Tag Archives: Wim Vonk

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.

Having A WIM-sical Time in Amsterdam!

Thursday August 4th 2016

We went to Wim and Marja’s art studio today. It was 45 minutes from Amsterdam. They made it so cool looking. I asked Marja lots of questions about her new art pieces. I love her artwork, and Wim’s. They’re both so WIM-sical. Hardy har har. Marja’s art is so colorful. I love colors. ūüôā

We spent the afternoon exploring their studio and working on music. I’m documenting the process, but I don’t want to share it until closer to when the album comes out, or afterwards. I don’t want to give away too much. We’re working with electronic loops and are thinking of making a concept album, maybe with the story I wrote for Ee-ay’La, or maybe something totally different. We just create and we’ll see how it goes. We’ll have plenty of time in Nashville in December to work on it at our leisure. I’m really excited about it, and feeling very happy and inspired. I am happy to be happy here because last year I was just stressed about the opera commission, which I thought was going to do something magical for us. With this new album project, whatever happens, there’s no stress or money or expectation involved, and it will be beautiful and fun no matter what. Actually, making Esh and Ee-ay was not fun, it was just really stressful and hard. The pressure was really too much for me, even when we made the concept album with Michael and Rhan in Oakland in December 2014. Too stressful. I was convinced we were wasting everyone’s time and a lot of our money, but it ended up being an album and a show I am so proud of making, but this one will be completely different. Different from all our other albums, and I have no idea what that means. It’s a fun thing to work on. I love creating music when there is no pressure. Having pressure is great for getting it done, but this way is more fun.

Anyway, Wim wants us to perform at the studio with his art next Sunday and invite a few friends over. We did that last year and it was really fun. I can’t believe it was a year ago. It feels like yesterday. Last year I didn’t enjoy Amsterdam at all because I was too stressed about the commission. We went home around 5 and continued working on music until time for dinner. Thoth made us salmon sandwiches and leftover chicken risotto. It’s SOO nice to have home cooked meals again.

Here’s my vlog:

Wednesday August 3rd 2016

Our first day in Amsterdam. I slept like a baby from 11pm until 11am. I was SO tired!! I spent the day editing the travel vlogs, then we took a walk to the grocery store to get food for dinner. Thoth would make chicken risotto for everyone. Yummy!

We came home and worked on music. We’re writing a new album in December. Practicing in this way is more fun for me. Thoth is using Reason to make loops in different keys so I can get comfortable with them. I hope to God we have a safe place to live in New York for the Fall so we can work in peace and play in the park, but I’m not worrying about it. Everything always works out for us. Wim and Marja asked if we’d like to go to their art studio tomorrow. We said yes, and asked if they’d like to come to the festival in Ruigoord on Wednesday next week. We were invited to play there. A few years have gone by they’ve wanted us to play there and we’ve not been in town. It worked out this year.

Thoth went downstairs to cook and I sat with him and we talked about our lifestyle and how sustainable it is. It’s a great life to live. Sometimes we work, sometimes we rest, but we are always being creative and we are always free and everything is always changing. We’re at home wherever we are.

Here’s my vlog from our first day in Amsterdam if you haven’t seen it yet.

Our Flight to and First Day in Amsterdam

Tuesday August 2nd 2016

I got up at 8:30am after having not slept at all the night before. I just can’t go to sleep when I have to fly. I hate flying that fucking much, as it was as bad as it always is. I’m always incredibly bitchy when we travel. Thoth puts up with me splendidly. He smiles and laughs and hugs me. I’m a lucky girl.

Thoth went to grab a coffee for himself and a muffin for me before the flight, but it was tight. I got scared so I asked a lady with blue eyes to watch our stuff. She was very sweet. I could tell she was a nice and trustworthy person. I ran fast to get him. Thankfully he was almost back. I don’t like being separated from Thoth when we’re in Europe, or anywhere really. He’s the only person I have when we’re traveling. I lost him once when I freaked out at Burning Man, which only lasted a few minutes, but it was terrifying.

The flight was painful for me, as flying always is. When we travel, I don’t know how we’re able to keep this lifestyle up, but it’s because we love being in new cities, and it is worth the torture of flying. I was so tired but I couldn’t get comfortable. I could barely stand up or keep my eyes open. I thought I was going to faint at one point, or blackout. I couldn’t stand on my two feet without teetering. It was weird. I’ve never fainted before, and I’m glad I didn’t. The air is so dry too. I practically fell into this sweet woman with blue eyes, I didn’t notice until the flight was almost over that she was sitting in the isle seat next to me. “Are you OK?” she asked. So kind! I hate flying. Thoth was fine. He’s perky.

It was only 3 hours in the air, but I was dead tired by the time we landed. I used to be so excited when we traveled when I was a child, but now it’s just par for the course. I wish I had a way to at least sleep the night before. I even took melatonin, which always helps me sleep. It’s just a complete nightmare for me. I hate it so much, and it just keeps getting worse. The flight to London in 2 weeks will be horrible too even though it’s just an hour. It’s the stress of having to get up and do something so uncomfortable, and we have to do it in order to be comfortable again.

Once we got to Wim and Marja’s house, we were instantly at home. “It’s becoming a tradition.” they said. We love Amsterdam and their house. We stayed here for 2 weeks last year. Marja made the bed for us while I showered and then she made dinner for us. The upload speed here is phenomenal. I’ve spent the past 2 and a half months making videos every day that take all night to upload, while here it takes 6 minutes! We had a lovely dinner together, all four of us. I forgot what a home cooked meal tastes like! It’s been 2 and 1/2 months since we’ve had one.

Monday August 1st 2016

I dreamed I had a trip planned for myself to fly to South America while Thoth was in Europe for 2 months. I wanted to see if I could busk by myself. At the last minute I was scared to go alone and was trying to figure out how to get flights for Thoth, too, but it was too late. I eventually took the flight and was there in South America playing for tourists on a mattress near the beach. I went to look for my hotel so I could Skype with Thoth and tell him I was OK. I went to a woman at a restaurant stall and started crying because I missed Thoth so much.

When I woke up and told Thoth, he said it made him sad. “It’s a very lonely dream.” he said. It made me feel a surge of gratefulness for my hubby, not that I’m always incredibly grateful for him! We went to Praca De Flores for lunch at Tease Cafe and sat in the park eating a Pao de Canela, our last for the year! We know we’ll be back in 9 months, but it’s always wistful to have our last day anywhere. We have no home. When we’re in Lisbon, we are at home. When we are in Amsterdam, we are at home. When we are in London, we are at home. Etc. etc. That’s our life. I love it. Sitting in the park together was so lovely. We made sure to pack before going to lunch, so we could rest before going to our last dinner at the Brasserie. It was a lovely day before our big trip to Amsterdam. We’ll miss it here, but we’re ready to go!

Playing for Wim’s Art Instillation

Saturday August 29th 2015

Playing at Vondelpark bummed me out today. I was hoping we’d to sell some CDs, but we didn’t sell as many as last Saturday. That space is so hard to play in. Thoth says he loves singing with me no matter what is happening. His only sadness comes from fear of people stopping us. We decided to pack it in early. We had to be home by 5 to go¬†to Weesp with Wim and Marja for a performance. When we got home, I was so sullen and sad. “It’s a very ‘Fuck it all.’ kind of day.” Thoth said.IMG_20150829_160746548

We arrived at the studio in Weesp and ate something before I put on more makeup. I sat with Wim and Marja and told them how I was feeling. “Why is life so hard? It seems that life doesn’t get easier, we just learn how to deal with it better.” I said. “Exactly,” Wim said. “You learn to stop giving a shit as you get older.” Marja said 7 people had dropped out from coming at the last minute. “You never know who is going to come.” she said. That didn’t make me feel better.

I went into our little dressing room where Thoth was napping. “I don’t want to play.” I said. “You mean now, or in general?” he asked. “Now. Nobody is coming. We’re doing this for Wim.” I said. “It’s very little of him to ask in exchange for letting us stay with them for 2 weeks.” Thoth said. “At least he will enjoy it.” I said.

It ended up only 6 people came, including Wim and Marja, but we actually had fun. The lighting was perfect and I hid in a little door and Thoth went “looking” for me while improvising. “You’re really good at it.” Wim said later. We played 4 pieces from the opera, and I wanted to keep playing. Every time we finished a piece, the 6 people in the room cheered. I could tell everyone was enjoying it immensely, especially Wim. He’d built this structure with us in mind, so it must have been magical to see us performing around it. It’s a great set for us, and he was wandering around turning things on and off, which added to the intrigue. It was fine having so few people watching. Just so long as they’re enthusiastic, it doesn’t matter. ¬†It’s so weird to¬†have a bunch of people watching us in public and they clap so hesitantly, or sometimes way after the fact, or not at all.

The gathering.

IMG_20150829_215936202Me, feeling better.IMG_20150829_220820365

Thoth. IMG_20150829_220833006

Wim was very pleased.

Wim

Wim

We sat with everyone and talked, then once the guests left, Marja played the film she took of us. It was the first time we saw the opera as it is now. It’s beautiful, and it was wonderful hearing Wim and Marja’s comments. They were very into it. Marja films us really well. She knows how to follow our movements without getting in the way, and her camera phone takes great footage. We’ll post it after the show in Martha’s Vineyard.

It was midnight when we got home and flopped in bed. One more day of playing tomorrow, then we pack on Monday and leave Tuesday!

Going to the Art Studio

Monday August 23rd 2015

Today we went with Wim and Marja to¬†their studio in¬†Weesp. He wanted us to see his art instillation and how we can interact with it for a performance there this¬†weekend.¬†Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.38.03 PMWim’s art is very playful and whimsical. We first performed with his art¬†in Rouigoord 5 years ago. That moment is in direct connection to why we’re able to be with them now. Now they¬†are some of our closest friends and supporters in the world. Wim was immensely inspired by us.

I looked around at his art smiling from ear the ear. Everything made a sound, a consistent, receptive, gentle sound that made me want to sing. I took out my violin and started to play with the sounds. Marja and Thoth filmed me. Later Thoth took out his instrument we¬†filmed him. Then I played with him. Improvisation is challenging¬†for me, even though I’ve been doing it for almost 7 years now! I’m really good at beating myself up about it. I want to be perfect, but there’s no such thing as perfect in improvisatory music. Despite¬†that I face¬†my fears every day, I constantly doubt myself. I want to be more confident. I’m only 27. I have time. ūüôā

Marja went to the store to get food while Thoth and I took a walk to the canal. We sat on a bench together and then walked back. Thoth is my comfort and my stronghold. I’m so lucky to have him in my life. They had set out a lovely spread when we came back to the studio, We sat ¬†and ate together, then packed up and drove home.

Later I was feeling quite sad and looked at videos of successful people, which of course made me more sad. Thoth and I went out to Thai food for dinner. When we got home, I sat with Wim and talked with him about my feelings. “I want to be successful.” I said. “But you are successful… You have so much potential… You were so playful with my art today… You are very gifted… I can tell you that I was thinking of you when I was creating this. Wondering how you would interact with it.” Wim said. That touched me. It’s nice to have older, experienced people in my life who understand. “You never know how your performances affect others.” he said. It’s true. We would never be here with Wim and Marja if it wasn’t for that one performance in Rougioord. We never know which way¬†our life will go.