Monday, June 05, 2006

Summer is Here!

Hello Friends,

Summer is here and things are heating up. As the public schoolyear comes to and end, so do my presentations for the Center for South Asian Studies. I did a presentation for a Asian Civ. class at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor a couple of weeks ago. It was set up by my good friend and freelance reporter Deborah Pohrt. Thanks Deb! Later that day Meeta Banerjee and I played for a world cultural night at Lincoln Elementary School near Ypsilanti MI. It was a bit chaotic. We were sitting in between the China and Japan rooms and people were passing by all night. It was fun though. When the crowd is ever-changing like that, then the music can repeat, which is what we did. We played our favorite pieces over and over. It was a great, rare practice/performance. I brought along Hartley Combs, one of my drumset and tabla students. He got into all the food, and even sat in with Meeta at the end and played a blazingly fast Keherewa folk medly. It was fun. He is going to try to get Meeta and I into his class at Slausson Middle School before the year is out.
In just a few minutes I will be going to teach my last music class for the schoolyear at Go Like The Wind Montessori in Ann Arbor. I will be at the school full time next year, so this feels more like a beggining than an end, but it will be nice to have the summer off. We had our big spring concert on Thursday the 1st of June. It was coupled by the release of the Go Like The Wind C.D., which turned out great! 6 tracks, all original, and all original C.D. cover artwork by the students. It was a fun project. We performed a couple of the tracks at the concert and the audience loved it. Although, it is really not that hard to win over an audience made up of parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters!
The next day I played with Paledave at the Taste of Toledo festival, which was right downtown. It was an easy gig for me, they had a drumset already set up, so all I had to bring was my sticks. It wasn't the prettiest drumset, but it sounded great.



I believe Dave has been working on the recording project some more, and you may be able to check it out soon at paledave.com.


We finished playing, had some good Toledo food and then it was back home to record a demo with Deep Blue before our gig at Cafe Felix. It was great to use my new home studio. Both Paul and Scott were really happy with the new space, and we are planning more recording in the future. Here are some pics from that.




The gig at Felix felt a little long. It was really slow, and I think it was partly due to the Pistons game. They lost the playoff series that night to the Miami Heat. I guess we won't have to worry about that conflict for a while. My condolences to any Pistons fans. It wasn't all bad though, by the last set, we were really feeling the groove and playing some fun stuff.
The next day Scott and Paul came down to record some more. It went well, and afterwords we went with Deb Pohrt to the Firefly to check out the Joe Summers Trio. It is a rare occurance to have a whole band with a Saturday night free to check out another band. We stayed the whole night, had some good food, and the music was great.
The Summer is going to be filled with lots of playing. I just booked about 7 gigs and counting with the Gratitude Steel Band, including a gig next week at the first ever Michigan Steel Drum Festival at Hockeytown in Detroit. I will also start doing some gigs with the Ann Arbor Kirtan group, and I think I will be at a Chapman Stick festival in Ann Arbor playing tabla with Steve Osburn. I am excited to take it easy and just play. Thanks for reading, and come back soon.

John

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