Saturday, May 2, 2009

When in Carpi...

I haven't been so obsessed with a band since The Beatles made me swoon in 1964 (and yes...I was awfully young for swooning). But, I'm telling you, those adorable guys from Liverpool couldn't make a move without my knowing about it. When I didn't know about it...well, I made it up. The stories usually involved Paul... My new obsession is only slightly different. I'm not swooning - I'm beaming. The band is Balmorhea - a six piece ensemble with Austin roots and a cinematic sound that you just must hear, because it really defies all genre typing. They've been called indie post rock, pastoral post rock, neo-classical, experimental...all terms that could be boiled down to - amazing. My youngest son plays the double bass in the band. They're currently in the middle of a 5-week, 26 gig tour of Europe. Six young and talented musicians, loading and unloading a van, sound checking in every language but English, playing encores, signing autographs, eating like kings/queens - in seven countries on another continent. Basically, they're livin' the dream. I begin every day opening a map on my computer and trying to figure out where they are, how far they have to drive between venues, and what time it is there. Next, I usually send my son a text message - where are you? how was last night's show? Then I refresh and refresh and refresh the text link to his EU phone, looking for a reply. Sigh. I'm pathetic. After that, I check the twitter traffic on to see what people who might have seen them play are saying. From there, I google the next venue, look for posters, pictures, reviews. Then I send a daily update email to my sister - who relays every single word to my mother (who still refuses to have a computer in her home). I'm not sure what I'll do with my time when the tour is over. I am looking forward to hearing the back stories. Babel fish has been incredibly entertaining as I've cut and paste copy from venue sites into the translator. For instance, here's a line describing Balmorhea's music from Mattatoio in Carpi, Italy:
what one is about to describe to us is egg whites outside from the time
Egg whites outside from the time? In context it seems to be something wonderful. One thing is certain - music is the universal language of peace and love and hope. From Leipzig, Germany to Lausanne, Switzerland to Bilbao, Spain - these six kids have shown up at crowded venues full of people who live under different governments, speak different languages, travel, eat, and live their lives in wholly different ways. But they love music. And they have welcomed these Americans with gourmet meals, comfortable accommodations, spirited applause, and lively post-performance conversation (sometimes about George Bush, since the band is from Texas...). It's a van full of beautiful instruments and gracious young Americans who still have 3,371 miles of this music-meets-world-peace adventure left. Perhaps we need a US Department of Live Music to facilitate a way to a kinder, more inclusive world view. Like egg whites outside from time... Peace.

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