Monthly Archives: August 2016

Last Play of the Week (Tiring!)

Sunday August 21st 2016

Our last day of the week to prayform. We needed a break. Blackfriars isn’t the best space for us. The lack of acoustics is hard on our voices. The constant movement of people back and forth isn’t the best for us either. It makes it hard for crowds that have stopped to stay. They tend to move along with the crowd when the song is over. We do get big crowds there though. Our crowds are the same everywhere in the world. Big, sometimes generous, sometimes not and (I can’t speak for everyone) usually very fascinated, amazed and moved by what they’re seeing, because they’ve never seen it before.

We got there late because the train wasn’t running. We had to take the bus and the tube. Kaja, Emil and their three kids Rachael, Jeremy and Kora came with us. We wouldn’t have gotten there at all if they didn’t come. We would have gotten lost. Thankfully there was no one playing there when we arrived. Just as we were setting up, a guitarist arrived. “It’s usually 2 hours here.” He said. “We’ll probably just go an hour an a half,” I said. “Our show is really big.”

We played for almost 2 hours and it was very, very tiring. Anya came again to see us. Our voices were strained by the end. The guitarist came back and waited for the last half hour of our play. We had big crowds, but they weren’t as energetic or generous as yesterday, even though Kaja and Anya were clapping during the exciting pieces. We have to find a space in which we get back as much as we are giving. We never do, but some places are much better than others. I’ve learned over the years it’s never us that makes a day good or bad, it’s the audience or, at times like this, the space we’re playing in. The guitarist was very kind. “That was inspiring.” he said when we finished.”

The long trip to Blackfriars plus the long play made me very tired. We went to Waterloo to have sushi at Wasabi again (I told you I could go there every day) and then we had to take the tube and bus home again. I lay my head on Kaja. When we got home, we shut ourselves in our room and I edited footage and blogged until 1am. I’m so proud of us for grinding through the last 3 days. We did what we needed to do. Time for some days off!

Superfans and Big Crowds in London!

Saturday August 20th 2016

We got out to Blackfriars earlier than yesterday. We couldn’t hear anyone playing, but just as we came downstairs, there was a bassist setting up. I went to talk to him. “2 hours?” he said. “An hour?” I said. It was a deal. The bassist didn’t gather a crowd, so it was hard to imagine us doing so, even though we always do. I let him play an extra half hours so we could play an hour and a half. Kaja and Emil arrived. They had been up on the bridge waving to us. They had dressed up a bit to come see us. 🙂

The wait didn’t seem too long. We were able to get all ready before playing. I had forgotten the card to our camera, so I put Kaja in charge of filming for today’s vlog. It was an amazing play. Crowds were stopped for the entire play, and quite appreciative. We do something unique in the whole world. We bring something to spaces people have never seen before, and will never see again, unless they see us again. It’s normal for me, but not for anyone else. That’s why it’s important to write and vlog about it every day.

Anya, a big fan from Poland, came to see us as well. She was in touch with Kaja, who is Polish, too. Kinda cool. She stayed for the entire performance, than we all walked together to the bar for a drink and to Waterloo station for sushi at Wasabi. It was cheap, and really good! I could have it every day. I love good, cheap sushi. Yummy!! We got some chocolate, said goodbye to Anya and went home. Hopefully we’ll see her again tomorrow for our next prayformance.

We took the train home, laughing and joking with our friends all the way. These are the times that make life worth living.

Friday August 19th 2016

To we took a leisurely time getting ready to play today. It was raining, so there was no hurry to get to Blackfriars to play. Kaja was at work, and Emil went to the store. When he came home, we went to the station and to Blackfriars.

There was someone playing. He was very good. His name was Just Joseph. Ambient, eerie guitar loops. I said hi, and he said he’d do one more song. It was rainy. I shook Joseph’s hand and told him I like his music and we set up. Kaja arrived with a woman she was helping to watch a few songs. It would be her and Emil’s first time seeing us prayform live. Pretty exciting.

There were a lot of people walking by. I was feeling good. We started and people were stopped. They’d stopped before we even started. I like when that happen. We had played a few songs when I saw a dark skinned man with a beard. It took me a minute to recognize him. It was Michael, the bassist we’d met at the Red Bull Sounderground Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2010, and in Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival in 2014. He’s such a sweet man. He’d play very well with us. I forgot he lives in London! We got his number and hugged and kept playing. Kaja had to go. She hugged us. She had been crying. She cries when she hears our music. She is very much in love with us, what we do, our music, and us as people. Emil is, too. Such supportive people they are to us. We love them so much.

I was so pleased we weren’t stopped and we got to play. I thought we’d never play in London, so just the fact we got to play was a blessing. No expectations. It isn’t the best spot. No real acoustics, so there is vocal strain after an hour and a half of singing, but I am grateful to play. Emil led us home. We all closed our eyes on the train. We were tired. We picked up some fish and chips to eat at home. It was so satisfying. Emil sat with us. Eating after prayforming is so thrilling. I can’t explain it. After that, we went to our room to rest. After my late night shower, I acted until 1am. Ahh. What a great time we’re having in London.

Two Brilliant Days in London

Thursday August 19th 2016

A day in London!

We left the house a little after 12 noon with Kaja and Emil. We wanted to explore London and try too find a place to play. No expectations, just exploring, with violins. I was going to see my friend James in the late afternoon, so no matter what happened, I knew I would be happy!

It was a quick trip to London Victoria. We caught a train that took only one stop between Sutton and London. It was amazing to be back in that train station. Brought back a lot of memories. It’s been two years since we’ve been there. Last time we had just gone to see James in a show and I hadn’t slept in 24 hours. Amazing, and also really eerie and weird.

We walked to the theater district. Kaja carried my violin and Kaja my rolling backpack. I never say no when people ask to carry my things. It so nice to not have something on my back. A treat. It was a long walk, and neither of us had eaten anything. I was already hungry and wondering what would happen. We got to the theater district and saw lots of buskers around in the squares. We went and spoke to one of them, who gave us a buskers program which recommended spots to play, none of which were suited for us. They were all open spaces. We need places with good acoustics, or at least a covered space. We don’t use amplification. The natural voice needs acoustic support to not strain.

We sat down off the main road to rest. Emil went to get something to drink for us. A booster. It was helpful. I already was very hungry and ready to call it a day. It was an hour until time to see James. Kaja recommended we go to Blackfriars to explore some tunnels, so we did. The tube was very hot. Just as we left the station, we saw a few tunnels, and popped into an interesting looking bar/art gallery so I could use the bathroom. Emil, Kaja and Thoth came in and the manager asked what we did. He asked if we’d play for him, so we did. The acoustics were quite good. When we finished, he asked if we’d like to do a gig there. Of course we would. We exchanged info and left. Hope that will happen. I had to go to the theater where James was seeing a show. I kissed and hugged Thoth and Emil showed me to the bus. I just had to take it three stops. It was easy. I had a borrowed phone with a map on it, so I was OK.

I got to the theater a bit before 5pm. Soon after though, James called me and I went over to him. We walked and talked for a long time. I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing. We walked around Covent Garden and back towards the river to an Indian restaurant to meet his friend Jack for dinner. Jack was running late so we had lots of time to continue talking. Eventually we went inside to sit and wait. Jack arrived and we had a lovely time together. James had to run and catch his train before 9pm so Jack helped show me the way to the train station. Easy. I called Emil, who said they were on the train home now. I hopped on the fastest train home to meet them there.

I was so happy. They were waiting for me outside the station. I told them all about my experience and Thoth said he’d found a place for us to play! Kaja showed me a video of him playing. I was so happy. Everything is going so well for us here!

Wednesday August 18th 2016

A day to rest.

I got up at 9:30am, even though I was still tired. Kaja asked if we’d like something at the store. I asked if I could go with her. Kaja, Emil and I went together. I was still tired and feeling jet lagged. I couldn’t stop yawning. Emil explained the transit system to me. It’s much less expensive than I was thinking. It’s only 3 pound 50p to go to London Victoria and 3.50 back. I thought it was much more We went to a few stores and eventually went into the grocery store. It was huge. I love going to big grocery stores. I was putting on a lot of voices and being silly. Kaja was laughing. I’m a little pixie in her eyes. We took the bus home with a bunch of food.

Kaja’s mother had made us lunch, which we all sat at ate together. It was delicious. Tender pork with green bean and potatoes. We’re so lucky to be able to live with them. They are so generous to us. I listened to music and got a message from James about our meeting tomorrow. I went outside where Kaja and Emil were smoking to ask if I could borrow a phone so I could contact James. Kaja said she couldn’t stop staring at me. “You’re so beautiful.” she said. She took lots of pictures. “I want to paint this.” she said when I was leaning into Emil. He was hugging me. It was so nice. They know how fun it would be for me to see James. I Skyped with a girl named Meli about a place to stay in NYC. It looked wonderful and I asked if we could send a deposit. I got her in touch with my dad to send a check. I was so excited, relieved and happy, I had to jump around and tell Kaja and Emil. They were so happy for us. We had this strange thing called meat jelly for dinner. I couldn’t eat it. Too strange. Thoth ate it and I made some tuna salad for myself. I was so happy.

At night, I got an email with some amazing news. I can’t say what yet. Hopefully it will happen. Amazing things are happening for Tribal Baroque.

Last Day in Amsterdam, Flight to London and First Day in Sutton!

Tuesday August 16th and Monday August 15th 2016

Our last day in Amsterdam. I was sad! I thought we had one extra day! I thought we were leaving on Wednesday. We went to do our laundry and had pankoken with bacon for breakfast. Yum! We went home and relaxed in our room. Wim and Marja were away at the studio. We missed them. They wouldn’t be back until dinnertime. We chose to go have Indian food for dinner. It was right around the corner from home and it was yummy. 30 euros for way too much food! So that was that. I decided to stay up all night, since we had to be at the train station at 4am to catch our flight at 7am. I was pretty chipper. Grooved to music and wrote to sis on Skype. I was in a better mood than I would have been if I tried to sleep. I just can’t. Literally. I tried to nap during the day, but I couldn’t even nap! No rest for the weary! Thoth slept for 2 hours and got up around 3:40am. We got out the door with all our bags by 4am and caught the train on time by 4:45am. We were both in a good mood when we arrived at the airport within 2 hours of our flight. That quickly changed when we checked in.

The woman at the counter said we couldn’t have two carry on’s (our backpacks and our violins) and had to check our violins. We told the woman they would crack if the went in the hull, but she said, “That’s our policy.” She didn’t give a s***. At first she claimed it would cost 70 euros per violin, but it went down to 45 per. In the process she made a ludicrous suggestion we check the cases and carry our violins onboard in our laps. I mean, really? The f***? That of course wouldn’t work because you’re not allowed to have anything in your lap during takeoff and landing, which she said. We had to go to the gate and ask to carry them onto the plane, as we have for 7 years of traveling. They stow easily and unobtrusively in the overhead bins. Other bags even fit easily in front of them! We were absolutely panicked that our violins would crack and we’d be screwed.

The flight ended up being delayed an hour and they let us carry them on. The flight wasn’t even full. Stupid! We were only 45 minutes in the air. I listened to music and cried listening to some emotional lyrics about not being alone. It was comforting because at that moment I was feeling very alone and without a home.

We landed and border control took an hour and a half! The border agent wanted proof we were leaving the country in two weeks, which we are, but I didn’t have anything. He let us through anyway and said “Next time bring proof.” he was a nice man, thankfully. We got our bags, changed some euros into pounds and got the bus to the train station. The train ride to Sutton took almost 2 hours. Every time I closed my eyes, I thought I would faint I was so tired. We passed London and saw some recognizable sights. I had told our friends Kaja and Emil we’d arrive at 10am, we got there almost around 1pm, but they were still there waiting for us outside the train station. Emil had on a kilt and Kaja’s hair was shaven bald. We looked cool together as a foursome. Emil handed us both bus passes and we got on the bus for the short trip to their apartment, everyone carrying a bag.

They showed us to their bedroom where we’ll be staying for 2 weeks, then sat us down to a big breakfast, which had been waiting for us since 10am. They had waited to eat with us. What amazing, gracious and helpful people they are. I sat on the couch with their son Jonathan and he showed me a book of pictures he drew. I wanted to sleep, but knew I shouldn’t. Kaja asked if I wanted to lay outside on a blanket, which we did. Nada, who was there, lay down with us and Kora, Kaja’s daughter. It was so nice.

Eventually I went inside to see if I had a message from a possible place to live in NYC. I got a message from my friend J saying he had just been in Sutton and we could meet on Thursday when he was in London again! That made me happy. I’m to speak with the NYC room prospect tomorrow at 5pm. Good. Thoth took out his violin to tune it up and play. Emil stood in the door and listened. I started playing the piano in the living room and Thoth came in and played with me. Kaja filmed it. It was beautiful. Emil played piano for us later.

We settled down in our room and I was able to edit and upload all of today’s vlog. Kaja, Emil and Rachael, their other daughter, sat with us and Emil played the guitar and uke. So so sweet. We got in bed by 11:30pm. 32 hours with no sleep. I slept like a log. What an epic day! I’m so glad to finally be here!


A Special Performance at Wim’s Art Instillation and Last Performance in Amsterdam for 2016

Sunday August 14th 2016

I always wake up feeling hopeful that a person with a room in NYC has written back to me, but it hasn’t been the case yet. I have to keep the hope. I’m doing the best I can, and that’s all I can do. I have to try and keep calm. We went downstairs to watch the video Marja made of yesterday’s performance at the art studio. All four of us sat down to watch it on the screen TV. It was a special moment. It showed me the magical thing we have done over the past several years with Wim and Marja. We played with his art back in 2010. It’s a long process of creative collaboration and friendship.

We took the very bumpy and hot tram to the park and I was sad. I’ve been very emotional these days. I started crying thinking of having to leave Wim and Marja so soon. We’re leaving for London the day after tomorrow. It’s too soon. We don’t see them enough, and they’re some of our dearest friends. We got to the bridge in Vondelpark and a very talented violinist was playing. It really is astounding the talent some people possess and what they have to do to survive. He was gracious and after a few songs motioned for us to play. An artist came to paint us. She sat right in front so others felt more comfortable to watch us.

It was one of the hardest plays we’ve had physically in a long time. I couldn’t breathe and my legs hurt a lot while we danced. Ow. It’s because we haven’t been playing as much. We take a risk by playing in that spot. It’s not a very fun play by any means, but if we gather a crowd and sell CDs, it’s worth it. We always know people are moved by what we do. Because of yesterday’s very special performance, I felt performing in that space today under the bridge in the dust was beneath us. We would like to perform in museums! Play to and around the art! Now that would be amazing.

We took the crowded tram home, and I was pretty down, but we had a lovely dinner with Wim and Marja, which always cheers me up. Being with friends who understand us makes all the difference.

Saturday August 13th 2016

This morning I was hungry, but not in the mood to go get food before we went to Wim and Marja’s art studio at 2:30pm. We would do a short performance with Wim’s art around 4pm today for several of their friends. I took a pill for motion sickness, which left me incredibly tired, so tired I had to lay down and take a nap. Marja got out a mattress and put it in a dark place for me to nap. Bunny lay down with me for a few minutes. I got up with a half hour before our performance. I was groggy and confused. I quickly did some simple makeup and got dressed. About 10 people had arrived to watch. Artist friends of Wim and Marja. I didn’t know what would happen, and was anxious to start. Once we did begin playing, I was completely relaxed and unafraid, more so than I’ve ever been. We’ve played with Wim’s art over the years, but this one was the best and most fun for me since 2010. Here is the full performance.

It felt so freeing and fun. I was the one who started playing, instead of Thoth leading me, like what happened when we played back in 2010. I led. I started. It felt really good. We did this thing at the beginning where we started stomping together, and we ended the song together. We’ve always ended together, even when we first started playing together back in 2009.

Wim was so pleased. He sat and talked with us while we ate food Marja had brought. He told us all the things he loved. I love that. I was sleepy so I lay down on the bench in my furry pink coat. Wim pet the arm of my coat. It was sweet. We went home and played a fun game trying to read the Dutch signs on the highway. It was hysterical. We were all laughing. Later that night we went to get some dinner. Last few days in Amsterdam.