Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ann Arbor Kirtan and Upland Hills with Judy Piazza

Hello,

The past weekend was filled with chanting and tabla. On Friday I played with the Ann Arbor Kirtan Group at the Friends Center in Ann Arbor. It was the maiden voyage for a new sound system that the members of the group all chipped in for, (no more begging and borrowing!) The new board gave us the capability to have a mic for all the instruments and vocals, and also allowed us to have a seperate mix for recording. More inportantly, when you consider that all those instruments and vocals go into the sound system and then come out as just 2 channels (right and left), the system itself becomes just as important as everything else. Anyway, it was a fun show and the responding crowd seems to be growing more familiar with the chants, which just puts more energy into the air. I like the direction this group is going.

The following evening I found myself taking a quiet walk down a path in the woods to the Upland Hills Ecology Center. I was on my way to an "Evening of Devotional Song" with Judy Piazza. The center is set in the woods near Lake Orion, MI and is designed to use the elements of the earth to run itself. When I opened the front door, Judy was on her way out for a walk. She had been teaching a drum workshop earlier and wanted some time to relax before we played. It was great. I set up my tabla and played in a nice big, quiet environment with no one around. It is sort of a "praticing dream" to have that kind of solitude. When Judy got back, others started to arrive and we slowly got ready to play. Judy and I have played in the Kirtan group together for about a year, but this gig was the first one we have done on our own as a duet. It was so nice. No sound system, quiet place, small, intimate gathering of Judy's friends and fans, and just one other musician to link up with. I had a great time just listening and playing. It was a very calming, relaxing environment.

Thanks for reading,

John

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