Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday and the Sun Did Shine

So, yesterday was a fairly long day, activity-wise. While my wife went grocery shopping, there was another episode of Steve and the Machete versus the Blackberry Canes and the English Ivy. A draw at best. The only way to get rid of Himalayan Blackberry plants is to nuke 'em from space. Cutting, digging up the roots, salting the earth and cursing the ground barely slow them down.

Then my daughter came by with her two boys for a visit. Brought her little dog to play with our critters. After a few minutes dashing about the back yard, the dogs wanted to come in and chase the little boys, so they took turns standing and the back door and barking pitifully.

Oh, please, sir, may I not come inside? It's so cold and lonely out here ...

After the family left, we cleaned up and went to the annual handmade musical instrument show at Marylhurst College, always a delight. There was display of ancient stringed instruments, and I looked at a thing that seemed to be a cross between a lyre and the Arc de Triumph that had a plectrum the size of a cake icing spreader. How, I asked, did you come up with the plans to build this?

The woman, Gayle Neuman, said, We saw a painting in which it was represented.

She had another small gourd-like gut-stringed instrument about as long as a uke and a third as wide. That one, they saw in the hands of a statue that was several hundred years old.

I find that fairly amazing. The skill to make a guitar or violin is beyond me, but to do it with nothing more than a painting or a sculpture as a reference?

We got there late, but we went to the little theater across the way and listened to a few of the mini-concerts. These are usually one or maybe two players showcasing builders' instruments. The guitar maker will come out, say a few words about the instrument featured, and the player will do a fifteen minute set.

We saw: Mark Hansen on steel string guitar by Dan Biasco; Rene Bereblinger on classical guitar by Jeff Elliott; David Franzen on classical guitar by George Smith; Peter Zisa and John Dodge on steel and classical guitars by John Mello.

Some jazz, blues, pop, classical, flamenco. Standards to new compositions. Really interesting to see somebody play his own flamenco-style piece using a steel string guitar and a pick, and make it work.

All the players we saw were excellent, The odd clam now and then, but it is so much fun to see somebody who is really into the music have a good time on stage. The tone of some of these guitars was amazing -- the sustain, the timber, the volume. No amplification, and easily filling the little theater. Probably two hundred people quietly listening, and SRO. There's a saying I heard recently, can't recall where, about playing the guitar: Your left hand shows what you know; your right hand shows who you are.

Then we came home, fell into a stupor, and watched a basketball playoff game. A good day.


Dan Gambiera said...

Goats do a good job on blackberry vines. Rent a couple of goats.

Steve Perry said...

Yeah, my dogs would love that. And there's the goat-crap trade-off ...