JamApril 22, 2012
I've been playing music lately, drawn to the accordion more and more. It's been about a year that I've been fooling around with it now, and while I'm still not reliable with both hands at once, I can noodle around more or less non-embarrassingly with either hand. I have ONE song I can do with both hands (Eilen Jewell's "Walking Down the Line"). I believe that's what you call a start. And, hey, if I'm playing only the bass buttons, I can sing along. Kind of.
We got together with a group of women a couple of weeks ago and spent the entire afternoon playing bluegrass. Accomplished musicians and singers, I played as quietly as I could most of the time, as I was by far the least talented, instrument-wise. I managed to tape one short version of "I'll Fly Away." (I'm the low alto.)
And the other night, I got together with the knitters to play some tunes. ALL THE WORLDS COLLIDE. At A Verb For Keeping Warm, we had an upright bass (Lala), drums and trumpet (Adrienne, of Verb), and two accordions in addition to mine (Stephen hizKnits and Sonya of the Felt Cervix Project). Lala also had her banjo with her, but we decided that a jam consisting of a banjo, three accordions and a trumpet was just asking for trouble.
Stephen and Lala bonded over their t-shirts:
Stephen's has Obama riding a unicorn, and Lala's has Batman riding a unicorn, saying "Giddyup." There was also an almost unbelievable moment when the two of them rapped "Bring the Noise" by Public Enemy back and forth to each other while the rest of us watched, dumbfounded.
Then we jammed, man. Imagine three (THREE) accordions in one spot. Three is just about two and half too many for most gatherings. At times, it sounded experimental punk music being played by junkies wearing earplugs. At other times, though? It sounded awesome.
Adrienne, with her "drums" at her feet, Sonya's accordion in the foreground. Yes, A's wearing shades at night. That's how trumpet players do.
It all reminded me of what I love best about playing music--it absolutely forces you into a space in which you are bound to screw up, usually in front of other people. That's really hard for me, and it's scary. But there's a contrary part of myself that absolutely loves doing things that scare me. The high afterward is just so damn high, you know?
My favorite photo of the night:
Here, Stephen was about to look up and see the host of accordion angels that Sonya and I so clearly saw (they had wings made of wool and their harps were strung with qiviut).