Dixon I recently decided I was going to write a blog post once a week. Only I hadn’t taken into account that we aren’t wired for being creative ALL the time. I thus found it strange that the stories didn’t just pour out of me, given I’ve had so many sweet and memorable experiences over the past few weeks. Then I realized that it’s night of full moon and my missing creativity suddenly makes sense – I seem to get quite emotionally and physically distraught by the full moon. A full moon meditation, reminding me that I’m a magical being, as well as setting an intention to put this magic into writing, cleared out the mind clutter and I’m now ready to share some pretty cool New Orleans stories with you….
Lalín As any memorable experience largely is the result of the connections we make with the people we’re with, let me introduce you to some of the magical people I’ve met over the past couple of weeks in this equally magical city of New Orleans
Ester, still wearing high heels at 94
I met Ester (first photo) at Unitarian Universalist Community Church at a bird talk/concert performed by mutual friends. Ester and I were both sitting in the front row immensely enjoying the show, when she noticed my high heels and said in excitement: “You look great! You just don’t see anyone wearing high heels around here”. I probably grew a couple of inches taller from that remark… She, herself, wore high heels every day, at 94 of age! Not only did she have a great posture, she had a great spirit about her too. I hope to see her again someday (which I probably will, since New Orleans is a small city) – meeting elderly folks who keep their youth about them is so inspiring to me, as I’m sure hearing some of her life stories would be too.
Even though New Orleans already emanates a lot of love and soul, Mahmoud Chouki, in green on the second photo (making up, together with my friend, Brian Seeger in purple, and myself in yellow, a Mardi Gras flag!) was a fresh breath of air to the city, as I heard him pour out his most intimate self in his intricate guitar playing on two different occasions, including the church concert at which I met Ester. Do yourself a favor and YouTube him to hear his tasteful playing. What most impressed me about him as a musician was the sensitivity and dynamics he displayed. Dynamics are everything! A song can be played with great technique, but if it’s missing dynamics, you won’t feel much when listening to it. The show was a very inspiring experience, and a reminder to be more aware of dynamics in my own music.
The third photo shows Julie and Gilles, a French couple whom I met in the French Quarter while busking. They told me that they were completely mesmerized by the music and Julie asked if she could use my CD to teach her students in middle school English. “Yes, of course!” Experiences like this make busking so special; you immediate feel the impact that music can have on people (I say “can have” as it does require openness and readiness to feel this impact). I find that when I sing on the street, pouring my heart into the music, people in return also open up to me, telling me their stories too. I believe that we’re in this life to connect. Sharing music allows for that connection to happen on a deep level, even with people we’ve never met before. By the end of a night like this, my busking partner, Brian, and I (fourth photo) and I were flying high, and my heart turns into one big mush. I fell asleep with a big smile on my face that night, and I was reminded I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to do – create and share music.
The last photo was sent to me by Michael, whom I met while busking during French Quarter Fest this past weekend. Brian had left for New York for the weekend, but with my backing tracks and a supportive crowd, I managed all on my own, in spite of some initial nerves about going solo again. Friday, as I was busking a block closer to the river from my usual spot on the corner of St. Louis and Royal Street, I met Michael, who had come from a show on the river and enjoyed chilling to some quieter music on the corner. It was a sweet meeting.
Then, on Saturday night, while on the favorite spot, I met two little girls, both around 8 years old, who, independently, came up to me and wanted to sing a song on the mic – to the applause of the 50+ crowd that gathered to listen. Such brave kids!! I could never have done that at that age. One’s mother was an opera singer, so she already had some serious chops. I hope that both girls will remember this experience when they grow older and that it’s inspired them to singing.
Another showstopper on Saturday was singing Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose and Je ne Regrette Rien a cappella with three French girls, who charmed everyone when they started dancing with people next to them in the crowd. Before long, there were several couples dancing, others hugging and a lady tearing up as I sang Celine Dion’s Power of Love… A memorable evening to say the least <3
The above stories are a mere excerpt of many wonderful moments in this amazing city, they call the Big Easy. It’s by unwinding and taking it easy that we allow for connection to happen. Now, I look forward to creating more street performances with Brian, and also further developing my own music with Donny, which is coming along so beautifully and organically. We’re working on a horn and a string section right now!! I look forward to being able to share this music with y’all, hoping that all of the enjoyment that I get out of working on it will shine through on the final result. Oh, and I’m also excited about playing my piano again. I just started taking lessons to be able to better accompany myself and do solo gigs.
I’m glad I managed to channel my full moon energy into this blog post as you can tell, I had a lot to share. Now, having spent a couple of hours of writing this, I’m ready to hit the sack and get a good night’s rest!!
Love and magical adventures to you…