Sunday, December 25, 2005

Van life & Tibeto-Persian reggae

Hi folks,
Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice & New Year, and general good festive-season vibes to everybody!
I'll be heading off to do a 10-day Vipassana meditation course tomorrow, so for the next 10 days I won't be able to respond to email or phone-calls.


Since my last report a couple of months ago, my life has changed radically, but as regular change is an integral part of my life it's all good. Just days after that last report, Orie & I finally broke up. In writing these reports I'm now trying to keep more moderation in revealing my personal life, but in sharing experiences of interest to all I find that my love-life always has a big influence on where I'm at... Anyway, in a nutshell, the break-up was a result of my own actions but I wished for more understanding. (Note to mutual friends of Orie & myself - if she starts badmouthing me, please ask for my side of the story.)
So, for the last couple of months, I've been living in Hilary, my great old 1976 multicoloured Ford Transit (or maybe a Bedford). What a wonderful van - thirsty for petrol, but always getting lots of smiles from passers-by. Gotta post a photo soon. It's actually been really nice for me to go from place to place, staying with different friends or occasionally in the car-park at work, living a nomad's life. I've been able to see a lot more of my friends than when I was staying out in Ferny Grove, the outer suburbs of Brisbane. I've fixed Hilary up, at some expense, so when I get back to Brissie in April I'll still have a home and vehicle. Special thanks to Tenzin, Bronwyn & Tashi, Kevin, Kylie & Kenzie, and River, Masayo & Naima - three couples with young kids who've welcomed me into their families with open arms.
On matters musical, I haven't been so busy the last few months. Lots of work at Padma Imports, moving big boxes of incense and dependably saving cash for the next trip to India. The main musical project has been getting a group together with Tibetan singer Tenzin Choegyal, Persian singer & multi-instrumentalist Cieavash Arean, and singer-guitarist Marcello Milani. It's been a real good-vibe song-band - a bit of a change from the long instrumental improvisations I usually get into. We performed at Joyfest, an alcohol-free festival on the Gold Coast in November and then again a week later at Pulse, a monthly world music/percussion event in Brisbane.
My last gig was held last week - the EthnoSuperLounge Christmas Party. I got 9 musicians together in a yoga centre for a no-mics session, home-concert style. First up was Matthew Noone on sarod, then Mbira Myoyo, a trio playing the Zimbabwean thumb-piano, mbira. Next up was our little Tibeto-Persian reggae band, and finally Lansana Camara from Guinea playing kora and balafon, with a lovely jam session. Of course I was playing tabla all along - about 3 1/2 hours in all. There were lots of smiles and good vibes all round. The big musical up-side of being in Australia is to be able to play with all these musicians from different cultural backgrounds in such a cafefree atmosphere.
On the Indian classical front, I've been having weekly sessions with Matthew Noone, an upcoming sarod player, in a local cafe. But apart from that, I'm sorry to say that opportunities in Brisbane have been scarce. It is quite hard for me here in this respect. I really miss the energy that Indian music devotees in Japan give to their music. I'm really looking forward to getting more inspiration in India next month and also to visiting Japan again later next year.
Tomorrow I'm heading to Pomona, on the Sunshine Coast, to take part in a 10-day Vipassana meditation course. Ten days of no speaking, no eye-contact, no activity at all really except for learning this deep meditation technique and hopefully eliminating some suffering. It's the first time I've done anything like it, although I suppose 9 nights of Durga Puja non-stop tabla practice is in some way similar. The timing is great, being in between work and heading to India. Another new phase begins...
I fly to Bangkok on Jan 16 and then Kolkata on Jan 18, where I'll attend the annual Dover Lane music festival - 3 nights of Indian classical superstars including Ali Akbar Khan-saheb, one of the greatest ever. Then it's on to Varanasi for more lessons and practice; other highlights will be Saraswati Puja (ceremony for the goddess of music) on Feb 2, and the second annual Ashu-Babu (Guru-ji) Memorial concert on March 17. This time I've invited excellent Japanese sitar player Yasuhiro Minamizawa. If you have any plans to visit India next year, please consider being in Varanasi around March 17.
I'll be back in Brisbane from mid-April to accompany Indian vocalist Raka Mukherjee in her concerts in the region. Japan from July-October, Brisbane after that, and then the cycle begins again with another now-annual trip to India.
Love to all,
Aum Mani Padme Hum



English report is here

  10月に書いたリポートの後で、私の生活が大変変 わりました。でも、自分の生活がいつも変わっているから、大丈夫です。そのリポートを書いて、すぐ後で、遂に織絵ちゃんと別れました。こういうリポートに 私事を書くのがちょっと悪いですけど、ガールフレンドの事は自分の生活に幅か利きます。。。まあ、別れるのが私の所為だってのに、もっと了承が欲しかっ た。 (織絵の友達にお願い。。。もしかしたら、シェンの悪い事が聞ければ、私にも聞いてくださいませんか?)
  このバンの生活がとても楽しいです。いろいろの友 達がよく会えて、ノーマッドの生活が面白い。来年またブリズベンに帰って、Hilaryちゃんに住むつもりです。特別な友達にありがとうございます: テ ンジンさん、Bronwynさんとタシくん、 Kevinさん、KylieさんとKenzieくん、 Riverさん、まさよさんとナイマちゃん。本当 に、この3つの小さい子供がいる家族に優遇もりました。
 音楽の事について、あまり忙しくなかったです。殆どPadma Importsの仕事していました。お香の大きい箱とかを運んで、インドのためのお金を溜まっていました。メーンプロジェクトは新しいユニットを作る:チベットのTenzin Choegyalさん、ペルジアのCieavash Areanさん、ギターのMarcello Milaniさんと一緒に、本当にいい感じがあるユニットです。
  12月17日にこの間の最後のライブは EthnoSuperLounge Christmas Partyでした。9人のミュージシャンを呼んで、ヨウガーセンターで、マイクはなしコンサートをやりました。メンバーはサロッドのMatthew Nooneさん、ジンバブウェーのムビーラのMbira Myoyoというトリオ、Tenzinさん、Cieavashさん、Marcelloさん。最後にアフリカーのギンニーのLansana Camaraはコーラとバラフォンを引きました。もちろん、私は皆と一緒にアカンパニーやりました。そで、3時間半ぐらいでした。皆さんが一緒に合わせ て、すごくいい感じでした。笑いがよく見えました!!!オーストラリアのいい事は、簡単に伸び伸びに、そんないろいろの民俗音楽のミュージシャンと一緒に 合わせれます。
  インド古典音楽について、サロッドの Matthewさんと毎週カフェでセッションやっていました。でも、ざんねんながら、ブリズベンでチャンスはあまりありません。これについて、私はここで 不満足します。日本のインド古典音楽のミュージシャンの方が、すごいエネルギーがいい。これに対して、私は日本にいなくて寂しいです。来月インドへ行くの が楽しみにしています。もっとインスピレーションが欲しい!!!それに、来年の7月からまた日本に行くのがすごい楽しみ!
 明日、Sunshine CoastのPomonaに、10日間のVipassana Meditation のコースを受けに行きます。こういう活動が始めてするけど、前やったDurga Pujaの9日間のタブラの練習が似ているかな?
  1月16日にバンコックに行って、18日にコルカッタに行きます。Dover Laneのインド古典音楽の祭りに臨めます。そこで、Ali Akbar Khanさんが聴けます!!!すごい有名なミュージシャンです。二十世紀の一番上手なミュージシャンでしたかな???
  その後で、ヴァーラナシに行って、もっと練習するつもりです。ハイライトは2月2日にサラスワチプージャと、3月17日にAshu-Babu Memorial Concertです。2006年のコンサートに日本のシタールの南沢やすひろさんに呼びます。インドに来れば、3月17日にヴァーラナシに来てくださいま せんか?
 4月からブリズベンに帰って、インドのシンガーのRaka Mukherjeeさんと一緒に演奏やります。7月から10月まで日本にいるつもりです。

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Welcome to ShenLand

Namaste, G'day, 今日は!!!

Welcome to my new personal blog.

Brief update on where I'm at now:
I've been living with my partner Orie in Ferny Hills, in the outer north-west suburbs of Brisbane for the last few months and will be staying here until January. We're staying with my old tabla student, Dan Prasad, who also works with me at Padma Imports, an Indian import warehouse in West End (inner city), moving boxes and putting together consignments of incense, Indian handicrafts, etc with a view to saving for India in January.

Soon after our arrival in late July we picked up Hilary, a 1976 Bedford van which was once an Australia Post delivery van but is now painted in flowers and many colours, with some rust here and there. The engine still goes just fine, although it is quite thirsty and I'm spending about $60 a week on petrol. It gets a lot of attention and kids especially love it.

More tabla students have been coming my way. On Monday evenings I drive out to Springfield and Middle Park in the western suburbs to teach 7 kids and 2 adults in a few group and private classes. It's lots of fun and very satisfying to see everyone's improvement. I now feel some responsibility to spend more time in Brisbane to continue helping their tabla.

On Sunday mornings Orie & I have been getting up at 4am to go down to the local markets and set up a Thai massage stall. I sit in front of the stall and play tabla for a few coins. Orie gets quite a few customers for 15 minute massages and a few more who come during the week for 2 hour treatments.

Not too many gigs but they're happening occasionally. Please see my Brisbane events page for news of my gigs and others around here. I also have a Japan events page with my friends' events there (and my own when I get there next).

Love to all
Aum Mani Padme Hum