Sunday, 31 January 2016

I'll follow the sun.

I guess it's time to try and write about the end of an era with Niz and I.  Who knows if we will make music again?  At this moment I am a bit hurt and low and wondering what to do with myself.  It is a long story so I will do my best to take it from the summer....

We left for Ireland in July and after a heat wave in Amsterdam and great music and memories in Berlin we touched down in Galway where the rain was coming sideways with the wind.  It wasn't as much rain..It was like a heavy drizzle.  Soaking you but not raining.  We thought Galway would be much bigger, but everywhere in Ireland the towns and cities are quite tiny.  It had a great atmosphere to the place though and we loved it.  We had a soup and a coffee and the people serving us felt like relatives feeding us after a long journey.

And a long journey it had been!  12 hours from Amsterdam to London..Then a 5 hour wait whilst we slept in the park.  Then a 15 hour bus ride from London to Galway with 3 changes in between.  We had chosen Galway because there was a chance we would be helping out at this farm.  They wouldn't give us any concrete information on what was expected of us, or if we could stay there for sure.  They just lured us in by saying how does a caravan with a wood fire and a small garden sound?  It sounded great enough for us to take the journey there.

We had nowhere to stay whilst we were on the bus and when we took the ferry we got some good news.  We had posted a few requests on Couch surfing and none had accepted then we received this message from a beautiful soul saying that she just had the urge to log on to CS and see if anyone needed her help.  So she sent us a message saying we could stay with her.  We ended making a great friend in Giulia La Bianca.

The other good piece of news was that there was a barn in Donegal that we could look after for a few months from August.  We breathed a sigh of relief as we were worried where we would stay once we got to Galway and our lucky stars looked after us again.   The farm in Galway turned out to be a dead end.  It was owned by a drug using juggler called Jimi.  He sent us this video when we were asking about the place and we watched it in horror when we got to Galway. 'I'd just like to recommend drugs, heroin for breakfast, cocaine for dinner and life is a struggle if you don't juggle.  He didn't have a nice face and we were glad we didn't go down that road.

After waiting at the train station for around 6 or 7 hours we finally met Giulia.  She was a bright eyed Sicilian with a warm smile and heart and we felt once again like we were meeting an old friend.  We made the 40 minute walk to her place in the rain me carrying the big case through the muddy paths and woods and then finally made it.  She cooked us some nice veggie food and we chatted about life and all kinds.  We were too tired to go busking and plus it was still raining.

We ended up spending a week with Giulia and meeting some of her really nice friends.  The rain stopped enough for us to do a bit of busking and make some money and the busking in Galway was fantastic.  Even though there were buskers every ten meters or so, people were really generous.  They really appreciate it the Irish.  Music is a sacred thing to them.  And we met some nice buskers a long the way.  One guy was playing Pink Floyd's Breathe' so beautifully and softly and had such a nice sound and voice.  I asked him where he got the chips he was eating and he just gave me them.  The Irish are very generous and good hearted people.

The beer was so expensive though.  And the food.  Everything was really.  I lost 4 kilos in a week!  The rain would stop for a few hours each day maximum.  When it did, we would rush out on the 40 minute walk to go busking and then it would start again.  We were getting a little disheartened and we would fight a little bit and storm off on eachother.  Like we have done all through our journey together.  As much as we felt so close with eachother there were times we would scream at eachother and really feel distant from eachother.

I just took it as a consequence of the life we lead.  The highs are beautiful and the lows are hard.  We would always come back to eachother though and always be strong.  But after a week in Galway we were so disheartened by the rain that we decided to leave for wherever the weather radar map showed there was sun.  Brighton was to be our next destination.  We still had a month before we returned to Ireland to look after the barn but for now, we needed a bit more sunshine.  Once again, we would meet legendary people, make great music and memories and really feel a part of the place we are in.

Download the fanastic album 'Where The Days Have No Name' and pay whatever you wish..

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Candlelight and Creativity

We found a ride going from Berlin to Amsterdam, which wasn't hard as it's the most traversed route in Europe!  Two very special cities joined together by a 6 hour drive.  We arrived in Amsterdam and felt the difference in the atmosphere immediately, Berlin is buzzing.  Everywhere you go you feel how the streets are alive,  Amsterdam is quiet and slow tempo.  But we both felt we needed this, my dear friend Cato said we could stay in her beautiful garden house while we were there, and after such an extreme adventure in Berlin we were excited to get there.

Through all the time I spent in Amsterdam I had two anchors, Cato in the East and Bart in the West.  They have helped me and looked after me so much, and always been there when I have needed it most.  This time was no different - Bart lent me a bike and we had a great night catching up with the Deeb.  Johnny Deeb is a very positive, energetic traveling candy man, and we spent some good days and crazy nights in Amsterdam together when Niz first went back to Argentina.  That was when I needed my mates more than ever and in Dominic, Deeb, Cato and Bart I had the best.

We made it to Cato's pulling all our luggage and instruments.  By now we were very heavy loaded.  We had a suitcase each, busking amp, 2 mic stands, guitar, violin, uke, 3 laptops, lots of books and other bits and bobs that made it a slow and heavy walk.  Cato has been with a great guy for the last year, Hans.  They both welcomed us in so warmly and we enjoyed a beer, smoke and nice food while talking of our Berlin adventure.

We had lived so well in Berlin, making great money, good friends and really feeling a part of the wonderful and celebrated street music scene.  We had saved 600 euroes, bought the uke and the laptop and ate the best falafel in the world.  The music scene was buzzing there, and we knew Amsterdam didn't quite match it but we would do our best and enjoy our time here.  After busking in Berlin with the amp and feeling so welcome and wanted, it was back to the streets to play acoustically.

After a few days with Cato we set out to the Garden House to write some songs, learn some new ones and practise some vocalisations.  It was well needed, we never really had our own space in Berlin.  We would go to the park to learn some new songs, but it wasn't the same as being very isolated and spending hours smoking and learning and singing.  The gardenhouse is the perfect place for it and we immediately felt this wave of creativity hit us.  We have a portable studio that can run for 5 hours on battery, so we would lay some strings and vocals down, go to the city and recharge them.

That was the best thing about the garden house, no electricity and no distractions!  Whenever we would come home the first thing I would do is pick up the guitar and start playing, practicing finger picking and singing.  The first thing I do (sadly) when I am staying at a house is pick up the laptop and go online.  We wrote and recorded a very nice song and put the Uke to work for the first time for the Caravan.  It was an amazing time and we really appreciated being there.  A heatwave hit us for the ten days we were there and we didn't even attempt to leave the gardenhouse until 6pm.

We had tried busking on the streets and it was OK, a little slow going after Berlin but we found a way to relly enjoy playing music for Amsterdam.  The Champagne Boat is a luxury boat tour that serves Moet Chandon and is run by a group of friends.  We would play on this and then put the hat round afterwards.  We were making at least 50 for a tour, which was a nice 50 to make.  Sailing around the beautiful canals and playing Blue Moon and Moon River and people really enjoying and listening.  Amsterdam was still eating at our savings a little bit though, but we were doing OK.

One day the sun was shining bright and with Cato and Hans we decided to go to the beach, it was a lovely day so we packed some Nepalese hash, some Dutch Bread and Cheese and a few Brand Beers into a beach bag and made the hour drive North to the beach, as soon as we got there people were leaving in droves, shivering.  We stepped out of the VW van and seen why.  The wind was howling and cold and the sky was grey.  But the European spirit is to see it through and make the most of it.  After half an hour of trying roll in the wind Hans remembers he has a wind shelter and we set it up.  Ahhhh, bliss.  We have our wind shelter and picnic and are very cosy, then the moment you step up the wind blasts you and you get back in saying 'Lets never go out there!'  I did though, I took a big run and just jumped into the cold sea

We were starting to prepare ourselves for Ireland.  We didn't really know what to expect as we were still in a European mindset, but it was the next step and we had to get ready to say farewell to Amsterdam

Download the fanastic album 'Where The Days Have No Name' and pay whatever you wish..

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