.
monday, another string band recording, and then on tuesday, we started with the big live concerts. CSM, the video guys here, have 2 crews of Fijian camerman shooting the shows with 4 cameras, doing live mixes. all pretty crazy. and of course, this being the developing world, none of the technology works exactly right, so we've been doing a lot with duct tape, chewing gum and chicken wire (well, not really, but you know . . . )
i've been getting in the water most days, which is very nice. today, we're off to a big ceremony with the big chief on the island. should be pretty amazing. so, i should get going, because we leave in a few minutes and i have to go back to the hotel and figure out how to wear a sulu (skirt) cause everyone has to be in a skirt in these village ceremonies.
much love to you all.
vi naka.

Friday, November 19, 2004

bula bula!

i made it to paradise. i'm sitting in an internet cafe in savusavu, an island in fiji. after a nice day with my parents and grandma in san juan, getting down the beach a few times for walks, lunch and a sunset, we grabbed dinner and headed to LAX. if you haven't flown out of the international terminal there, don't. it's insane. thousands of people running around looking for baggage screening, check ins, whatever. total chaos. we made it through everything, i met up with brad, and we met 4 of the folks from CSM who are producing the festival who were flying with us. our 2 sound guys barely made the flight, but we did.
we got to sit up in the bubble of the 747 (economy class), but i had my own row, so that was cool. 10 hours, 45 minutes later, we touched down in fiji. they planned it well, with our arrival coinciding with the sunrise, so we got a nice view of the islands as we were landing. once we cleared customs (without the sound guys' equipment, which didn't make the transfer in LAX), we headed for a hotel, for a quick R&R. napped, showered, ate, hung out in the beautiful sun, and then we headed back to the airport for a quick 1 hour flight to savusavu, where the festival will be. checked in at our hotel here, wandered downtown, found the internet cafe (ran by germans), and am writing this now.
basically, fiji is paradise. looking out my hotel balcony, i see a nice nice nice view. a bay surrounded by green mountains. don't worry, i got pictures and video.
so, i'm going to run now, we're off to a production meeting, then a BBQ dinner, then collapse. we're 20 hours ahead of the west coast, 17 hours ahead of boston.
tomorrow, we're headed on a short cruise on a yacht. apparently, the mayor of savusavu was upset that we were coming all this way just to work, so he cut one day off the festival, and set up this yacht tour for us. and at some point, we may end up on jacque cousteau's son's private island and resort. sweet.
oh yeah, and the fruit is great. been eating it like crazy.
much love to you all, and more later!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

back on the road . . .

i'm back on the road now, sitting at my parent's house in the OC, getting a few hours with them and my grandmother. arrived yesterday and leaving tonight for fiji!
it has been a crazy past few day, with JB's party, my party and packing everything up. i must say, i have some great friends. thanks to all of you who helped out, driving me to the airport, giving me thoughtful last minute gifts, and most of all, thank you to all of you who have encouraged me on this crazy journey i'm undertaking. thanks to all of you who called me over the past few days, it has been a wonderful reason to reach out to some old friends and good friends and just have good conversations with many of you. i'm sorry if i was at all not there on the phone, sometimes i was trying to do too many things at once. but your calls all meant a lot to me. my cell phone is getting shut off on friday, so i won't be able to get messages, but my phone number will be activated once i get back to the states in january (if i can battle it all out well with sprint . . .).
my grandmother (the one who had the masectomy) is doing great. she doesn't at all look like she had major surgery not even 2 weeks ago. that she is here, embarking on her own journey of a few weeks in california, is amazing. she's upstairs now doing her daily exercises, and then we're down to the beach to walk around a bit. it's a beautiful day in sunny southern california (if you can get past the smog), and we're going to take advantage of it.
i'm hoping to have regular internet access in fiji, but we'll see! let the fun begin!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

party plan change!

ok, so i know it says that my party in on the 12th on friday. but it won't
my friend JB is having a birthday party on friday and i am not stepping on
his big orange toes.
sooo, the party will be on saturday, the 13th.
9 pm onwards
email for directions.
bring a big happy face for big happy times! and music to share, of course.
see you there!

"The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice"
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

back in the USSA

back in boston for a bit.
made it back on sunday, and didn't even get my customary hassling from the customs guys in boston. which was good cause then i got to see my parents for 5 minutes. they were in boston for the weekend, and headed out on a flight from the same terminal. nice.
and then yesterday back to "work", as i like to call it. i can't believe it. so fun. get to play with music all day and have a great time. whee!
and i had some thoughts to put up here, but i'm forgetting them. anyway, off to get ready for "work."
bis spater.

back in the USSA

so i made it back home, and even made it through customs in boston without any hassles. this is a first for me. they always want to give me grief in boston. and thank god they didn't, cause i got out of customs in time to see my parents for 5 minutes. they were in town to see the boston symphony and my sister, and were leaving from the same terminal as me shortly after i arrived. nice.
i got to give them renate's presents and talked with them a bit.
and back to work yesterday. yup, calabash. did i mention that it's my job!?!
great. i will be so psyched once this thing starts paying. so psyched.
i had some great ideas about things to post here, but they're eluding me at this hour. hopefully they'll come back and i'll put up another post today.
bis spater.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


i finally found a hotspot! yeah! adventures of small sorts are fun. i'm sitting now in some old dark pub like restaurant with a hotspot. got to download all my mail onto my computer and send out some contracts from our work at a highly successful WOMEX last week. i've got about 70 new cds to bring back, and we'll soon have another few hundred artists up on CalabashMusic.com

and my grandma is ok, as far as things can be. the 3 lymph nodes they didn't remove, but biopsied are for now cancer free, and she'll probably just have to take medicine daily, but no chemo and no radiation! gott sei dank.

however, i'm trying to hide from the other news from the US, namely that my united states exists no more. some other folks have taken over control, and bent the minds of millions of others. friedman at the times had a great piece today.

i'm going to berlin saturday, home sunday and for all of you in boston, come over to my place on friday night, the 12th, for a little party. if you need directions, email me. pass the word as well. i'm only home for 9 days.

i'm having a good time, playing with my friends kids, walking around scenic little hansa stadt towns, eating great bread and pastries, drinking good beer. good times. and my german is coming back in fits and starts which makes life fun and interesting. i can't do basic things with strangers, but i can carry on some pretty good and deep conversations with my host family, the kirsches.

i even found a group of "african" drummers here in town. pretty simple stuff, but fun nonetheless. and it made renate (my host mom/grandma) super happy, so that was also fun to watch.

hope you are all well, see you soon!