Tallahassee-Minneapolis Part II

Day II: NOLA-Memphis

Beginning the day with some really confusing parking in the French Market area, but when I got my coffee from Caffe du Monde in my car I legitimately screamed. That is a very different taste from anything! Yes I do think that the coffee itself was fine, not like outstanding, but the flavor of chicory adds so much to it and it made the coffee so unique. However, cold beignets weren’t good. I assume that they would have tasted much better if I didn’t get them at 8am and waited till 1pm to have them.

There were quite some wetlands before I left NOLA and it was another really gorgeous view. Driving in the Florida Panhandle has been awful – it was just constantly forest. However, seeing water bodies and more diverse plantations make the drive much more lively. However, it did take me some time to realize that Spanish moss is no longer in sight and that is kind of strange.

As I mentioned in another blog post, I decided to go to Memphis because I became really interested in Elvis after the documentary. It also happened that there might be music that I have not heard before. Visiting Graceland was a big investment. It is potentially the most expensive museum I have ever visited. However, how often would I be in Memphis and visit the house of one of the most iconic musician of all time? I was glad that I did the tour because it was all worth it. 

Visiting Graceland mansion was a very unique experience. The audio guide was very well done, even though there are actually not a lot of things in the house to be seen, as they are all moved to the Elvis complex.

The mansion itself is not as flamboyant as Elvis’ costume, even though there were a lot of elements that were obviously very luxurious back in the days. The living areas were just as elegant as many tasteful houses, but it was the entertainment areas that were wild. The fabric walls of the billiard room was too gorgeous, and having a racketball court in the property? How many musicians can afford that?

Thinking about the last recording in the Jungle Room, and imagining what happened emotionally in that room, were quite overwhelming. How difficult it was for everyone to experience that singing and musicking process. I can see the shades of faith and gospel throughout the whole place, and ending the tour in the memorial garden, with all the stained glasses and religios statues…what a contrast between his extravagent life and where his heart eventually rested in.

The rest of the museum is kind of essential, but too boring. I wish all the gold and platinum records could be placed at where they used to be, instead of being taken out of the context, becoming just a big wall. I also couldn’t care less about the cars, though I know that was part of his life. 

Visitng Beale Street was as exciting and as wild as my night in NOLA. Street bands were everywhere making music. However, comparing with NOLA, people are playing more diverse stuff, and there were a few places that are much more famous than the others. There are definitely more blues stuff here, (duh) but the rhythm is not as straight as New Orleans jazz, and there are more 12-bar blues going on everywhere, with some kind of country going on at multiple places. If I were to look for the classic sounds in New Orleans, I chose to see what new things Memphis could offer. 

I went to an outdoor bar and listen to a trio that is doing some fusion stuff. It was not purely jazz, or blues, or funk, or whatever. It was another sound that I truly adored. They also had a singer who sang a few very basic tunes, which I preferred to have less of that. The instrumentalists were so outstanding and the keyboardist’s improv was tremendous. I wandered around Beale Street just to hear more things, but in general it was not as creative as what I heard in NOLA. There is a little more emphasis on tradition on this street. 

I met a Brit who was on a month-long tour around the south, and we basically had a similar agenda. He was so eager to learn about the glorious past of American music, and almost convinced me to go to Sun Records the day after. However, the fact that tourists coming to Memphis, not the other big cities, to learn about music that were born in America is something to think deeply about. Music is how America was known. It is where a lot of the trend-setting music happened and it still does. Where is American music going? How can we, the classical musicians, create such an impact as well?

Tallahassee-Minneapolis Part I

Finally I have settled down in Minneapolis and things have been great. But I cannot not write anything about my trip up north. This trip has been amazing and there are a lot of things I have learned through the process.

Moving from Tallahassee and all the smart goofy colleagues was quite difficult emotionally, I was having all the farewells of people that I valued. They helped me tremendously in passing through my depression stage, as well as helping me see that I have some precious values inside. I also did something right for my students. Being away from them is scary, since they are potentially my first group of friends in the States that are so supportive. However, despite the fear of leaving them, once I loaded up my car with all my belongings and left my temporary hut, I was really excited to go on this grand 5-day tour filled with amazing music and scenery.

I never really explored the real Southern culture in my two years in Tallahassee for multiple reasons. Half of them were money and time. I was also planning on working till 2-3 days before I had to move in order to see my friend’s wedding in the area, but with a confusing management and schedule, I decided to earn few less bucks and left early. That makes it possible to take time to explore a few of the great American music mecca, and time to return to Kansas and visit people that matter to me greatly.

Day I: New Orleans

The drive to NOLA was unbelievably gorgeous. I passed by a huge lot of national forest areas in FL and AL, then the archipelago area and the huge bridges. How much things have I missed in the last two years? 

Once I settled in the motel, it started raining heavily as I headed to the French Quarter. It was not a very nice feeling. But I’m back in an area where streetcar is a thing (from then till the end of my doctorate!), where music is not a responsibility for students only, where something really beautiful is easily accessible.

My first impression of the French Quarter was just strange. I totally did not realize how much Spanish influence there is in the southern part of the States. Looking at the really weird-looking houses, it reminded me a lot of the earlier European architecture that I saw a little back in the days. Not the romantic style, but something more down-to-earth while strange. A lot of the bars also embraced the history of the buildings and kind of created the atmosphere of the old days, with minimal electrical lighting, and very bare floors. I also did not expect that I would see so much architecture in European style. It definitely reminds me of the great old days when I was travelling all over the place in the Baltic States. But the sounds I heard in the early afternoon was already telling me that I was not in Europe. That raggy sound and super rhythmic sound is so unique in American music. Seeing a kid dancing so naturally on the street with his dad banging on a water bucket was surreal.  There were also a fair amount of street musicians already getting into business after the rain. Well, tourists are there, money is just flowing around. Just like those big-ass bottles of booze, even if they are awful someone is wanting to be wasted in one of the burlesque show right? 

My professor insisted that I need to try crawfish etouffe and gumbo. I just randomly went to The Gumbo Shop, and ordered Jambalaya, which my professor also mentioned. I never thought that Jamabalaya could look like this and tasted as flavorful. The waitress suggested me to add some garlic hot sauce to it. I hesitated but what the heck, my heat-loving friends would be proud of me if I tried. That turned out to be an amazing decision. Yes I tried hot sauce and it wasn’t the end of the world. In fact, it is heavenly.

Then I started my evening of exploring music. It was a Monday and many places either did not open or would not have live music till late night. But there were still places that had something, and I went to Mahogany Music Hall (plus Burlesque Hall) and saw a pianist-song writer singing to nobody. He sang some NOLA-style classics and something that’s newer but still quite close to the classic style. That was so soothing and gorgeous. I talked with him a little during his break and tried to get some hints about getting started with playing something somewhere. To be honest, I just need to constantly remind myself that nothing will happen if I didn’t say yes to things, and put myself at an uncomfortable position. Also, I thought I would not like sazerac, but it was quite tasty.

Stuart suggested me to check out The Spotted Cat to hear more classic NOLA-style jazz. I went there and stayed a little later than I should be. There was a quartet with a singer and they were singing a really good mix of classics and folk stuff. The atmosphere there was equally great. With a nice local wheat beer, that was so soothing, and marked such a great first day of my 2000-mile drive. I was also reminded a lot of the groovy moments that I expeienced in Silk Road GMW. Yes this type of music is something that does speak to me, just like many things else that I experienced in the past few years. In fact, I missed the feeling of grooving with music. I barely did that during my Master’s degree. I was depleted with good music for so long! What a good reminder that I needed to be fed with good stuff in order to create my own!

Once I left Spotted Cat, there was a 9-people band playing right outside with another style of NOLA music. It’s not exactly parade music even though it was definitely outside music. Wow, I never experienced anything like that. What a night. What a night.


對我來說,美國其中一個很奇怪的現象是Antique Malls。四處都有賣所謂古董的地方,而所謂古董,可以由鐵皮盒到明信片到上了年紀的樂器。美國人的屋都有很多很多很多的裝飾物,全都是上了年紀的。但,要說甚麼可以把這種復古現象表達極致的話,非Renaissance Faire/Festival莫屬。這個奇怪得很的活動,從頭都尾都很令人費解。來了這兒第三年了,我終於有個機會和藉口去見識一下。一個音樂學的博士生在做有關KC Renaissance Festival的研究,於是我跟她遊走了半天。去那天,已經到了活動的最後一星期。這個Festival,由八月開始一直到Columbus Day為止,它的規模也是全美首屈一指的。中西部人真的有這麼奇怪的嗜好麼?!



我們的第一站是看馬上比武。 當時已經開始了一點點,「騎士」們在比賽,表演給貴族看。其實娛樂性很高,也很有難度。但怎麼騎士們的說話好像有點怪,我記得我好像聽到了”What the hell you are…”, “Do … stuff”…我和友人翻了幾次白眼。

之後我們遊走了一下。村內有很多的小店,售賣紀念品、手工藝、奇形怪狀的東西的,也有提供服務的。但,我沒想過有商店可以專賣掃帚…也沒想過原來有一種東西叫中古按摩…有一些「海盜」在另一個舞台表演唱歌,他們唱的東西是PG rated。我和友人都在說,這很合理啊,當時的歌很多都是說「另一種死亡」和「天鵝」的。但當然,他們不是唱Madrigals,他們在唱一點像Country的東西,有結他伴奏的。 事實上這兒的音樂表演很大部分都不像十六世紀,只是人在自娛娛人而已。最像那時期的東西大約就只有他們的服裝了。


之後我們還去了兩次馬上比武的表演,原來是有個故事的。騎士們有些是有裝下馬,或是真的突然下馬,隨即開始地上的格鬥。有一兩次的下馬有點太造作,我看到一臉無奈。故事的發展之後是…其中一個騎士挑釁要決鬥,要決鬥至死。負責起鬨的群眾,也就是我們,竟要叫著”Cheat to win! Cheat to win!”或是”Blood! Blood!”…當然另一半群眾是叫嚷著正義的口號…但在我這一邊的小孩們都在大叫這些口號時,我暈了。

友人來了三個星期,她在我說要來那時已經開始說道那個奸角很型,對她來說很Age Appropriate。的確,他是頗有台型的。但我卻覺得那看起來傻傻的,說台詞說到不倫不類的騎士有點太怪,因而對他有興趣。後來找他談道,原來他只是開始了五個星期。但他卻對古音樂有一點理解。

昨天古音樂小組排練時,友人告訴我她找到了我喜歡那個騎士的真名和Facebook =_____=

說算在,來年還會不會再去,應該不會…Renaissance Festival實在是一個很怪的現象。也許,是太怪太怪的一個現象…



亞歷仕曾經說過我的美國經驗奇怪得很。我去過的地方都不是熱門地點或是”Real States”。威斯康辛、明尼蘇達、密蘇里、堪薩斯…都不是人們心中的美國。就算我現在去過了紐約州,我大多時間逗留的地方都不是紐約市而是紐約上州。現在我去過的州份又加上了另一個沒人理會的地方-內布拉斯加,這個連我自己都是到了堪薩斯才第一次聽的地方。


對林肯市的第一個印象是…亂。市中心地帶全都是單程行車,更多還要是五線單程行車,聽著導航的指引,我走了無數次的錯路,也無數次差點行錯方向。勉強地找到了泊車位,但走在街上仍然迷路。從O Street走到Q Street,竟用了十五分鐘……本來想找個地方吃點點快餐也沒有時間,但卻又連汽油站的便利店都關門了。最後很幸運的,在開場前十分鐘找到了一家咖啡店,買了一個巨型Scone,就要跑到劇院裡去。然而在亂走的時候看著這個downtown,很美。突然覺得那有點像尖沙咀的諾士佛台和尖東美食地帶。

然而老師寫的American Smoothie,音樂部份固然很有他的影子,Tuneful but with a twist as usual。劇本的笑位拿捏得很好;第二幕的劇情有點點粗糙,但回家細想以後還是合理的。當中說IT人的東西把我笑翻了。來了美國這麼久還是第一次看劇場製作,大約是因為這兒的劇作都不太多也不吸引。但這個原創劇把我帶回了劇場,也渡過了一個愉快的晚上。然而見到老師還是很快樂的事,和他談話永遠是充滿笑聲的。

十時多完場以後到了附近的Arena舉行的Ribfest。聽說這是當地一個大型節目,有十家來自各地的得獎燒烤商家聚集,也有音樂表演等等。從橋上看到場地還是覺得有點誇張-燒烤店們的店面都是被極大的橫額掩蓋,上面全都是寫著招牌菜和無數的得獎紀錄。有些店舖還陳列著無數個獎杯。台上的樂隊演奏著,台下有很多人聚集。呼,很久沒見過這樣的場面,上一次大約是兩年前在迎新週,但那次並不享受。上一次這樣又享受的日子…應該是在Kungsträdgården看到Eric Saade吧……我選了來自佛羅里達州的商家Porky ‘N’ Beans,叫了一個牛肉豬肉燒烤,配上了玉米包、蔬菜沙律和焗豆。配上了最普通的Bud Light Lime,哇,這是我來了美國這麼久,覺得最好吃的一餐。肉的質感很好,配上燒烤醬很捧。配菜中上。加上了啤酒,就算是這樣普通的飲料,和食物配上來還是很爽。很久很久沒有這樣的感覺。


第二天早上在遊走多一會,到了內州大學林肯分校看看。天,這個校園雖小, 但十分十分美麗。校園的建築風格雖然迴異,但未至於完全不協調,而且色調如一。校園四處都是花圃和一片翠綠。這是我看過最漂亮的校園之一,KU完全被比下去了。事實上,我一點也不喜歡KU的校園。太亂,到處也是那笨拙的吉祥物。到處都是商店主導。UNL另一個令我留下印象的絕對是大學書店。天,KU的大學書店也未免太小了吧。在UNL,「大學書店」是印在學生會大樓的外牆上,而且佔地一整層,而不是瑟縮在學生會的一角。KU和UNL在各方面可是不相伯仲的呀…

我本來想到UNL Dairy Store吃一杯自家製雪糕,但在早上九時多吃雪糕,還是過不了自己的一關。看到UNL正在興建第三個校舍,專門是給商校合作之用。我只能說,這,太、太、太令人羨慕了。有這樣目光的學校領導,我相信這兒的研究可以走得很遠。


這天天陰,本來想到兩個最大的公園看看,但雨已下起來,所以只好到一個小花園Sunken Garden。這個花園可漂亮呢。花園的設計很有歐陸色彩,很細緻,植物的選擇也很合適。羅倫斯最美的花園,大約又是隱藏在Downtown裡的一個迷你日式花園而已…而且沒有好好打理過。








我在租車的地方開始問當地人,我要如何保障自己的安全,來回Downtown Detroit和機場的時間安排等。一直一直我還是抱著很多懷疑。到了酒店,大約時九時多,看到天還不算很黑,想著這兒天黑還需一點時間吧。沒想到一到離酒店0.4 英哩的餐廳以後,天就全黑了,這刻人都慌了。然而我進了餐廳才發現自己把酒店鑰匙留了在車內……但晚餐還是要吃的,我請侍應給我介紹了她喜愛的菜,那是一個磨菇漢堡,配了cole slaw和薯條,計了小費才$9,在Lawrence$9才是餐牌上未計稅未計小費的價錢。菜端來了,我嚇呆了,份量是真正的美式份量,漢堡包和漢堡扒都很大,我沒可能把整個包疊起來吃,要分層吃之餘,用刀叉處理還有點吃力。那可是我吃過最有肉汁最有「牛」味的漢堡,薯條熱騰騰但軟軟的(對…我那軟薯條愛好者),Cole Slaw很開胃,一直都是預期之外的好。說說這餐廳,這兒的裝潢停留了在九十年代,想起了在愛沙尼亞那前蘇聯咖啡館,但這兒整潔得多,人氣還是有的。侍應未算很友善,但最少不會膚衍客人。鄰桌的客人想要的東西售罄了,她很氣忿,侍應還是會很有耐性地開解她。這樣的地方我還是第一次見到,在這大城市裡有著這種小鎮才有的人情味,讓我感到有點驚奇。


第二天早上,五時多,我想翻熱那前一晚的漢堡,但食物盒是發泡膠的,於是到酒店服務台問有沒有其他食具,結果服務生說用那盒翻熱一分鐘完全沒問題= =,我在他口中認識多了一點這地方,他說著酒店/機場所在的這個區域安全得很,他們整晚在街上也不害怕,是別人不認識底特律才覺得這兒完全不安全了。

我到了Riverfront看看Windsor和那美麗的Riverfront plaza,六時多還是有人會在這兒踏單車和早操,而這兒看起來也有點點像西九至尖沙咀海傍,只是這兒有建築物在重建而已。我和這兒一個在巡邏的老人家談了一點點,他還是說著自己喜歡這個地方,沒有遇上過一點麻煩。他很熱情的指著我要怎樣怎樣走,怎樣保障安全,問了我的行程,帶著一個很滿足的笑容。我看著那極端奢侈的GM Headquarter,還是覺得,這兒儘管不復二十年代的光輝,最少這兒的人願意改變,願意接受現實。也許就像是新聞和Time所寫的,That’s the real change and new life for Detroit.

然後那不清不楚的GPS app讓我繞著Detroit Tigers Statium轉了三圈,沒機會試試那Russell Street Deli,但我還是看了一點點Eastern Market。這兒開始有了頹廢的感覺,車不少,但開著門做生意的地方很少,Detroit 的問題時佔地太廣,管理要用的資源太多,但明明要服務的人已沒那麼多,把一切集中起來,同時重組行政資源,才是解決問題的辦法。某程度上,要是底特律破產,即時的形象雖然全毀,但長遠來說,這不是轉機麼?這問題太複雜,我不懂,但我看不到這是一個壞選擇。

我最後在Heidelberg Project轉了一圈,進入那個Neighbourhood時還是有點害怕的。明顯地這個Neighbourhood已近乎空無一人,剩下來的好像很多都是黑人。但Heidelberg Project的色彩讓這兒有了一點生氣。我沒有時間好好去看,但我看到了那沒有時針分針的鐘,好像是其中一個線索。藝術家是想說著,時間在這地方,是停留了在某個時刻,還是,就算這地方變成怎樣,時間還是在溜走著?



瑞典民族在美國 – 林茲伯格



沒睡好的我一早起來去Lindsborg出發,準備到第一站時差點出意外-衛星導航在普通路上永遠只是在1/8 Miles前才提示轉彎,但我要轉彎的地方前一點點就是高速公路,我在加速之時才發現要剎掣轉急彎,聽到了剎車聲不禁害怕起來-我幾天前才換了剎車片。

第一站是在Lindsborg城外的Coronado heights,這兒有一座小小的城堡,本來想爬上去看看,但聽到昆蟲的聲音就逃跑了。沒有在城堡上,但在這山上看到的風景依然美麗,一大片的稻田看起來很舒服,這兒也有很多很豔麗的野花。這山雖然很矮,但在這平原來說已很突出了。這兒也讓我想到了Kiruna渡過仲夏的那天,剛到埗時Hostel的主人和他的友人帶我到了附近的一座高山 Luossavaara看Kiruna的景色。雖然兩座山的高度和風景的樣子相差太遠,這天我只是自己一個人走,但我感覺到,這兒還是會有著瑞典的氣息。

一進Lindsborg城區,看到了一些瑞典文,如藥房會用上apotek,路上的旗會寫著Välkommen Lindsborg。不過,這,文法不對啊。到了大街就剛好遇上巡遊開始,他們穿著北歐傳統服飾、演奏著民謠,路人都戴著了花環,Dalahäst的出現更是不用說了。看來這兒把瑞典更有著一點點民族傳統氣息。但,又回到了當日在Duluth那個問題,到了現代的瑞典裔美國人來說,這些瑞典傳統代表著甚麼?

雖說這兒是小瑞典,但這兒的建築卻找不到瑞典和北歐的風格,看到的就是二十世紀美式中西部的建築風格。然而,在這兒有一個保育著歷史建築的Old Mill Museum and Heritage Square,Mill的顏色的確是很瑞典的Falu Röd,那些保存下來的歷史建築不多不少也有點點北歐的味道,但,比在Duluth看到的來說,還是像美式多於北歐風格呢。大約這兒的氣候相差太遠了吧。

我在這兒的一個Microroastery和老闆談了一會,問著究竟Mellanroast做了甚麼讓它的味道與眾不同。他的祖先是第一代移民美國的瑞典人,但他的長輩都沒有了和瑞典的連繫。我問他,為什麼會選擇研究瑞典的Blend and Roast,他說道,只因這咖啡好喝,質素高。談著談著,竟發現在這小鎮的小店,竟有在香港供應著精品咖啡豆@@”

雖然我始終沒機會看Midsommar Maypole的升起,但這半天在小瑞典還是有一點點得著吧。究竟對美國人來說,他們的Old Country、和文化傳統代表著甚麼?他們新的文化,何時才真正成為他們的根?
回程路上,在Topeka看見烏雲密佈,心知不妙,沒想到不夠就遇上了暴雨,我連前面的車都近乎看不到。安全回到家裡,阿肋路亞。現在頭很疼。Road trip,不好玩啊。


在lawrence過了一個很充實的聖誕以後,我的假期室友在新年會回家一個星期。但這可是新年呢,我還是想看點新的東西。於是給一名在瑞典遇上的女士發電郵,問問我能否到訪。沒想到她的反應很大,也不斷地說著可以玩可以做的東西,於是就訂了greyhound的車票,不知死活的走到了Duluth,Minnesota和Superior, Wisconsin這twin port。

Greyhound在Lawrence的車站有點那個,它設在油站之內,室友看見時大笑了。到Kansas City, MO的車本應該六時到站,但最後六時半才到。等待的時候有一個怪婆婆不斷地說話,這對我對greyhound的第一印象大打折扣。車上的乘客大多是黑人,這也把我嚇呆了。

有驚無險地到達Minneapolis以後,我想我以後都不要再做傻事了。但到達Duluth之時,我卻不知道,要主人家上車找我。我乘的車只到West Duluth,卻不是Duluth Downtown的車站,但我的車票上卻沒有寫著。Greyhound,我想我不是到了末路我也不會再光顧。

在Duluth的第一個印象,是很有北歐的感覺。這兒的屋都有著北歐的風格,不像在中部很普通的樣子,這兒有些屋塗上了瑞典的falun röd。在Duluth山上駕車下山對著Lake Superior,竟給了我在冰島漫步的感覺。


第一座是在First Lutheran Church的Op.75,是最近完成的一座。它是一座general purpose的琴,但它的外表設計卻很現代和獨特,他們選擇用短的管在立面上堆砌,而非常見的樣子。同時間,立面的木刻也加入了一點點路德會禮儀和教義的原素,色彩也很鮮麗。另一座是在Pilgrim Congregational Church的Op. 11,那是仿法國浪漫時期而設計的風琴。之前在一些譜上看到的Anches preparees那些,這天終於看到是怎樣的一回事兒。
Pilgrim Congregational另一個很吸引人的地方在於它們的彩繪玻璃。這教會建立於十九世紀末,教堂建於二十世紀初,在教會金禧之時,他們找來了Tiffany & Co.設計紀念彩繪玻璃。這些彩繪很細緻也很奢華,繪畫著最美的大自然。
然後我們到了位於前工業學院的Jaeckel Organ Shop一遊,看到所有的木工,想著學校那三座Jaeckel,我對organ builders有了更多的興趣。
Dave給我上了很精簡但深入的organ building課,也談了一點點他走進Organ Building的過程。他不懂鍵盤樂器,卻在高中時因為同學給他聽了一隻風琴CD,錄的音樂是來自不同地方的Historical organs。他聽了覺得這些風琴聲從未有在美國聽到過,於是開始找書看,開始學起organ building來。一個人生的轉變,來自很小很小的啟發。

主人家的兒子在之後一次回到Grand Marais,也因此我遊過了Lake Superior,看著世界最大的淡水湖,我找回了久違的寧靜。從小時上學,每天也在高速公路看著維港,到到在中大每天也看著吐露港,KTH上課路上看到的河,我的日常生活總離不開一點點的水。來了Kansas才四個月,但沒有了大水的感覺實在很沉悶。這湖寧靜得不可思議,加上岸邊蓋上了雪,它給了我一點點太平靜的感覺。

除夕夜我和主人家和一個小孩去了看DSSO在AMSOIL arena的新年音樂會。在arena聽管弦樂對我來說並不新奇,之前AYO也在紅館搞了一次,而且我覺得很不錯的,所以對這場音樂會還是有一點點的期待。但暖場音樂有點格格不入,主人家說著他是區內最有名的歌手,他的音樂很好聽云云,我開始擔心接下來的表演。於是我和小孩去了買小食,我買了一客洋蔥圈,一邊吃著,一邊叫自己不要太認真。
開場的star wars,violin 爆咪了。
樂團也和那甚麼甚麼earth harp有crossover,但,這「樂器」聽來不就是electric cello而已?
我想,如果樂團多放時間在搞好miking,不要那古怪的ensemble,整場音樂會會加了很多分。他們的lower strings和brass都很不俗啊。

新年以後我在folk artist June Nyberg的家待了兩天,她是和主人家一起去瑞典的,但她那時沒說話,我沒有太認得到她。但這旅程中,她讓我找到了很多新的動力和想法,去走我以後的路。
June的家人給她很嚴厲的教育,要她成為很會理家,很低調的淑女。她從一開始在technical school學sewing,之後被邀請成為導師,再因學校改革變成教繪畫,甚至成了名。一路上她還是很低調,不爭功,只管做自己能做、應做的事,但同時也堅持著自己的原則。她說著自己的想法和經歷時,有不少的東西都是我也體會過的,我們也有很想似的價值觀。她就是那走在我前面的先軀,她讓我看見我自己這刻做的並沒有錯,我也能像她一樣的走到那不一樣的路。

然而,她能成為出色的畫家和老師是不意外的事。她觀察入微,從一個人的色彩選擇和舉止都可以找到這個人的很多性格特點。我從沒有接觸過acrylic painting,但卻在她煽動下畫了一塊木牌和鐘,看起來還可以騙得了人的。這是我在這旅程裡想也沒有想過的意外得著,也為我的行李加上了不少負擔。

June說了一個現象,她說著像我的主人家一樣,很多Wisconsin/Minnesota的人都很在意自己的”Old Country”,很著意要把自己的家打扮得很有北歐風格。但對她來說,先人要來美國,就是因為希望想為美國人啊,美國人的文化在哪?
主人家也很在意要給我很「瑞典」的感覺,她說著要給我弄Swedish Pancakes,但在crepes以外她伴上了很美式的果醬和糖粉…但Swedish Pancakes的whipped cream呢…另外她又說著要弄Lefse,但那是Norwegian的東西,她以為是Swedish,我試著弄,她說我本身應是一個瑞典人。