Monday, June 12, 2006

another birthday

It was my birthday yesterday. There was a vague idea for a COTD acoustic session on the Cathedral Green earlier in the week, but the weather forecast wasn't looking favourable so I called it off. The weather turned out to be lovely, so Vicky, Tom, Claudia and I ended up on Dartmoor instead, visiting some previously unfamiliar megalithic sites and being serenaded by choirs of skylarks.

me with balalaika, the Orange Roomme with balalaika, Dartmoor
me (1) tuning my balalaika in the Orange Room in the morning and
(2) playing it by the river, just down from Scorhill stone circle, Dartmoor in the afternoon

My balalaika got played a bit out on the moor, and in the evening Keith came round for a lovely saz-and-mandola session. We played about an hour of music, but the battery died in mid-recording and the MiniDisc got corrupted - only about ten minutes is accessible (and that ends with me going off to take a phonecall from Stef, leaving Keith to end the piece alone). [Note added 8th July: I decided to send the disc off to a contact in Sweden and he was able to successfully recover another half hour.]

Listen Here

When my birthday had technically begun, the previous midnight, I'd found myself at a student party next door to Henry's. His neighbours, having heard Pulse and the Droners playing through the walls, asked if we could do something for their post-exam party. Richard wasn't available, so a Pulse session wasn't possible per se - instead Henry invited Mick (bass/guitar), John (bass/guitar/vocals/percussion) and me (saz/percussion/percussive radio device) to play a very spontaneous Pulse-style set (Mick and John hadn't even met before). We played a thoroughly enjoyable and, I think, really quite good 90 minute set - non-stop semi-improvised dance music. Not a huge amount of dancing (students won't generally dance unless they've drunk quite a bit, in my experience, and we started a bit early for that), but we got a pleasantly enthusiastic reception. It was a fancy dress party, and there was a group of women done up (quite impressively) in Greek Goddess gear who we had dancing for a while - very entertaining. One of them even stepped up to the microphone while we doing our dubbed-out take on "Standing on the Moon", and sung the song beautifully. This was too good to let go of, so we kept it going for almost twenty minutes, with her improvising around the lyrics. A very pleasant surprise. She wants to do a bit more singing (maybe with COTD) before she leaves Exeter in a few weeks.


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