Thursday, October 9, 2008

Belated Report from Brigadoon

In August, I told you about my upcoming visit to "Folk Brigadoon," The Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival. Well, you are long overdue for a report of my time in Nova Scotia.

First of all, I love Nova Scotia. There's something about it that makes me feel good. The people, the beautiful land and seascape, the arts and culture, the pace of life. As soon as I get there, I find myself relaxing, and inevitably I start to notice things around me that in Toronto I whip by without thinking -- a beautiful building, or the angle of the light, or the smell in the air. (Disclaimer: I have never visited Nova Scotia in the winter, so my idea of the place is totally skewed by romantic summer weather.)

So, my belated Folk Brigadoon report: I had a fantastic time. This is the third time I have performed at Lunenburg, but it didn't make it any less special. The big white tent was magical, as always, and the array of performers was stellar. I taught a workshop on "The Joy of Singing" as well as a guitar workshop, and I participated in a lively discussion about the state of folk music with songwriter Murray McLaughlin and bass player Dennis Pendrith.

Dennis performed with me at my mainstage concert on Saturday night. Here we are, in the big white tent:



And here are my good friends Mike Stevens and Raymond McLain, who joined me to play on my song "Something About a Sunday:"


I also made some new friends: Qiu Xia He and Andre Thibault from the group Silk Road Music, who were being billeted with the same family as I was. Qiu Xia plays the pipa, a chinese lute. She and Andre peform traditional Chinese folk music, but they also blend Chinese music with music from around the world - Silk Road has taken the pipa into uncharted waters and created an amazing musical hybrid. I asked Qiu Xia to join me on stage to play my tune "Watermelon Sorbet" on the pipa. It was one of the highlights of the festival for me, and certainly no one has ever heard "Watermelon Sorbet" played quite like that! Here she is on stage with me:


And speaking of being billeted, one of the charms about Lunenburg is being billeted at the home of a family, and this year, I had the pleasure of meeting the Bentons, a lovely couple who divide their time between Nova Scotia and Arizona. They pampered us royally and made us feel completely welcome in their home. I hope our paths cross again.

I was very happy to cross paths and hang out with fellow musicians Cara Luft, Jeff Davis, House of Doc, The Hupman Brothers, and many more.

Since I was going to be in Nova Scotia, I managed to squeeze in a quick visit to my friends Don and Anna in the Annapolis Valley and of course a meal at the Union Street Cafe in Berwick.

In all, it was far too short, but so sweet while it lasted. Brigadoon indeed.

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