Saturday, November 14, 2009

California Jam -- jcarolek

The trip here was perfect. There were no typical travel snafus and the day that started in Gloucester, Virginia ended in the the wee hours of the next morning in the Yosemite area.  I've spent most of my time here simply resting, eating well, and enjoying nature and the good company of friends.  

We spent one afternoon getting my friend's mother's sewing machine working again.  We had a grand time in the process, laughing and joking, and just as we finished up, the light on the front porch popped on, alerting us to a visitor arriving.  We caught this photo of the visitor, before encouraging him to seek other lodgings.


Yesterday we drove to Sacramento for a jam session with more friends.  It was an interesting one.  There were about twenty of us there, of various backgrounds and native tongues. And we played and sang a variety of music.  One of the more interesting aspects of this particular jam session/party was the inclusion of one of the host's family members from eastern Europe.  He was not physically at the party, but joined us via the modern conveniences of Skype.

Now this guy, Pete, is a talented violinist.  He, in fact, had the opportunity of visiting here in the US a couple of years ago and jamming with this musical "family" in person.  So he, now joining us through the laptop perched on the mantle of the fireplace, recognized the violin I was attempting to tune -- the one that needed two of the pegs to be "chalked" so they would quit slipping.  I had discovered the slipping pegs while I was here last July, when I first examined the instrument.  So, on the way to Sacramento, we'd picked up some chalk and in a few quick minutes, the violin was tuned and holding a tune.  And with that the playing began.

There were at least four guitars, a keyboard, an accordion and the violin, as well as the voices, young and old, melding together to create yet another musical memory.  I suppose it is true that music is the universal language, but it is also true that when a group of amateur musicians come together to play, there is a certain amount of verbal exchange that occurs.  I mean, as we are all playing the familiar songs of those from other cultures, it  is necessary for us to know the chords to play.  So, a call for chord might go up in English, and the answer returned in Spanish or Czech, or English.  Nevertheless, we figured it out.  And we had a good time. 

We played from around three in the afternoon to nearly midnight, breaking only for food -- a wonderful spread of Mexican food.  Finally, because we still had a three hour return trip ahead of us, we wrapped up the instruments and said our goodbye's until next time.  We arrived back in the Yosemite area just before 3 AM and spent another hour or so unwinding, before drifting off to bed.


Today was spent mostly sleeping and keeping warm.  It has turned pretty cold here, especially at night.  Nevertheless, I was able to get a few pictures of the beautiful nature here.  I have another few days in this corner of paradise before returning to Virginia.


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