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Portland, OR, United States
I am finishing up my midwifery apprenticeship and plan to be a real midwife early in 2014!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Music, music, everywhere!

Last night and today, we attended the River City Bluegrass Festival, which we have decided is a misnomer. I heard precious little pure bluegrass, but lots of bluegrass-influenced music, all of it anywhere from okay to really, really good. I had never heard any of these musicians before except for one band that we'd heard on Prairie Home Companion (and, actually, that was the one that was "okay"--I enjoy listening to it while cleaning the kitchen or lounging around on a Saturday, but not to go and actually listen to them, you know?) but now I have some new favorites. One is Darol Anger and the Republic of Strings. They played a song called Andre and his New Shoes. It was Brazilian-style, and my comment to Paul while they were playing it was "who knew that instrumental music could be funny?" He explained beforehand that Andre's new shoes are the coolest shoes ever, and they make him look so fine, but they are the most uncomfortable shoes he's ever worn and he has to stop every few steps to scream with pain. "And the musical instrument the best suited for expressing pain is, of course, the violin!" And the violin was painfully, hilariously good.

And around here, we know of which we speak.

Because for an early birthday present (it wasn't meant to be early, but when you're shopping Craigslist, you have to take what you can get when you can get it) I got a violin! I played when I was a kid, for five years. Then, because I didn't really *choose* to play violin (I didn't not choose, either--it was expected that I pick an instrument in 4th grade and play it) I left it behind when I was attending a private high school that didn't offer orchestra and it was just too much trouble to be trucked over to the public high school several times a week for music. Several years ago, my mother gave me my old violin, but it sat for a long time and when a friend with limited resources told me her son really wanted to play, I gave it to them. May he use it in good health!

But in the last couple of years I have had the hankering to take it up again. For several reasons: I hate to let all those years of musical knowledge go; the rest of my family plays (or at least *has*) an instrument. Paul and Hibi play guitar and Zac has a banjo that he hasn't done much with....but he's got it out right now!; I was wanting an outlet for creativity and plus, I just love violin music.

So, I was thinking about having someone take my picture of me playing violin, but if I did, I'd have to say, "not pictured: the rest of the family with their hands over their ears." I never knew back in 4th grade how squeaky and awful the violin playing of a beginner is, but I do now! I'll be practicing in the basement a lot...so, I didn't just pick it up and take up where I left off when I went to high school, but it is coming back to me fairly well. I hope to be able to get at least not-squeaky fairly soon!

The Bluegrass Festival continues tomorrow, and tonight of course--there'll be square dancing at midnight, I think. We recommend it! We might even hop on over there for another hour or so tonight.


Mimi said...

Happy, Happy Birthday, my friend! Many Years!

ElizO said...

Hey, Elizabeth, did you see my friend's band, Whiskey Puppy? I'm almost positive they played this weekend.

Also, I'm a closet fiddler and am always up for playing music with others--I often need music to read, but I have a big fiddle book that has tons of tunes in it, so if it is in there I could play along with you. Let me know!

Joel said...

Dear Elizabeth,

this is Joel Monica's husband, I picked up the violin a little less than two years ago having never played before. The excuse was to help Simeon get into it by osmosis. I have loved it and practice about an hour a day by choice. look for the yahoo group BAVS (beginning adult violin...) they have great help advice resources. Lots of people starting violin later in life. Also I would try to get a teacher. I waited 6 months or so and wished I started regularly with a teacher right away.

I am jelous you have blue grass festivals in your area...


Elizabeth said...

Hey, Joel! Nice to see you here. And I'm glad to hear I have two fellow beginner fiddlers! Elizabeth O, I'd be happy to play with you sometime, after I get a bit more polished (no more squeaking, which my kids said today that I'm getting better at!). And Joel, they have these bluegrass fests every year. Perhaps you could come to visit some early January and come with us! (Hey, I'll try anything to get you guys to come visit again!)

And thank you for the birthday wishes, Mimi! See you Friday.