Just over a week ago Ned and I departed Boise for a two-month UK tour. With work permits in hand, we arrived London Heathrow on June 11, made a quick pass through immigration and on to Sandra's flat in Islington in East Central London. The next two days were spent adjusting to the time change and doing some shopping for a cajon and washboard.
|Our Welcoming Committee at London Heathrow|
Cajon? Washboard? Here's the deal: Ned's latest album, Treehouse, is a fine work of Americana/Roots music and during this tour we'll be playing small venues and the occasional festival. So Ned suggested a cajon may be just the trick for the trip. A cajon is a Peruvian percussion instrument that looks like a wooden box. This is not a coincidence. It IS a wooden box! However, it's a highly resonant one which, with wires inside, becomes a drum-set in a box! Depending on venue, Ned and I will be playing as a duo or as a trio with the help of bassist Malcolm Bruce. As for the washboard, it's a percussive addition needed for one song.
Part of settling in is getting to know the surrounding area. Islington is just a mile or two from the heart of London. It's a busy place, but very comfortable with many shops, restaurants, quick access to buses and the tube and people from all over; many languages are heard on the street and in the cafes. Islington reminds me a lot of Montreal.
OK, so with shopping and settling in accomplished, it was time to perform. Our first two nights were in Portsmouth,a two-hour train ride to the south/southwest. Thursday night's performance was at the RMA Tavern. The RMA is a typical pub in many respects. It's small, frequented by neighborhood residents and families-young and old alike-and features live music on a regular basis. You can view a webcast of the performance HERE. Home for the gig, I made a Skype call to Natalie to celebrate our 26-year anniversary!
After breakfast Friday morning at our B&B, I went on a walkabout to the Old Port to view the HMS Victory, visit the naval museum and take a harbor cruise. Friday night we played another neighborhood pub, The Old House at Home. Lucky for us, and unlike the two opening acts, we didn't have to compete for attention with the England football game at the European Cup taking place on T.V. (England won, by the way).
|Inside the The Old House at Home Pub|
The train delivered us back to London Saturday afternoon. After a jog and a nap, Sandra treated us to a night on the town by taking us to London's West End to see the musical Sweeney Todd. It was absolutely great! And what better way to top off such an evening? Why with a couple of pints at a nearby pub, of course!
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday fall into a fun pattern for me: Get up and jog and then take the tube to visit one of the many museums. The cool thing is that admission to most museums is free. This means there's no rush to see everything in a single session. See what you want and come back again another day. There are hoards of school kids running about, but hey!, it's free!
Monday night we had a special treat by rehearsing with Malcolm in preparation for the trio performances. It's going to sound AWESOME!
Stay tuned for the next installment as we go through final training for epic Olympic performances!
|What we'll be winning in August - Currently on display at the British Museum|
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