Saturday, 15 June 2013

house concert

So I went to a friend's house concert where several seasoned and amazing musicians played a few songs each.  There was some really incredible talent in that room.  Effortless, beautiful talent.  Especially Jory Nash who totally amazed me on a bunch of different levels. Amazing.  And Jess McAvoy blew everyone's heads off. She was so powerful, so brilliant.

At the end, the hostess opened the floor and, much to my own surprise, I played a song. I messed up and I was a nervous wreck but I did it. I was shaking and playing too fast and too sloppy (it didn't help that I was playing on a horrible sounding uke) and at one point I even stopped and asked the crowd to stop clapping along!  ha!  But I DID IT!  I did it.

Now I am trying to beat down the demons in my head telling me how horrible I was and that anyone who said I did well was just being nice to the pathetic girl who followed all that great stuff.  Trying.  Trying.  It's not easy.

I don't think I'll sleep tonight.

This is what I played for the people (only not as well):

I've been a very bad blogger.  And with so much going on!

First, I was invited to play castanets at the Captain Dirt & The Skirt CD release party at Lula Lounge a couple of weeks ago (on their tune "Spiders in the Storm", to which I danced at their Halloween soiree last year).  It was great fun and a joy to share the stage with Kristin and Lyndell (and Gary Craig and Sahra Featherstone - WOO!) once again, even if only in a small way.  Every chance to get on stage is good practice, me thinks.  I was even again to look at the people in the audience and smile and make eye contact.  That was a big step for me!  Unfortunately, there isn't any photographic evidence of the performance except this one (that's me behind the talented Kristin Sweetland).

A couple of months ago a women emailed me after finding my kijiji ad offering guitar and uke lessons.  She wasn't looking for lessons but was hoping I'd play uke at her Hawaiian themed block party.  I enthusiastically said yes!  It seemed perfect: I'd be playing in front of people but not with the pressure of being on stage or really "performing".  Just casually walking around, strumming and "creating atmosphere" (in the words of the party giver).  And they were going to pay me.  Yay!

Two weeks before the gig I began to panic.  Loss of sleep, sick stomach.  Panic.  When the weather reports called for nothing but rain I prayed the party would be cancelled but, alas, it was not.

The day of the gig I was calmer than I expected.  I meditated, I exercised, I taught my students, I took a few doses of Rescue Remedy and aside from some slight butterflies, I was really ok.

I got to the gig and the people were...special.  Let's just say it was very very clearly noted that I was the hired help and must not cross the line in the sand.  Whatever.  Anyway, I was decked out in Hawaiian attire, had my trusty Kala in my arms and I was ready to go.

With 150 people, a downpour upon canvas tents and simply being outside I could barely even hear myself.  But I wandered and smiled and played and played and played.  My hands didn't freeze, I didn't forget my songs, I didn't panic when people looked at me.  I was totally fine.  One wonderful gent named Greg even made a few requests, all of which I knew, and we played and sang together in harmony.  Greg (and his wife Heather) was the highlight of my evening.  Just lovely, welcoming and kind.  He really stood out in that crowd, know what I mean?

I played my two hours, was given some lovely compliments, was paid (extra, even!) and I was gone.  I was so happy and relieved that not only was it finally over but I DID IT!

Part of me feels like it wasn't any big accomplishment because I was just background noise.  No one was really looking at me.  But why should I take this away from myself?  I never would have done this a year ago.  This was a big step for me.  So...YAY ME!  Yeah!

Sean was away so there were no pictures of my awesome Hawaiian outfit but here I am with a flower in my hair and the other is of my uke laying on my saronged lap.

The last really awesome super cool thing is a guitar player I admire more than words can ever express has offered to play with me (live and on my demos).  The man is amazing.  If my fairy godmother came down and said she could make me play like anyone, I would likely choose him.  He is simply amazing.  My plan was to get my chops, work on my stuff for a couple of years, really hone and fine tune it and then ask him if he'd consider playing with me.  But the other night at his gig he just offered.  I wanted to squeeze his guts out.  Instead I just thanked him and tried not to cry.

I'm trying not to psyche myself out of this.  "Am I good enough?"  "What if he thinks I suck?"  "I hope he likes my songs."  "I'm not nearly as good as the other people he plays with." "Who do I think I am playing with HIM?!?!"  All that is swirling around in my head and I'm trying to push it away.  I'm sure I'll feel better after we play together a bit.  He's super busy, gigs most every night, so we have no solid plans yet.  But he promises it will happen.  And I trust him.

And the last cool thing, if you've made it this far, was yesterday when a very new acquaintance asked me to sing something for her and I did.  Usually I'd wave it away and say, "No, another time" but yesterday I closed my eyes and sang a verse of Patti Smith's "Ghost Dance".  When I opened my eyes and she was crying. "The world needs to hear your voice, Maria. And I hope they do.  And if not the world, then I hope you can hear yourself as you really are: amazing."

I put her words here not to brag but as a reminder.  There are those days where the darkness overwhelms me and I hate my voice and what my hands can and cannot do and I take my gifts for granted and I think I should just stop, just throw it all away and forget it.  So these reminders that someone thinks I'm "amazing" and that it's not really about others hearing it but about *me* hearing myself that matters.

If you made it this far, thank you.  A new video is in the works.