HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010
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November 30, 2008
Westerly En-route, Newfoundland
I moved onward from St. John's and drove five hours westward towards Grand Falls Windsor, Newfoundland. I felt nervous and stayed conscious not to rush as I packed. It's been over a month in the comfort and security of Orinda. We call each other brother and sister. I now truly feel in brotherhood my friend Charlie who I met earlier this year and now I feel in sisterhood with my friend Orinda. I have never before experienced the trust and intimacy of this feeling as I do now. I've experienced a close friendship feeling with life long friends but now the terminology is turning from friend to family, brother, sister, etc... This may be because I am gaining deeper trust for myself and experiencing how I always knew deep in my soul what true family feels like. Our core bond comes through a connection of a spiritual nature. All the rest of the ways in which we relate, are just extra bonuses.
I am staying for the next two nights with a family who I have never met and I forgot how we even connected until I remembered when I arrived. Evelina had randomly signed onto a hospitality website for one time only, a few years ago. I found her account online. There was no picture or profile but I randomly sent her an email anyway. She replied and accepted the opportunity, having never hosted an outsider in a town with less than 15,000 people. She and her husband Derek ignored warnings and craziness that people spew out about fear rather than trust. They embraced Boner and myself into their home and family. When I arrived their son Zachary and daughter Samara were home along with two dogs and a cat. Another son and daughter, Chyenne and Matthew were with grandmom.
I sat down to a thanksgiving like Newfie dinner where I tasted yet some new foods like turr meat (bird that tastes like fish because thats what the bird eats, which is also called thick billed murre meat), blueberry pudding (that I topped with chicken gravy) and a now favorite of mine... peas pudding. After we were done the entire family wanted to go outside and hear some piano music. I was like... "people, its 10:30 on a Sunday night in the neighborhood and... zero degrees outside." They did not care they wanted to experience the Traveling Piano right there and then. My...Kind...Of... People!!! Boner is adjusting like a new champ everywhere he goes even in this house with three other animals. He found a way to protect himself by going into a corner where he can be bothered from one direction only and then when the dogs give up trying to do what dogs do, he just buries himself in the spot and hides his head with tolerance.
Religion came up in conversation with Evelina and Derek almost from the start. Nothing new here, it happens just about all the time when I meet new people. Derek and Evelina were raised in the Canadian Church of Pentecost. Derek has twenty brothers and sisters. I think he said he was number 15 in the clan. His mom had 20 kids in 26 years and everyone was raised... using his words, with strict morals, something like the Salvation Army! I discovered through our conversation of getting to know each other, our lives, our past... new clarity about something I have been looking to find.
Aside from Orinda I have made four new substantial friendships so far in Canada. I have often been puzzled when these people refer to the Bible and Christianity in conversation. Normally one eye brow of mine impulsively moves upward when this type of talk begins. Both eyebrows have been arising with these new friends because when talking there has been no feeling of preachy-ness or threat, fear, control, comparison, manipulation, repression, exclusion or judgement attached to the feelings in communication. I experience friendship, acceptance, inclusion, love, shared experience, respect, joy, fun and up to this point a little confusion. In conversation today with Derek he made a statement that got rid of any confusion and clarified it all for me. He said, "I believe in Christianity but I'm not religious." Wow, that I can relate to! These people interpret the information found in the Bible for themselves and not from a verbal or written interpretation of another individual human or a specific groups set of interpretations. It works for them. When people talk about how brave it is to be doing what I am doing I say... just look at the people I have met who have been accepting me into their lives as a stranger, right into their homes to share their beds and food. This is all about trust and this is good. Human beings relating with human beings taking action to cast off fear and embrace trust in each other or just plain full of trust period....ha! What a concept.
November 29, 2008
Bowering Park, Newfoundland
Torrential all day rain was not going to stop the Traveling Piano, the last opportunity to create music in St. John's, Newfoundland. I will be leaving the area tomorrow. I knew the perfect spot to head for, it was under a highway with cement sides and roof. The truck tarp is soaked and now wet on both sides, I'll just keep trusting with faith that this is not important. The temperature where I am today is the warmest in all of Canada at the moment. I have been so fortunate even with the last two weeks of rain. The sunny days have been amazing. No snow and it is almost December.
This turned into a banner day. As I drove down the parks path to my spot I found a guy waiting for me. Well, he wasn't really waiting for me consciously but just hanging out with his umbrella taking a break from the rain. A woman who studied piano in college came by, a couple of friends hanging out... a lot of people assumed I did not want to be bothered so just ran by with a smile, some had seen me a week before in the park, one guy thanked me for being there as his friend had jumped off the bridge the week before in a suicide attempt. As he runs through the area to exercise our meeting, the music and the visual will give him something different to associate with the spot. I thought about what a gift I have to be able to bring some healing energy to different environments with music. Today was a total success and a lot of fun!
November 28, 2008
The rain, it is a Brigadoon like mist! Well, I am planning to leave St John's on Sunday, to where... I do not know except for back across the island to get off before the heavy snows begin. The Marine Atlantic ferry back to the mainland has been stuck out in the ocean because of broken parts and high winds so I do not know how this will effect the backlog of vehicles that has been created. I went around saying goodbyes today and telling everyone that I will be setting up under a highway overpass tomorrow in a local park to play some music rain or shine. How crazy is that???
I had another Newfoundland dish today. It was cod tongue and scrunchions! The tongues of codfish panfried in batter with scrunchions, cubes of salt pork fat. Who knew that fish had such large tongues? If I had stopped at four tongues I would have been ok but Danny boy went to finish off the plate. I made it to number ten and had to stop before... well you can guess. I could not get the visual out of my head. I wanted to finish them as to not disappoint my friend who was getting such joy from my sharing in the food of his homeland.
November 27, 2008
November 26, 2008
Brigus South, Newfoundland
The day was cloudy. Rain is about to return so I headed down to the south of the island to take advantage of the time that I have left. I found a small cove named Brigus South and drove out to the end of the harbor crescent land shape. Smoke came from several rooftops. Only a crazy person would have been hanging outside because the wind was so strong and cold. I'm not a crazy man so I did not hang outside too long. Bo and I climbed around a bit, watched the waves and then headed back to the city. I became really tired enough that I went to bed around 6pm. I'm not sure if I have a bug or its emotional feel-y issues. Tomorrow being Thanksgiving always brings up "stuff" as in stuffed... stuffing... turkey, food, emotions, feelings... stuff it all, ahh... I am digressing here... and also I'm missing the traditional holiday parades that will begin tomorrow that I have performed in for the last fifteen years. Ahh... a year of firsts with a new way of living. It is just different, same old different.
November 24, 2008
This was a beautiful day. It will be forever one of my top days on earth. When I want to feel really good about being alive and enjoying this world I remember past events in my life like ...hiking New Zealand's Milford Track, driving through Montana's open pastures, walking the city of Prague pre-commercial signs, heading across the water before the evening tide onto Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, exploring the rooftop of France's Chambord castle, riding up the Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps, traveling through the Sini dessert, snorkeling in the Red sea's Blue Hole on Easter morning, the Pennsylvania countryside and today... hanging out at the light house on the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland's Ferryland ...just me and Boner, no one around for miles, no sounds of airplanes, signs of people, cars etc... just me, Boner and all the spirit of earth.
It brought me as much joy as I can experience or should say have experienced to date. I have never felt the harmony of nature working so perfectly as I did today. The air was crisp, clean, just a little wind with a full sun, the sound of ocean water, wide open space, peace. We drove off the beaten path for about a mile on a road out onto the peninsula until we could drive no further and then began to hike up the rest of the way. The road we drove in on was one way with no ability to turn around, just wide enough so the truck would not fall off the high cliffs on either side.
I walked off the path up to the highest mound and around a huge rock where I found a good two and a half foot high white owl, a snowy owl perched on the edge. I thought, "could that be a statue or is that what I think it is." The owl turned its head towards me probably thinking the same thing, paused and then flew away. It was huge. I went to sit at the spot with Bo and captured the essence of his intimate life ecstasy in being happy to be with me and the totality of nature. The pictures I posted are what Boner looks like when he is loving life the most wether it be me or nature.
On the way back I was immersed in a lush moss ground with dormant blueberry bushes and evergreen trees that were so beautifully perfect with layers of branches I could never even think about hanging Christmas ornaments from them. The rock colors and textures, God I love rocks! As I drove out I stopped to take a picture of a log cabin that looked like it was built in 1621 when Ferryland was first settled. The owner came out of his shack next door to say hello and tells me, "yea, everybody thinks that its from the early days, the truth is I built it some years back from old telephone poles that someone sold to me for fifteen bucks each. The place has taken a beating from the weather.
I was traveling on what is called Newfoundland's Irish Loop. The guys I met along the way were super friendly and talked with an Irish accent faster than most people could ever imagine. I was telling one guy about the journey and he says, "and your doing this and your not even sick or dying or anything?" Hahaha... I thought that was funny. On the way back I did not think I could play any piano today because I was so consumed with what I had just experienced but... my mission would not have it that way.
I saw a wharf that interested me deep down off the road in the town of Clavert. I drove down to investigate and passed a few construction workers who looked very interested. I could not find a good spot to play but when I turned around to drive back I stopped and gave them a big smile. One thing lead to another and I ended up playing them a few songs. They just couldn't believe what they were experiencing! What fun that was. I then stopped at Cape Broyle and pulled into a dead end spot to release some of the day creatively with music. An amazingly friendly chocolate lab ran alongside the truck with me the entire way. I left Boner inside because it was getting too cold. I ended up creating music for the lab. You should have seen his head tilt as he stood still to hear new sounds for the first time. Once he realized they were safe he began to jam with me improvisation-ally by barking with the music as he ran around the truck and constantly tried to jump into it with me.
When I got back to my home base Orinda my host cooked me a traditional Newfoundland dinner of fish and brewis. I think I can safely say that she makes the best fish and brewis in Newfoundland even though it was my first and only taste. This is a fisherman's meal while out at sea. It is made of fried salt fish (dried) and hard bread biscuits. (really hard, used to plug holes in fishing boats with it) They both soak over night so everything becomes fresh and soft and the salt drains out of it all. This meal is topped with salt pork (like bacon bits but real) and onions fried in butter. What a meal this is. I love egg matzo too. Do you know what that is? It is another mishmash of good food... fried eggs and soaked matzo bread in butter. Am I gaining weight? yes... "oh how sweet it is" as Jackie Gleason would say.
The bottom line for today at the lighthouse was that I was living in "moments" of time. These days my life is not all in the now. It is fluctuating back and forth all over the place but those moments of total consciousness are real wow moments. One wow moment is worth weeks of the opposite. I consciously worked to keep any drama out of my joy today. I want to just "be" with the experience of joy that living is. Having Boner "being" with me is even better. Having friends who support my involvement in life no matter what it is... that is almost the best.
November 24, 2008
Burnt Cove, Newfoundland
Boner and I traveled to three coves today... Burnt Cove, Tors Cove and Bauline East. I was told no one would be around. I said that I did not care but I really did. I am craveing people to expeirience the Traveling Piano. It rained on and off on the way and I also drove through snow showers. Can you believe I am doing this in these temperatures? Even more... finding people, or more correctly... people finding me and taking the time to interact in freezing temperatures?
It was the end of the day and I drove to the end of a wharf that jutted right out into the water. It was cold but I was just more involved with thinking about the sights in front me. So much stimulation for the music with pine trees growing out of jutting cliff rocks all around, the sky, the wind... the water swirling around large rocks with ocean waves splashing in front... huge white caps splashing on several different large islands a mile out... When I first got out of the truck two dogs happened by, friends I would say. Talk about extremes. We met our first Newfoundland dog. It was huge like a bear!!! They checked us out briefly and felt too uneasy to stick around. I guess we were too strange for them.
A woman named Jane found me. She was a delight. Jane works as an Interpretive Planner. (those plaques you read in parks and in scenic areas that describe what you are seeing) She invited me home for a great hamburger and salad with her man, William Ritchie who is one of Canada's top artists. Bill works in Arctica to help present and teach Inuit artists. The Inuit indian people are often mis-named as Eskimo's (a name given by non-Inuit people) and in fact have a language called Inuktitut. Bill's house is built on the top of a 250 foot cliff. I pulled the Traveling Piano truck onto their yard and a little too far down to play over the cliff. "That was a mistake, you'll never get that back up" says Bill. I told him I could handle it, The Traveling Piano truck can do anything!. I was wrong. Good thing he had a strong truck to pull me out.
I played a bit in a small town named Mobile behind a bakery shop once again overlooking the ocean where I met another musician, an Irish folk singer. She was a little shy to play some music. If it had been warmer out I think I would have had a better chance at persuading her. A cousin came over and created music for the first time. I was very excited by it all, the friendship, the dinner. I couldn't shut up from talking. Orinda my host has two very close friends Elaine and Eva who live just down the street. When I got back to my home base I found out that coincidentally Elaine happens to own a second house and it is the one next to Jane and Bill where I was having dinner. In fact Elaine and Eva were both there hanging out in the house while I was next door. This was an hour away from St. John's. Wow, talk about people being in each others space all the time. I keep running into the same people wether three minutes or three hours away in distance and in an area of several hundred thousand people. This is a good thing for everyone, we all have fun with it.
November 23, 2008
Bowering Park, Newfoundland
Over a foot of snow is all around Newfoundland to the south and west. Highways are closed, blowing snow, the ferrys have been delayed. Here in St. John's it has been all rain. The rain stopped this morning, I went out to clean some of the muck out of the truck. Everything was wet, the speaker cone was wet! ... and everything still works!!! I am blessed that this truck has lasted this long and that I have not been stuck in snow. I love snow... I have always wanted to be up north for a good snowstorm. What a dilemma. I want to have the experience but definitely not with the Traveling Piano.
It was mid afternoon and I decided to stop, just quit cleaning up the truck. While I still had a half hour of sunlight I needed to create some music. I drove to the nearby park. Lots of people were out because even though it was near freezing, today was an opportunity to get outside. Usually, I try not to be too conspicuous with where I park the Traveling Piano truck. Today, I parked right on the main walking path of the park. It has been days since I've been able to get outside because of the rain. I only had a little bit of time and I wanted to blatantly create some music and meet some new people. Mission accomplished.
November 22, 2008
St. John's Newfoundland
Wow, I was really knocked out last night as I did not wake up until 3PM today. Outside It was already dark for the day. The Traveling Piano truck is soaked inside and out. I am going to let the Universe deal with it for now. The Traveling Piano, Boner and I have been connecting with people from all over the world, from Pakistan, Antarctica, the Amazon.... on Facebook. This feels really good! If you are on Facebook hook up with me as a friend. I used to feel controlling with wanting people to reach us solely through the Raggin' Piano Boogie and Traveling Piano websites. As I am growing as a person it makes sense to extend myself not only to individuals and communities that I meet in person but... also to online communities. What do I have to lose? I am not out to hold onto what I own but to share it all. I put up a Newfoundland musical experience from last night on Utube. It is under my account name ragginpianoboogie.
November 21, 2008
St. John's Newfoundland
There was a window of about 30 minutes without rain and with sun today and I took the sun for all it was worth. I drove onto Water street in the center of town and parked the Traveling Piano at a meter. It was short and sweet and about four people got onto the piano to create some music. Later on I stopped to see my friend Tracy and Darrin with friends to wish Tracy a happy birthday which is tomorrow. The rain was on and off the entire time and everything got wet again. I purchased a roll of tape for the Traveling Piano signs today ($40), they are all peeling off from the cold, rain and rock salt.
I met an accordion player from Bell Island; he took me to meet his brother. This became a typical Newfoundland Kitchen party and together they played accordion music for me. I love the picture that I captured in the moment. I was moved by the music. We jammed and I had my second ever musical awakening. The first was three years ago when I experienced the totality of music in of itself for the very first time. It resulted in my being able to improvise and express my individual spirit of music. Tonight I had the same experience while jamming with other musicians. Three of us expressing our individual spirit of music together as one. It was only for a moment but that is only what is needed for a permanent life altering experience.
November 20, 2008
I have been learning the amazing history of the piano business here in Newfoundland. Today I visited the first piano factory, a store founded by Athelstan Collis. This was blind guy who began an empire tuning pianos while raising a son and two daughters alone. His son Leslie took over the business and now the third generation, Alistair keeps it alive. These guys built and sowed up a piano business that covered all of Newfoundland and Labrador. Tuning and serviceing the pianos meant a lot of repeated overnight travel through the regions year after year. Relationshps were developed in communities with people and almost everyone back in the day ended up owning a piano. This is partly why music has such a deep cultural presence here. The piano was a major social vehicle used especially during WWII. Newfoundland was the first British Colony to declare war on Germany and is the only place in North America that was attacked by Germany during the war. This fact was kept a secret from the American people to avoid panic. Newfoundland has been a major player in being a super ally for the United States. 40,000 marriages from Newfoundlanders with Americans resulted from the war partnership. The famous comedian Bob Hope used to come to the US military bases in Newfoundland to entertain the troups. Today I created music on the piano he used.
November 19, 2008
While walking Boner between rain showers I found a great spot where I will be taking the Traveling Piano rain or shine! The spot is under a large concrete highway underpass. Man, the sound will be huge, I can't wait. The river is roaring along outside the house where I am staying. I've never before experienced the sight and sound of a constant flowing river and so close right through a neighborhood. I went over to Alastair's piano store to improvise some music. Boner got a musical organ concert as a bonus for the visit. I have never been into organs but now I have a better appreciation having seen Alastair perform. It reminded me of how today's House Music dance DJ's create music from recorded record rifts. I was impressed with the expertise needed and also with the results. An organ can cost $25,000 bucks and plenty of seniors still buy them.
November 18, 2008
The rain is here and the weather report says it will stay rainy for the entire week. I wonder if i will go crazy. I wonder when I will move on to my next destination and where that will be. I want to go to one more scenic area and have been trying to do that for the last three days. It will be a three hour drive to reach the small communities that I have been striving for and I want for it to be enjoyable because I think it may be my last venture inland for Newfoundland specifically to create music. Not only was the piano wet today under the tarp but the keys were wet and the piano still works! Go figger... I am glad it is not snowing. It will be fifty-five degrees tomorrow here in the upper most eastern point of the northern hemisphere in Canada's first and oldest city, St. John's.
Amazingly enough I got to play some music today between the showers. I stopped by G&K Automotive where the owner Gary had his guy replace the Traveling Piano's brake pads. I played a few songs for them... they got on the truck with a guy from the auto parts store nearby to bang away at some keys and then Gary gifted me with the labor costs for the brake pads. Afterwards, I met up with Dave who owns the PI Gourmet Pizza Eatery in town as well as a screen print shop for his Living Planet T-Shirts store. Dave was nice enough to create a screen print for the replacement of my "Bring the Beat to the Street' Traveling Piano truck door signs and then he gave them to me at no cost! My old ones peeled off somewhere on a highway from the weather. The Traveling Piano truck is not used to being outside twenty four hours a day. These guys contributed without my asking.
A local sound technician jumped onto the truck to equalize the piano sound for me inside the piano. He said he thinks my speaker horn is dead. Ha... die, die, die... I can take it! I am really grateful for the people who have come into my life to support my work of creating fun, friendship and respect at no cost for anyone. I am determined to continue with musical empowerment and inspiration. This is a costly endevor. I figured out today with having been supplied with about sixty percent of my food and having not paid for one hotel room, my costs for the last two months will top three thousand dollars. Every penny is accounted for. Yikes. Gas and tolls top the list of expenses followed by communication like this web site for example. Contributions to the Traveling Piano from other than my own pocket for the entire year have not totaled one third of what the last two months have cost. The money for China from the sale of my house is going fast. Have you been seeing, reading, hearing about the worth of this journey or been listening to the free music supplied to this site everyday? Have you contributed anything yet? It would be very much appreciated. I do not support the bottomless pit of neediness we all hear about in the world. I believe in supporting the good stuff however large or small, the stuff that joy is made of, this kind of stuff creates... "no neediness."
November 17, 2008
It was all rain today so I thought I'd post a few photos from back in July when a few friends came to see me off into the world. The first guy Don Kawash is a Philadelphia Ragtimer and good friend who got me started with Ragtime music back when I was twenty one years old. Patty and Lance, friends since high school got me started with the Raggin' Piano Boogie concept. Patty had told me about a guy she had heard about who played on a street corner in San Fransico and then I saw street performers in Paris and together we worked to make a career from playing piano outdoors on the back of a pickup truck. My friend Brad got me started with the marketing end by helping me to create a really cool Raggin' Piano Boogie popup card promo piece, the poster, business card and music cd covers. He is a master architect from New York city. All good life long friends. Thank God for friends!
November 16, 2008
Water Street St. John's, Newfoundland
A dreary type of day with clouds and wetness, drizzle and such kept me off the Traveling Piano truck but I still felt a need to create music. I ran errands and then decided to hit the center of town to see if I could find a piano to play. I pulled the truck over to the side of the main road and left it running while I ran inside a nearby coffee shop to ask if they knew of any places with a piano. There in front of me was a beautiful black upright and the guy sitting at the table next to it said, "I just commented on how nice it would be to have some piano music and here you walk in." After about an hour I met a young guy named Will, an excellent piano player who frequents the coffee house to play as he does not have a piano of his own. Will is a guy who left his home a age fourteen. He is seventeen looking like he is in his twenties. We have a lot in common. First off, creating music helps to keep him sane. He finds a sense of self through his music. I really enjoyed his willingness to connect. While I played his feet were going, his hands were snapping. He joined me in the communication. As I write this I wish I had thought to duet with him.
November 15, 2008
The Coves and Harbors of Newfoundland
As I was enjoying the day I thought, "to be conscious visually with every moment is my joy". I stopped at a gas station for directions and played a few songs for a couple of guys. I ended up driving down a major hill into a town and onto a remote wharf behind a large building with a bunch of gutted fish carcass strewn everywhere. There were three guys hanging out with their vehicles and I played some music for them, The one guy called his wife to tell her what he was seeing. She didn't believe him and told him to just get home so they could go shopping. I allowed the day to unfold without controlling it. I had driven up to Bryant's Cove via the interstate. Once I got off the main highway I wanted to stop the truck and take a picture many times but it was too dangerous because the hills were so steep. It was difficult to find a place to stop and play while riding around through towns built on cliffs one after another. There was nowhere to pull the truck off.
As I drove back along the coast I began to think about a billboard I saw on the interstate for a truck tire sale. My truck tires were really bad, two of them with no tread and I knew I'd be in trouble with any ice or snow. As I drove through one of the larger towns named Bay Roberts I thought, "I wonder if this is the town that the billboard was pointing to". One thing led to another and I ended up buying four new tires. The guys at the store had a friendly feeling so I parted with four hundred bucks. The store was about to close but they put the tires on for me anyway. I heard one of the guys say to his co-worker that my break pads were shot. I'm glad I heard that but it was too late in the day to get them replaced and they were not in stock anyway.
Funny thing... I drove from Bryant's Cove through Upper Island Cove and Spaniard's Cove to Bay Roberts, was leaving the town when I decided to turn around to find a tire store. After pulling into the parking lot of a store I jumped onto the back of the Traveling Piano to create music for an interested mechanic. In that moment the guy from the wharf at Bryant's Cove drove up in an SUV with his wife! He says to her, "See, I told you he was for real." Hahaha... she had been the first one to see me this time. Not that it means anything specific when this stuff constantly happens... it is just about the awareness of paying attention. What are the chances of being in the same place, at the same time, in different towns... our paths crossing again on the same day in a moment... of many moments in a day. The day was about creating moments of good feeling if only for a few minutes at a time. It was just too cold to stand or sit around and hangout.
On the way home I stopped to pick up a pizza. In the shop there was a potted azelea plant in full bloom. It has been in the same spot for eight years and blooms all year long. Wow, who knew an azelea plant could live indoors and bloom in any month other than May???
November 14, 2008
It was in the mid thirties today and the sun was shining. I was not going to miss the opportunity to go play somewhere. I wanted to feel myself into a place so I felt my way into the small town of Holyrood and then drove to Bacon Cove and finally ended up in Conception Harbor. Both of my truck door signs "Bring The Beat To The Street" blew off into the country side somewhere from the cold weather while en-route. In Holyrood I passed two people standing on a house porch and thought, "I'll bet that is an "old fogie's" home. I was right it was a down home, old fogie's home, not uptight with structure and restrictions etc... so I was glad everyone could spontaneously gather to share some spirit. A life long musician got on the truck to create some music and boy was he a happy man. They had no piano at the home and I could tell he would have sat there for a week playing the piano if he was able. He was in his eighties and he was bouncing the music like a twenty year old.
I drove to the end of a road in Bacon Cove and on the way back I saw about eight guys standing around alongside their vehicles. I thought it was a road block for me but these were all dads waiting for their kids to be dropped off from the school bus so of course I had to stop and play some music for the occasion. Later the last stop was truly the end of the line at the end of a road with no name in Conception Harbor. It was just Bo and I on a cliff until the sun began to set overlooking the bay with waves crashing on the rocks directly below us. Wow, was that amazing. My finger tips took turns becoming numb from the cold as I played. I kept checking to see if they were turning blue. Yikes! It was just such a special visual I was not about to pass up the opportunity to express the present manifestation musically. As I returned to St. John's the city lights were so beautiful I had to drive to the top of Signal Hill to get the best possible picture shot with a camera that cannot do justice to the beauty I was witnessing..
November 13, 2008
It was snowing with hail along with the rain today. Hmmm... what to do, what to do. Should I get out of here while I still can.. before the heavy snow sets in? There are places I have not yet visited in the area. The moon is the brightest and the fullest right now. Hmmm... what to do, what to do. The magnetic "Bring the Beat to the Street" signs on the truck doors peeled off from the cold and rain. Hmmm... I'm not able to play for people in this weather. I put up a video on Utube today of a Newfoundland guy playing a fun jig for everyone to check out. I have been improvising a bit everyday indoors on an acoustic piano and there is a desire from within swelling to develop my improvisational performance skills which cannot be done from the piano on the truck. I hope the piano on the truck still works when I take off the ice soaked tarp. We shall see.
November 12, 2008
Rain... today, better than snow at this point. I improvised music on a piano indoors for myself. The pictures posted for today are of school children from Bell Island, Newfoundland.
November 11, 2008
The rain stopped me from taking the Traveling Piano for a run today but did not stop me from pulling weeds and raking rocks. Yes that is right, I worked in the rain raking rocks. I am helping my friend Orinda with landscaping. Rocks in Newfoundland grow. No matter how many you remove from a yard or garden each year the earth continually pushes up new ones. Today is an opportunity to post a few more pictures from the past few weeks. A lot of people in Canada have had a turn at creating music on the Traveling Piano. I'm grateful for the ability and support to present this brand of musical opportunity!
November 10, 2008
Cuckold's Cove, Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland
I drove to Cuckold's Cove in Quidi Vidi Village, a 17th century fishing village. I was told this was the first settlement in North America... who knows. I took the Traveling Piano to the waters edge and parked behind an old garage. The scene in front of me was filled with flowing blue green ocean water flipping into white caps against dark rock, birds drifting in the sky, lots of rock... big rock jutting out of the water with green, tan and red shrubs growing on the sides. I was there in the late afternoon just me and Boner to record music and spend some quiet time. Bo stayed in the truck because it was too cold to lay outside and he did not have it in him to climb over rocks. I allowed myself to sit silent with nature for about five minutes. It is difficult for me to be "still" and do nothing.
Today, I decided to start contributing financially for my keep. It is time. My friend Orinda's generosity has been so unconditional that I must recognize that she also has needs when it comes to paying the bills. My friend Cory who drove with me to St. John's is leaving tomorrow on a plane because I'm not ready to leave! I have a feeling that I am on my own with Bo again even though Cory and I had only spent a few minutes with each other since we arrived. It is very easy for me to become complacent and a seems a natural impulse for me to rely on others for my security. I certainly am NOT alone, that is for sure.
November 09, 2008
Waterford Bridge Road, Newfoundland
It rained again all day today but oh, what a rainy day full of wine, women, dancing, home made food, music and my buddy Boner! (I skipped by the wine) I met Charmain who is Orinda my host's sister, yes b'y (slang affirmation) and we four had a great time. How wonderful to watch two sisters share their love and fun. I caught them with my camera dancing in the living room as we listened to music from the 20's, 30's and 40's. At about one in the morning Orinda suggested we go for a walk. I was like, yes 'b'y (slang like, wow, really) Bo really needed to get out of the house and we both needed some excersise. The rain had stopped. I followed with almost disbelief... women in their 50's and 60's running and romping throughout a beautiful local park in the dark with ponds and ducks and swans, waterfalls, trails with bridges... totally safe to be in, no fear of crime. We were talking about slang expressions and Newfoundland sayings and Charmain shared a favorite... "she has a face that looks like a boiled boot!"
November 08, 2008
A rainy day, I slept in for the second day, this feels good, I needed it. I drove over to my new friend Alistair's music store to play on a few piano's. Cindy was there and after about a half hour a few potential customers strolled in so I sold them a piano! What fun that was. I had never done that before. I felt like I really had something to offer with advise and information and demonstration and I could be objective about it as I was not getting paid anything. I hope I inspired them. The piano I sold was stored inside an elevator we never even took it out. We had fun with it all. They got a really good deal, I made sure of that. I gave the young piano man Tyler a Raggin' Piano Boogie poster as a souvenir. I have only two left, I wish I had brought more with me. I am feeling my way into the future as to what I am doing here with this journey.
November 07, 2008
Bo has been feeling cagey because I have not been getting his walks into the day so exercise was a priority for this day. It has been drizzling so I took him out between bouts of drizzle. The picture for todays posting... hahaha... I have been trying to get this picture shot for years. It is the look of, "I am not allowed to bite you so I am going to scare the shit out of you instead"! When Boner is in the cab of the truck, in his animal world of instinctual survival and safety, the truck cab is his den. If he does not know you this means your not welcome to just come in without a proper introduction. I took the shot while a few strangers were about to do just that. While walking Boner today I stopped in a local music store and to my delight they had many fine pianos for sale. I asked if I could play a bit and ended up creating music for about an hour. Wow, to play on an acoustical piano... this I need to do as often as possible! I love it and I can develop musically much more than with a keyboard.
November 06, 2008
Branch, Newfoundland, Canada
"Keep going, keep going, don't give up." I was driving for hours heading for Saint Mary's cape. I wanted to give up, turn around and go back. When I realized I was not going to make it to the cape by the end of the day I searched for a good spot just for myself. On the interstate it was continuous stream of boring wood and evergreen trees but towards the coast it became awesome, awesome, awesome. Glacial ponds where everywhere and the vastness of the land, I really felt like I was in new territory, a little uneasy because there was nothing around for great distances and I had never before seen a land like this. I was really glad I filled the gas tank before I left. It was truly just me, bo, the truck and nature.
I ended up at the oceans edge in a little village named Branch with only a few hundred residents. I did not want to leave and I was sorry I got there so late. People from the village were finding me as it got dark. One guy said his neighbor came next door to tell him that she could hear a type of music that she had never heard before in the distance. The local accent was so strong, sometimes I could not understand what was being said. They were telling me that I had better get going before it got to dark because of the moose. I am constantly reminded that being killed by a moose walking across the road in rural Canada is very likely at night. People said they wished I had been there for when the fisherman came in to strip the fish.
A group of about eight boys age nine to sixteen rode up on dirt bikes and three wheeler monster vehicles I thought, "these are perfect for snow travel". I was like an alien from outer space. As others arrived and I got off the truck to talk, the kids would start riding around on the as they call them "big red bikes" but every time I went to play the piano they would all stop whatever they were doing, drive up to the truck and listen in silence. After they warmed up the piano shenanigans began. (always my favorite part) This was an Irish town. They would take turns and when I played they would grab onto the truck and rock it to the rhythm. They asked me to come to the beach with them so they could show off their spins and wheelies. They had total control of these vehicles and no police bothered them with being underage because the nearest police station was over an hour away. I wanted to create a prize and give a Raggin' Piano Boogie poster to one of them but couldn't play "special prize" so I gave them each a poster. I'm glad I had enough under the truck seat. As they rode off every one of them said, "Have a safe journey, Danny."
November 05, 2008
Orinda's House Newfoundland, Canada
While the weather is still above freezing I offered to do some yard work for Orinda my host. She has a steep embankment in front of her house that needs to be cleaned out. Ugh... I can't get away from rocks and yard work. I guess I love doing it? I feel like I should be playing music everyday and it tugged at me all the while as I carried rocks and pulled out tuffs of grass. It tugged at me until the thought manifested itself into reality. I met two of Orinda's next door neighbors Joey and Brian. Two sweet guys, Joey played piano when he was younger and was a church organist so I invited them over and we had some freezing cold fun for a while with another neighbor watching as he gave me a thumbs up smile.
I used to be stumped for an answer when asked question, "Danny, why do you do what you do?" I do what I do because it brings my joy, it makes me happy. I have always done what I have wanted to do but did not get very much satisfaction, what I was doing never really worked for my life. When I choose to do what makes me happy and began to share that... this is when my life began to really work. My life is working now. It was a leap of faith for me to pursue what makes me happy along with the faith that other people will like it.
November 04, 2008
I did not want to play piano today so guess what? I didn't. It is cold, dark and cloudy outside! Ha. I did drive around a lot with the truck, does that count for anything? I am gearing myself to begin doing some heavy rock lifting for my friend Orinda's front yard embankment. Boner and I took a hike around Signal Hill; the walk was stupendous. I have walked in areas of New Zealand's Mildford Sound, the Swiss Alps and the Sini dessert but these areas were not near a city. Here in St John's you will find dramatic natural scenery five minutes away from the center of the city!
I watched America's election today with amazement. I have been watching Canadian's watch American's election as interested brother's and sisters. I am moved by how much the people I have met in Canada care for everyone, everywhere in the world. Next thought... today I was thinking about how I am living proof that you can do anything you want in life and money does not need to be an obstacle or even part of the equation. (well not much, I have needed some) I have been experiencing feelings of being involved, passion, consistency, security, desire, friendship, respect, empowerment, fun, attention, music, relationship, a sense of belonging, part of, having something to offer, having what I offer embraced, top shelf shelter, food, clothing, validation, reassurance, love and all without money as a catalyst. What more could I want? Sex comes to mind :) ...that should not be difficult to get as a musician, right?
November 03, 2008
Quidi Vidi Village, Newfoundland
It was COLD today! The truck and tarp was covered with ice this morning. When it melted the underneath was dry! Also, I left the piano power supply on all night and all the energy drained out of the batteries. It had to be a miracle that the truck started up this morning after that. Last night I ate cooked dandelion. It was a little bitter... tastier when I discovered how nutritious it is, rich in iron with copper, potassium, sulphur and manganese. Who knew? The greens are perfect to eat just before the flower. All those years of digging them out of my yard as weeds, all that wasted food!
I had some more fun synchronicity today. I was heading out to Quidi Vidi Village because a guy I had met randomly met in another town a few days ago suggested I visit his friend Linda who could use some cheering up and then a television talk show called Out of the Fog on the local St. John's Rogers television channel cable 9 called to ask if I could come out to Quidi Vidi to tape a segment. While I was there the guy that had originally suggested I visit his friend coincidentally drove up to where I was parked. He happened to be giving someone a tour of the area :) If I had left the area as originally planned for today I would have missed the opportunity to have the community meet us through some more television. Krissy who interview me jumped up on top of the piano and held Bo in her lap as Paul and Harry took care of the camera and sound preparation. I was told a fun story also today how a local radio station broke from its live air broadcast last week to report that out the back window of the studio some guy had just began performing music on the back of a pickup truck with a dog sitting on top of the piano! All in a days fun.
November 02, 2008
St Philip's, Canada
Today, I headed off to Portugal Cove in St. Philips Newfoundland. I was feeling under the weather but pushed myself anyway. it's cold now. Wet snow fell but I spent some time with the piano and a few new friends before that happened. Afterwards I went to dinner over my friend Alastair and Cindy's place... late because I got mixed up with the daylight savings time change. They have a pug dog that is friendly with Boner and whom Bo tolerated very well. This is nothing short of a miracle to experience. This is a very special pug. I have fallin' in friendship with this dog, a first for a pug. While I was having dinner Bo fell into a state with his hind legs failing for the first time. He walked sideways for a spell falling into the walls. Hmmm... a senior moment... fluke leg problem... insert your hypothesis here? It is a rainy day, that might have something to do with his joints. Ahh... old age. (yes, it scared me) I have decided to stay longer in Newfoundland. I want to try and rebuild a front yard stone wall for my host Orinda who has invited me to stay longer and I do not feel done with my work here musically. I want to explore more of this vast land that has so many friendly people.. I know I am taking a chance with the snow... so be it.
November 01, 2008
Maybe I am trying to "kid" myself when I plan to take the Traveling Piano to a public place to record music because it never happens. People stop by and they take priority over everything... sharing music comes next, then pictures etc... oh what fun! Today I went back to Cape Spear for the second time, the most eastern edge of North America. As well as to create music, I wanted to do some feeling out as to what will unfold for the next few days. Also I wanted to take time for just Bo and myself do to some hiking in this beautiful area.
I so much enjoy letting the day unfold, when I do this I always meet a lot of new friends to interact with. One woman gets up on the truck and is enjoying herself banging uninhibitedly on the keys as she says, "I've gotten laid in this spot and now I'm playing the piano in that same spot!" Hahaha... Bo and I hiked the cliff sides of Cape Spear. It was so steep my feet were at a ninety degree angle with the ground the entire way on a grassy moss-like trail about a foot wide. I was constantly keeping an eye on Boner and he on me. I wanted to make it all the way around the cape but I came to a point were we had to turn around because I was afraid Boner might fall off and... I knew I would! It would have been a mighty long fall down into deep waters.
Orinda, my present host has offered for me to stay longer with her today. I suggested that if the thought came to fruition I would do my thing with the Traveling Piano while rebuilding a rock wall for her in front of her house even though she expects nothing in return for her hospitality. I may have a rock fetish, I just love rocks! As of this writing I am still planing to leave here on Monday. Orinda's friend Eva shared two tickets for the Newfoundland and Labrador Multicultural Council Remembrance and Peace event dinner tonight. Remembrance and Peace day is the Memorial Day of America although I do not think they are in the habit of having backyard barbecues here in Canada as in America, especially with temperatures in the 30's and 40's!