Mittwoch, 31. August 2016


So richtig viel vorbereitet habe ich noch gar nicht ... Es wäre da zum Beispiel eine Fähre zu buchen. Vorher. Vorsichtshalber. Nicht einfach zum Hafen fahren und das nächste Boot nehmen... und da weiß ich ja aus Erfahrung, daß ich für diese "vorher"-Nummer bei Fähren kein Talent habe. (Driftwool: wieder was gelernt)
Aber eigentlich muß man ja nur den Abfahrtshafen kennen und rechtzeitig da sein. Der Rest ergibt sich. Wenn man nichts bucht, fällt auch das weg!

Was aber immerhin schon vorbereitet ist: Die Hühner sind ins Zwerg-Welsumer all inclusive Ferienparadies gebucht. Sie haben sogar schon ihr all-inclusive Armband! (Damit nacher auch die richtigen Zwerg-Welsumer mit nach Hause kommen!)
Die dicken Hühner erkenne ich ja wieder...

Puttchen Brammel - Hühner mit Persönlichkeit haben halt Namen....
 .... nur die zwei Zwerge kann ich nicht mal voneinader unterscheiden.
Da war Beringung DIE Chance, eine Unterscheidungsmöglichkeit zu haben! Was war ich froh, einzelne Ringe in zwei verschiedenen Farben zu finden! Erst Tage später ist mir aufgefallen, daß man gar keine ZWEI Farben braucht, um ZWEI Hühner durch Ringe voneinander unterscheidbar zu machen....

Henne blau - eigentlich praktisch, daß Hühner ZWEI Beine haben....
Aber wenn es irgendwas in verschiedenen Farben gibt, dann kann ich mich eh nicht entscheiden und muß es auch in verschiedenen Farben kaufen. Wenn es zuviele Farben gibt, kauf ich es gar nicht... also wenn die Zahl der Farben das Doppelte bis Dreifache meines maximalen Bedarfs überschreitet....

Montag, 29. August 2016

A to B as fasht as you can...

...that is actually a highly sophisticated strategy in rowing that wins you an olympic silver medal!
But....anyhow.... getting sidetracked now right at the start. Starting multiple blog posts at the same time does NOT help with sticking to a limited number of topics or keeping thoughts organised! It doesn't help with anything actually. Lots of posts get started, none get finished and what I REALLY want to say doesn't get said. (What I really want to write gets written, though. Elsewhere. Not for anybody's eyes to read. Some of it is... nice.... Short, moving, to the point.... you have to take my word for it because I lack the skill to edit it in a way that could turn it into a blog post. I wish I could.....)

But back to rowing: Rowing would probably be last on the list of sports I'd follow if I followed sports. But the O'Donovan brothers deserve a gold medal for their interviews. The perfect cliché Wesht Cork lads. Well done! They must have rehearsed that! They even managed to not only mention spuds a couple of times but also the favourite variety in Skibbereen (Oh the knowledge one gains living with the family who owns the local Centra!)

Well.... "A to B as fast as you can" ... can be a strategy in playing tunes, too. I'm not sure about "close your eyes and pull/pick/bow/blow like a dog" but we definately had some warp speed tunes on saturday that made me think of the headline and a blog post about how lovely it is to get visitors over for a tune or go visiting yourself. And how wonderful it is to play tunes with friends whose thoughts you can read!

So this is a blog post about session friends and fellow musicians who live close enough to meet every now and then. One of the ones I started and want to post because there are pictures to go with it....

A lazy, dreamy sunday morning and the realisation that someone posted pictures of "instruments and irish breakfast"... only an hour or two away. I didn't need much time to make up my mind.
didn't need much time to pack either

Which led to two tunes running in my head all the way: "The peerie hoose ahint da burn" - because I really, really needed to go to the loo. And "Comb your hair and curl it" when I realised I had forgotten about "having hair" now. A quick brush wouldn't have been amiss....  But nobody commented and we had lovely tunes! Nice, relaxed sunday afternoon tunes. We came up with a set that we called "the epic extravaganza of annoying tunes". We didn't play it. Just talked about what should go in. Which is probably more fun ...

memo: learn from your peers - keep cap in flute bag... for those "forgot about hair" days
one of those lovely days... visiting people for a couple of tunes....

The most recent "reading someone's (musical) thoughts": When the electricity went off during our session and the onyl light was from all those candles. When Sirko had this big bubble over his head saying "OK! Something romantic! Which one?" and my choice was met with a big smile.

not a good picture.... it was Sirko who was smiling at me! AND the pint!
And the most recent "Oh! Isn't it lovely to have musicians visiting?" has some pictures and unfortunately no recordings. I dressed smartly and remembered to comb my hair - just in case someone takes a picture. Nobody did. Waste of energy!

But it deserves a blog post anyway because it takes... something - like a visiting banjo player - to make me got to town to an "alternative street party" kind of thing. Heat, lots of people, playing music (outside) while it is still daylight... all that.
Yep: It was worth it! For a start Conny did the usual "ooops! Harp strings just broke! Can you bring a guitar string as replacement?" followed by some very sophisticated harp restringing action

NOT cold! Some of these strings are still there from when we built the harp. The tidy ones....
Thank you Bartek! I really enjoyed playing with you again! Next time we'll have a proper place to play! Proper chairs and beer and  I'll learn some more of your tunes! (You'll have to learn your fiddler's "Within a Mile of Dublin"! Thanks a million for reminding me of that one!)

OK - this one looks ... insulting....  but it isn't! Phoebe is not covering her ears because she doesn't like the harp - loud techno beats from the stage behind us... but watch the baby! He does not like music. Even though he's got a tune dedicated to his birth (which was originaly given away in a raffle but still...)
He was happy all afternoon!

Not a great picture either but great fun: playing table tennis in the dark

or alternatively playing "pong" on screen...

Not as good as the nicest version of pong ever played but made me smile...

See? Starting multiple blog posts just makes for long, boring ones.... far away from what I want to say. So far actually that I might decide to spare you from this gibberish until  I have something worthwhile to say..... and come up with a way to say it...

Freitag, 26. August 2016

keeping track of tunes

I'm trying to be better organised. So I am drafting multiple blog posts at the same time to prevent myself from writing about sheep's tongues instead of tunes or tunes instead of "yon lonesome dove" or getting distracted in a million ways. Which I love. Still makes for multiple blog posts. One or two tangents at a time is about enough...

Yon lonesome dove probably got eaten last night - she made me sad while she was lonesome in spring and made me smile every day after she found a friend to join her stealing the hen's corn. No bits of dove there, though. Just feathers. Might still be allright....

No easy transition here from her to tunes.... and to my favourite tune just now. Would be easier if it was "pigeon on the gate".... but it isn't. It's one of the tunes that I liked and asked for the name and wrote it down on a piece of paper. And forgot about. I have loads of those bits of paper with tune names on. And I never learn those tunes. Not before I find three or more bits of paper with the same tune name. But finding them and remembering the evening is always nice!
Found some recently. It was easy to remember where I took them down: They were written on a map of Denver (scary, scary place! I'll never forget that bus ride to the session! With that bearded, big, big woman screaming in her phone that she doesn't care if he is with the Hell's Angels! She is going to do ..... something... to him anyway!)
Anyhow... tangent .... turned out that the weird tune names on that map are not tune names but names of sheep farms in Colorado that keep shetland sheep!

But one tune on a scrap of paper....had a nice enough name to make me look it up. Valley of the moon. That's somewhere in the San Francisco Bay area and a novel by Jack London and the sheet music was .... weird. Simple little thing with some sort of syncopation that didn't make sense to me. But I had an idea who I heard it play and he sent me a recording. And it is... it is the sweet little thing the name suggests.
I'd love to share the original recording (which is by Goitse in a set called Dowds No.10) but I couldn't find anything legal to share.
Sweet, sweet thing! But you'll have to do with my recording. Which isn't that sweet but: It's a first. First time I learned a tune after finding ONE note reminding me to learn it. First time I played it and first time to play it with the fiddler I got it from. And it may be the first time that someone publicly declares that  a tune needs a banjo for added sweetness... but it does... (we all secretly think this way -  I'm just the first to admit)...  like a steamboat crossing some mad swell or a tinker pony and trap going clap, clap, clap up a steep road. Or... well... actually: Sewing machine with a bark....

No! I'm no good at this. Feel like deleting all of this and just posting this lovely tune, badly played:

Donnerstag, 25. August 2016

Man schweift beim Schreiben aber auch ganz schnell ab....

Eigentlich... wollte ich mal einen Blogbeitrag schreiben über das, was wir in der Mittagspause so googeln. Das passiert schon seit Jahren regelmäßig, wenn ich mit den Kollegen Mittagessen gehe: Man kommt auf dieses und jenes interessante Thema und stellt fest, daß eigentlich keiner Ahnung davon hat. Dann spekuliert man noch ein bißchen, wie es wohl sein könnte und googelt anschließend, wie es wirklich ist.
Was man gegoogelt hat, vergißt man dann beizeiten wieder, so daß man über dasselbe Thema bei anderer Gelegenheit ganz andere wilde Theorien aufstellen kann. Irgendwie sind das immer recht schräge Themen.... gedankliche Tangenten, die von anderen Tangenten abbiegen.
Nur ist es mittlerweile blöderweise so, daß wir schon auf dem Rückweg vergessen, worum es ging und gar nicht mehr bis zum googeln kommen. Deshalb kann ich da auch keinen Blogbeitrag zu schreiben. Ich weiß es nicht mehr... war total witzig. Bestimmt....

Ich hab neulich in der Mittagspause gegoogelt, wieviele Schwanzwirbel so ein Schaf hat, bis der "baumelnde" Teil des Schwanzes anfängt.Tja... Bilder von Skeletten gibt es nicht viele und die anatomischen Zeichnungen sind sich da nicht ganz einig. Bei einigen hatte der Zeichner scheinbar keine Lust mehr auf eine exakte Darstellung, als er hinten am Schaf angekommen war und hat einfach gekrakelt und schraffiert.... aber eigentlich wollte ich wissen, ob die unterschiedliche Schwanzlänge bei den nordischen kurzschwänzigen Schafen aufgrund unterschiedlich langer Wirbel zustande kommt oder aufgrund unterschiedlicher Wirbelzahl. Ich dachte, das könnte man am lebendigen Schaf vielleicht fühlen... (kann man nicht!)
Ein bißchen seltsam ist es schon, daß bei einige Rassen (wie Shetlandschafen und Skudden) ein riesen Bohei darum gemacht wird, daß der Schwanz eben kurz sein muß aber ich hab noch niemanden getroffen, der da jemals nachgezählt hat. Dabei sind 13 Wirbel die Definition und nicht XY cm....
Aber dank netter Internetschafsfreunde ändert sich das: Danke an alle Wirbelzähler!

Was ich jetzt noch bräuchte: Infos zu Zungenfarbe!

Shetlandschaf gulmoget - Smali Shetland Sheep, Cumbria

Ernsthaft! Ich mein - könnte ja sein, daß mal jemand in der Mittagspause "Zungenfarbe Schaf" googelt und nix findet!
Es geht mir natürlich mal wieder um Farbgenetik. Was ich weiß: Katmogets (badgerface) haben dunkle Zungen wie non-agoutis, Gulmogets (black and tan) haben rosa Zungen, wie weiße. Bei den Skudden sind die verschiedenen Grauen mal wieder ein großes Rätsel.... meine haben dunkle, helle oder gefleckte Zungen... je nachdem, was für ein grau sie haben und ob sie gescheckt sind oder nicht.
Zungenfarbe plus Farbbezeichnung Eurer Schafe würden mich brennend interessieren! Bei Skudden, Shetlandschafen, Romanovs, Gotländern, Heidschnucken... aber auch Schwarzköpfigen Fleischschafen (Suffolk haben übrigens rosa Zungen), Scottisch Blackface und Drenthe Heideschafen in den verschiedenen Farben.

Die Zungenfarbenbestandsaufnahme meiner Schafe war gar nicht so schwer: Abends kriegen meine Schafe gerne mal "den Flitz" und dann rasen sie hin- und her über die Wiese und haben Spaß. Das läßt sich triggern: Wenn ich ein bisserl lustig über die Wiese hopse, machen sie mit. Dann kommen wir alle aus der Puste und hecheln. Wenn sie damit aufhören und man keine Zungen mehr sieht, toben wir weiter über die Wiese... Dann schmeißen wir uns alle unter den Walnußbaum und grinsen blöde. Das ist besser als googeln in der Mittagspause!

Wenn man einmal nachfragt, bekommt man übrigens zig Zungenbilder noch bevor man den Beitrag online gestellt hat! Ich bin beeindruckt! Das sind genug für Schafszungenbildkalender für die nächsten zwei Jahre! In eine Collage passen leider nur neun:

Schafe unter anderem von: sheep-n-dogs, havelland bordercollies, Nutztierarche Stocksee

Das Schöne am Blogschreiben ist übrigens, daß ich selber immer ganz gespannt bin, worüber ein Beitrag geht. Bei diesem war ich ganz sicher, daß er über Musik gehen wird.... was für eine überraschende Wendung!

Mittwoch, 3. August 2016

Kitsch for friends

So many people I played tunes with over the years... Some I only vaguely remember but I remember the tunes they gave me (or the ones I took). 'The Moon and the Seven Stars' (and the tune that goes with it) has a vague memory of musicians from Hannover attached to it. I had forgotten about the one to go with it until I stopped in Hannover for a tune last year.
Two Breton tunes are connected with Christian and Moritz and Daniel when they were all living in/near Berlin.
I wouldn't know Meikel in the street - even with a fiddle - but I'd recognise him after the first bar of 'The Steampacket'.

I'm absolutely awful at remembering names! There's this irish banjo player... he was a tutor in Ennis at Meitheal -  he has a tune attached to his memory  - 'Under the Willow she is sleeping' - Kiaran Hanrahan! That's his name!

Tunes store memories. Names and faces and places and lots of little detail. Sometimes tunes can't be called up to be played without remembering any of that detail first. Sometimes tunes come out of nowhere.
Sometimes I think we play this music with other people so we can store tunes in each other's heads. And hearts. Not in Conny's head, though. Sorry to say, Conny but if I need a tune to really cheer me up I remember the night you came up with tune after tune after tune... the bright smile and "Oh! I have another one!" And they were all 'Cuz Teahan's Barndance'!

It's lovely to meet people again and remember the tunes they play. It's great to meet people for the first time and find out what tunes we have in common. Sometimes that works amazingly well and things really click. Like with that wonderful flute player in St. Andrews. But meeting again can be amazing. Even after years and years vague memories turn into tunes.

But maybe that's just me. Maybe others are better organised. I'm a little... messy ... with my tunes. A bit like in real life  - if I just dump things somewhere I have a good chance of knowing where they are. If I tidy them up and put them somewhere that seems a good place for them - a logical place - I'll never, ever find them again.
Same with tunes. Dump them somewhere. On random "hooks" in my brain. Don't bother with tidiness. Smells, sights, moments, ... sometimes I know the hooks and can use them to retrieve the tunes. The memory of Kenny reciting what became my favourite poem by the sea retrieves 'The Grey Dawn Breaking' - but I don't ever forget that one anymore - so much more has been attached to it...
'My love is in America' I can retrieve (well, bits and pieces) by thinking of my old dog's cuddly toy pigglet lying under the bed.
Late nights with Sirko at the Schmiede used to retrieve tunes that haven't been played for ages. I miss those sessions. We probably played the same tunes each time and just forgot in between sessions that we did. It was only a monthly session after all...

I wonder how the better organised people do it. Do they have all of their tunes neatly stored and labelled?

I know there are people worse than me. There was this flute player in California who didn't have any storage system at all. He said he can't call up a tune consciously. He joined in with any tune thrown at him but to start one on his own he just wriggled his fingers on the flute - hoping to hit a pattern the fingers recognise. Father...someone. In Catoty or Cotaty or somewhere Kenny took me. EVERYBODY at that session told me (whispered in my ear) that he is a priest but doesn't like people to know that he is a priest. So all I remember is that he is a priest - and has to wriggle his fingers randomly to come up with a tune.

Sometimes being so disorganised about tunes tricks me into playing them without "learning" them first. Until I realise what I'm doing and they are gone the second time through. Happened a year ago tomorrow (which was a tuesday - like yesterday - so thinking about it today seems about right). The man off the boat who claimed that all accidents can be avoided got part of my tune-ish memories this way. The tunes of the night got drowned in memories.

Maybe it's my chaotic memory system that makes me need music as much as I do. There are single tunes with millions of litte moments stored with them. Starry Night in Shetland brings up Fransje's and Peter's living room in Northumbria. When we tried to play a two voice version from sheet music. Peter remarked that it didn't sound too bad and that probably nobody in Shetland had ever heard of this waltz. Weeks later that nice german piano player at the Asta Golf Club got stuck on to the tune (well, my memory of her)  - as did the english musician who roughly knew where Dresden is because it is "near Zschopau" - where his MZ motorbike was made. And a special moment in which I finally saw ONE star in what passes for night in a Shetland summer.... a lot of memories for a tune I hardly ever play.

There are lots of tunes I don't know well enough to play on my own but if someone plays me through (or remembers how the B-part starts) I can let myself "fall into it" - the tune is there and I can enjoy the little columns of air dancing under my fingers. Once Sirko and I had a magic 'Maids of Mt. Cisco' moment when we both felt the tune "was there" and we just followed it along. Both of us glowing with the joy of it. And a couple of weeks back I thought about not going out for a tune for fear of missing too many notes to enjoy the night. But I started thinking about all the people I played music with and how many of them would be playing tunes that night. And it felt like someone, somewhere was playing my missing notes and it didn't matter if I played them. (Judging by the speed some bits were played by someone in Wroclaw!) One of those magic nights. To smile and enjoy.

We said goodbye to Alan that night who was going back to Ireland after a million years in Dresden. One of his friends was forced to sing his one irish song. I heard him sing it once before - at the final farewell for another musician. The song is pure kitsch but whenever the singer hits the high note and my ears start to throb I can't help but smile and think of all of you who shared tunes with me. Some of you became friends.

Some of you I hope to play tunes with again - lots and lots of times. Some of you I won't ever meet again. Some of you I play tunes with in my dreams.

So here's a kitschy song for all of you (I chose the kitschiest picture I could find on my phone to match it 😉)