Sunday, January 9, 2011

Music to Dig on

So I don't know if I mentioned this before, but The Wheel is on vacation for like, a month. Seriously, it's the longest period the band has had off in...I think maybe ever.  From Christmas Eve eve to January 22nd we only have one gig, and that one was optional (it's actually less a gig and more of a taping for Chinese television. I think. Stay tuned for details).

I was worried about what I would write about on my time off. After all this blog historically has been put to rest during long periods when we're home.  I just can't bring myself to document trips to the park and days spent cleaning the house.  

Two weeks plus of our vacation have passed with hardly a word from me. That's because I gave myself the holidays off, with a capital O.F.F. We were traveling and visiting family on two coasts while simultaneously recovering from the second half of 2010, which will forever go down in history as "that time when we were on the road so often and for so long that we forgot what street we actually lived on. Oh, and I was getting through the first trimester of my second pregnancy. And we brought a toddler with us."

Yeah, we were tired.

So now we're home and recovered (mostly). And me? I'm ready to blog baby!  But I still won't be telling you about my trips to the park. I have other ideas.

A ton of my favorite blogs have music sections.  And hey, I like music! And I thought I'd check in every so often with what I've been digging on.

Currently, it's Flamenco music. Specifically, Camaron de la Isla.

I spent a year in Granada, Spain,  which is one of the centers of Flamenco music. When I first arrived I had a goal.  To learn to sing Flamenco. "How hard could it be?" I reasoned. I was musical.  I was a singer.  I had a good ear.

Yeah. And by "yeah" I mean "no."

My mentor, a flamenco musician in town, suggested that I actually listen to the music before I set my sights so high as to expect to master the genre in 3 months. With typical youthful hubris I poo-pooed his poo-pooing of my dreams. 

Until I really sat down and spent time with the music.

It was the first time I understood that music wasn't just about learning the notes.  It was about accessing passion and pain and joy, sometimes all at the same time. It was about  opening yourself up and letting people hear the truth.  And it was the first time that I understood that I had limits to my abilities. I was an okay singer but I was also a twenty year old suburban- raised American girl. I was not, as it turns out, a Spanish gypsy. And so I learned to enjoy,  rather than try to master Flamenco

When I got back to the States, my connection to the music dropped off pretty dramatically. I lost the few tapes I had brought back through moves across town and then across the country.  I listened to what I had, what was around. And not so strangely, apart from the Gypsy Kings and more recently Rodrigo y Gabriela, you don't hear much Flamenco inspired anything in Texas.

But then along came Pandora, and on a whim I made my own Camaron de la Isla station. And realized that, if anything, I appreciate this music even more than I had before.

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