Time to go.

July 31, 2012

A guitar, a voice, a motorcycle.
My heart and soul.
A path to course on.


time and space,
wants and fears.


Men and women twirling


Wills and voids,
dreams and silences.


The road calls.


Manitoba road


It’s time.


All possibilities lay right here right now at this very moment.
The commitment has not been made and the open space is limitless.

The happenstances have not happened yet but are about to.


The full tank, clean fluids, the levels,
all systems inspected and ready.
Check the load, tie, wrap, zip, tuck, secure.


Sunset reflections


It will be hot.

Where will I sleep?

What will I see?

Will the rain drench us?

Or will the sun try to dessicate us?

Will it be right or left?

Right or wrong?


Hunger for the upcoming full moon pulls, attracts me.
Will I see her face looming over me?
Will I feel her energy possess me, take me, own me?



The money in a pocket close to the heart, the many tanks to fill.


Will the curves accept my two wheels?


One instant so small, another so huge.


In my mind the notes resonate still, the faces looking up, bodies swaying with the rhythms I provided, so grateful I am for this chance I had to give, to be, what I am.
Minstrel. Simple, generous, willing.


The child


In my mind the summerest of summer days I spent here in Manitoba, hot, sweaty, gleaming light bringing the shyest color to life for all to see and bask in, they glow, amazing. The grasses, the endless horizon and in those wide lonely spaces, communities holding the forts of their history and survival against the remorseless winds and erosion.




Time to go, the job is done.
Time to go.
Time to follow the ribbon of road via its folds and ripples.


My heart quivers a bit.

The loneliness is at the edge still.

Still, I miss him, still.

Slight whimper.

The dismemberment.

Leaves me stumbling, still.

But what else can I do?

But continue.

Follow the contours of my fate.

Accept the beauty.








Sitting at Stella’s, a cafe-bakery in Winnipeg, I was told by Nicole’s sister that it was the best place to go for pastries, then I was invited there by Lucien and tasted the goodness on Tuesday, now I’m here on my own after fulfilling all my duties for the day.


It’s mid-day, 2:45 PM, I am pretty tired and elated all at once. The sun shines warm but the heavy humidity of the last two weeks is gone. It is a perfect day. The cool air from the vents sweeps gently over my skin, when the cafe door opens I feel the sun rays stretching inside, warm fingers, bringers of life and summer contentment. Yes a perfect day.


On this very moment I can look back at my whole stay here and pretty much have to say that it has been perfect all the way through. Winnipeg… a mix of the rural and the urban, of history and struggles, the metis, the white, the natives, the railways all converging here, the horizon, the land and the industry, the looming presence of winter, the unbridled lushness of summer.


Hay, hay, hay



A mix of red-necks and uber originals, from a far away vantage point you could call this balance.


There is a respect, a granting of space, maybe because there is so much of it? Even when I ride the bike on the road, I notice that no one crowds me, they leave 3,4 car spaces behind me, maybe it’s because there isn’t that many bikes around and they are not sure how to behave around one but I’ve not had to worry about aggressive tailgating drivers. The bumps, potholes and winter beaten roads are more of a thing to worry about than the drivers. I’ve had numerous encounters in coffee shops with the locals, easy conversations, smiles, one feels welcome. Friendly Manitoba.

So here I am. July 27th. I just completed the last show and we closed the show to a standing ovation. It was very moving. This was our fifth show. The process took me from near terror on the first few songs of the first set of the first show into full command of my duties and the ability to take flight. I had a sideman with me for all the shows, Davidian (on sax, flutes and clarinet) and his contribution was monumental. He infiltrated the songs to their core, flew wildly into inspired solos or he would play just the right things to support the songs. Melonai joined us for 3 shows playing percussion and singing harmonies.


I’ve known Melonai since 1995, she has a place of honor in my heart ever since and to have her with me on stage was a real joy. I must thank her and Davidian from the bottom of my heart for inviting me in their home for my whole stay here, giving me so generously a roof, a home, friendship and amazing conversations, support and love. Melonai is actually the one that sparked this tour by talking to the right people and believing in me to make it all come to life. These two are making it harder for me to leave and hit the road again…


Melonai and Davidian





Thursday night we played a house concert at the McDonald’s in St Norbert. St Norbert is the town where the Trappist monastery is. They live a little ways down the road from the monastery, not by the La Salle river but by the Red River. This time I headed out on the bike. The joy I get from riding still amazes me. It’s something so pure. Visceral. Necessary. The machine, the wind, the motion, the sounds… I made my way down this country road, under a brilliant sun, the homes, barns, trees now sprinkled out over the rolling hills. To my right a field covered in golden oats. On the left down a little ways is the Red River. The smell is unbelievable, the essence of grasses, wild flowers, sun heated earth. I take it in deeply. I feel at peace. I arrived at the house, a long blond ribbon of gravel of a driveway took me to the house which is nestled in trees and basking in the sun. I get a warm welcome. It’s like a movie scene. Two little girls running up towards the house, their shirts bright spots in the sun. The air is fresh, clear.

What a wonder. These people hosting this concert, transforming their home in a concert hall, preparing food and drink and inviting all their friends to hear music.


We eat BBQ chicken burgers with fresh garden beans and salad, it’s so good. We chat, laugh, then gradually get everything ready for the show. The guests start arriving. I feel very ready, I want to do this, I am so glad to be here.

We played two sets of rolling music, the songs from the Aventuriere CD. This show is always a trip. Literally a trip. I tell the story : a girl in the east, she dreams of adventures but does not have the gumption to do it. One day, she gets a ticket for the great West, she is all excited to go, but once in the air a storm brings her plane down, but it rains so much that the prairies turn into an ocean and there her adventures start. The music goes from pop to classical, to jazz, to chanson, to rock and the way the set goes we really set it up with big crescendos then down to a whisper, from joy, to fear, to sorrow, to joy again. I see in the faces all those emotions going in and out. It’s truly amazing, to be able to send people traveling in their minds as they sit right there.


We finished to thundering applause and then mingled and mixed, chatted and laughed, ate too much sugar goodies and homemade treats. Gradually the crowd thinned out and we were left with our hosts. That is when Michel asked me : “ I didn’t get to hear the Turkish song… I was baby sitting…” Michel will be going to Turkey in the fall for a walking pilgrimage. He is a walked, I have met some of them on my trip. They set out and walk long distances, across the land, with minimal gear. It is a journey of introspection and discovery. I can relate.

Oh you would like to hear it?” He smiled. How can I not oblige?

So I picked up the guitar and started the song…


Uzun ince bir yoldayim…” … I’m on a long and narrow road…

Gidiyorum gunduz gece” …I journey day and night…

Bilmiyorum ne haldeyim”   ...I don't know what state I'm in...

Gidiyorum gündüz gece” I journey day and night…

Dünyaya geldiğim anda   ...From the moment I came into the world
Yürüdüm aynı zamanda   ...I began to walk at the same time
İki kapılı bir handa   ...In a mansion with two doors
Gidiyorum gündüz gece   ...I journey day and night

Düşünülürse derince   ...If it is deliberated deeply
Uzak gözükür görünce   ...It seems far away at first sight
Yol bir dakka miktarınca   ...As the route length is a minute
Gidiyorum gündüz gece   ...I journey day and night

Şaşar Veysel işbu hale   ...Veysel is amazed at these events
Gah ağlayan gahi güle   ...He sometimes laughs, but sometimes cries
Yetişmek için menzile   ...To reach journey's end
Gidiyorum gündüz gece   ...I journey day and night

This song, well, it is so fitting for my life right now.  Aşik Veysel was a poet, songwriter and virtuoso bağlama player (a middle eastern stringed instrument in the shape of a tear with a rounded back, it has 7 strings in sets of 2 and 3 and has ¼ tones). 

A ministrel in the tradition of the Turkish Aşik's  coursing the rural roads of Turkey.  He was born in 1894 and passed away in 1974.  He was blind most of his life and his songs speak of how he “saw” life.  With his instrument on his back he would travel and play his music as he went. He is a highly regarded poet of the Turkish folk literature.  This particular song is a classic piece that every Turkish person I've met knew, could sing and loved.  I was first taken by the melody, the way the saz and the voice travel in unison.  And the lyrics, at this very moment in my life, those words are a mirror of what I am living, how I feel.  The long and narrow road, life, time, space, the joy the pain and this awareness of the journey.  This is where and who I am at this moment. 

So Michel is watching me play, the guitar now unplugged and softly resonating in the room.  The words trickle, the images they create appear then fade, the last note lingers and climbs to the ceiling,  it's over.  Another intense, beautiful yet so simple moment.  A jewel of a song bringing humans together.  Universal language.

They offer me to stay the night, it's tempting, but there is concert in town early the next day and honestly I am longing to get on the bike after such an night.  I love riding after a show, it's kind of a way to absorb, re-live and let go all the happenings of the night, to let the energies calm down and flow away.  To merge into darkness, speed, to feel the cold night, feel the hot engine, to fly in the velvet of the air.  

I headed out in the night. “Watch for deer!” said Claudette before I took off. It’s almost cold. The engine purrs. The glow of the headlights warm a semi circle of pavement ahead of me.


The night is lit up by a half moon. The stars are bright. I played music and eyes sparkled now we course the night me and Arkadaş. Gidiyorum gunduz gece, gidiyorum gunduz gece….


Shows Friday and Saturday, gee, almost like a real musician.


We rehearsed every day last week. I had not been satisfied with my performance on the first show. It was sufficient, but I want awesome. I always want more… my curse, my engine, I always want more. More speed, more roads, more adventures, more love, more music, more connections, more mysteries, more answers…


On Thursday night Davidian came off of a gig around 10 or 11 PM. I had asked Melonai if she wanted to play with us on the Friday night show to sing harmonies and play percussions. She accepted. She was the one to propose a rehearsal at this somewhat late hour.

We played until the wee hours, and the “more” factor happened. I was now starting to reap the rewards of practice. We started to stretch the songs, find room to breathe, include improvisations and new sections. For me it is always vital. I get bored fast doing the same little formats over and over, so I write these epic songs, with complex parts, polyphonic and polyrhytmic bits where I sometimes have to sing completely against the tempos… that all works when you play-perform a lot. Then it’s fun, challenging, exciting.

When one has done what I have done for the last few months, which was dealing with a break up, moving, finishing artwork and tearing down the art studio, selling belongings, being on the street here and there, then travel 2000 km, the finessing of  descending chord progressions with a vocal counterpoint did not have a chance to take place.

When you are not ready, the feeling towards a performance can be more akin to terror than enjoyment or artfulness, especially if you witness yourself letting yourself down, making mistakes and falling apart. This is the place where self doubt can consume you alive.

So these last 2 weeks were a boot camp of sorts for finger calluses thickening, lyric remembering, head space creation, confidence building and it was also the time and place to develop musical affinity with Davidian, with whom I had played a few years ago but in a very different setting, in order to be able to deliver something of substance to the audiences coming to see us.

That rehearsal opened the doors of my musical mind.


Friday night came. The show was at Danielle Burke and Nadia Gaudet’s house in Winnipeg. We only had to go a short distance, so we all piled up in the car and drove over. It was the nicest home on the block, shining in the sun.


Nadia and Danielle’s house


After setting up the gear we were treated to dinner, a delicious vegetarian dish on rice fettuccine.


Nadia cooking, notice the pianist arms and hands, graceful, beautiful


the set up


The house started to fill, I retreated in a room and relaxed then grabbed the guitar and warmed up.


After a short introduction we got going. I decided to linger on the intro, get the fingers working, the nerves to shed their nervosity and took time to get the three of us connected.

The show went incredibly well. The audience and us agreed to skip the mid-show break. We took them on the odyssey. We soared and glided. We finished and were greeted with thunderous applause.

the audience


the audience to the right


Some of the comments were : “we were in a trance” “we loved it” “so original” and on and on.  Mission accomplished.  I’m so grateful.

I have been so far away from the music. I started to doubt it was still an option, it was still something I could pull off.  Sometimes playing open microphones and only short disconnected performances can do much more harm than good.  You lose yourself.  You can’t exist.  You just try to fit the bill and come out of it whole.

We stayed a bit, chatted with many people.  They are all fulfilled, happy.  The job was well done.


Saturday, July 21

3 PM we’re back in the car. We roll out of Winnipeg under an ever brilliant sun. Serge, the organizer had told us : “Get to the Petro Can, I’ll meet you there, it’s a bit complicated..”


waiting in St Laurent

We drove along the 6 and at some point Davidian said : “I think this is it.”


“Petro Can”


And there it was, tall and proud on the prairie, a very well attended Petro Canada gas station. We got drinks and sat outside at a picnic table waiting for Serge to get here.  I learned later that this is kind of the Central in St Laurent, there is a restaurant, a small store and everyone stops here.


When he arrived, we followed him to his home, where the concert was to take place. Down an unpaved road, the dust rises and covers everything. Within short moments we were there. We unpacked the van and got to meet Patricia and Joanne. We set up the gear, had dinner, then had a bit of down time to tune into our minds and prepare the performance.


following down the dusty road

Show time.

I love to play guitar. I always wished I could play like Hendrix or Jimi Page… I never quite succeeded to duplicate those players but I can play like me and I truly I love to play my guitar, it matters a huge deal to me that I play well and when I can’t play well, I am not very happy. Well this time I was happy.


I coaxed, banged, gently plucked, strummed the little Go guitar for all it’s worth. This guitar is amazing. It can be as big as a Les Paul plugged in a Marshall or as gentle as a mandolin and she gives everything she has. I can play the rock songs or the subtle forest grooves and it’s all there. She won’t go out of tune easily, she’ll take the heat and the cold on the back of the bike, she’s been dropped a couple of times, but she’s all there, all the time.


the two of us in action

I looked out at the audience and there is everything from people with their eyes closed tripping out, to people hooked onto my every words. Davidian is on fire. He is improvising like a mad electric guitar player on the flute, clarinet, soprano sax, his body sways, he is lost in his playing, following the mountainous roads some of these songs take without missing a step… I had told him the night before that I had noticed how he took more chances in rehearsal and how on the show he would be much more “polite” than in the rehearsal. Well for this show he’s laying it all down without holding anything back. At times I thought of Coltrane, Jethro Tull, Harmonium and Jean Pierre Rampal it was amazing.


Davidian on alto

Again the comments were very positive. I was exhausted. I had left every ounce of energy I had on the floor of that living room. Played and sang my heart out. Opened up musically like I had not done since the shows with Forrest in California. I was thinking how unbelievable it would be to have a trio of Forrest, Davidian and myself. We would set the stage on fire…


After the show we sat outside, the stars are shining above, the wind is creating the sound of a river through the leaves above us. There is a light show of thundershowers in the distance, we sit all around a camp fire. Telling jokes, talking of stars and constellations. I’m so tired, I can barely say anything or move but I feel very content.


During the show I had a thought among others. My life lately has been colored with this painful thread of my broken heart. At times still is so unbearable, I can’t explain. I get this feeling of being completely lost on the surface of the earth. An extreme loneliness, a huge sense of failure, all my fears of unworthiness realized. It hurts so much, my nerves fray all over my body, shooting pain goes from my solar plexus all over my body. It just floors me and my life seems meaningless. I don’t know how long that will last. But during the show there were moments where I could breathe freely, flow into the river of the melodies, singing, playing. I could be me. There is a reason for my being here.

I keep forgetting.  I had forgotten that.  That freedom.   A blessed gift of just being, of conducting these energies, coming from God knows where, and letting them exist for that micro instant and then disappear into the universe after they connect with the audience.  The blessed gift of music.  Of creation.  Of not hanging onto anything, the space of time between the time the toes leave the springboard to the time the tip of the fingers touch the water.
In the morning we headed out to the Pogo Cafe as there was no power. No power, no water, no cooking… so Serge, Patricia, Davidian and myself piled up into a van and drove to the local golf club where the restaurant was. It was kind of funny as we waited an inordinate amount of time for our breakfast, everyone was getting cranky because they were hungry, then the power went out, we almost left, the power came back…  and after another long wait got our food served.


Joanne, Patricia, Serge and Davidian


We cleaned our plates and Serge took us to Winnipeg Lake. As we drove by the shores I was noticing a lot of mud and messy stuff lying around… I said “this reminds me of the Gulf Coast, Louisiana… Katrina” Well, the place had been flooded… many lost their homes, cabins. Serge explained it kind of killed the spirit of the village. So much loss. The flood had been caused by sending too much water from the Saskatchewan river. Human error. There was a wave that defied all the man made walls and sand bags and that took with it the lives and dreams of the people.

this was wild. look at this guy and his rifle.. who does he look like?…. at the park’s entrance. We laughed it for a good moment.

But right now, the lake looks incredible. Huge, like an ocean, waves come in… the sand is golden and shines in the sun of a thousand sparkles. Davidian rolled up his pants and went in the water. I was standing on the beach… I am wearing jeans… did not bring bathing suit… the water looks so good… Patricia went calf deep and she was resplendent in the sun. I finally took my shoes off… walked it ankle deep, calf deep, knee deep… Then I could not hold back anymore. I plunged in, fully clothed, into the green, warm waters, into the waves, into this natural wonder. It was so good, I was laughing and then everyone jumped in, fully clothed, all laughing.


Patricia beautiful free soul…


Davidian and Serge


Yours truly




Oh life. You lay those wondrous gifts right in our hands. Simple gifts. And it is all up to us.

I looked up and a quintet of pelicans are flying in perfect formation, so graceful, it was breath taking. I watched them fly in unison, wings spread out, white against that blue sky. I thought of K. That he could be here and see this… I had that wish months ago. I had imagined that he was going to be here with me and would have shared moments like this. But no. It is not to be.  I stand in the water, wearing the belt he gave me, I forgot to take it off before plunging in and now I worry that I will have messed it up and that I would lose another thing that connects us still… what a fool…


Oh that these sudden burst of memories could stop coming and jag this wound over and over. That things could heal.

Oh life, what is it you are trying to teach me that I obviously am not learning?


We drove back to Winnipeg, cleansed by lake water, pure air and the flight of pelicans. I made new friends, felt the grail of music and threw myself with abandon into the green water. Two more shows this week. I hope to give all I got again.  That is how I can exist, just more, give more, feel it all, be more….


drenched and happy

yeah, so all this stuff, it all came together because of a house.


There was a family, they arrived from the States to Manitoba and settled there.  I ask you to forgive me for forgetting the names and places… I am terrible with names… but here is a sketch of what brought us to today.


The people who started this


They built a first house and started a family there.


the first house in the background and Lucien’s forefathers in the front


the first house


But that house became too small and they built the first version what is now Lucien’s family home.  At one point the house was moved.  What you see the house moved by a bulldozer across the land.


first move


From there, the family grew and lived in this house, the family history deepened.  I don’t have all the details but at one point, Lucien took possession of the house and moved it again to where it is now.  He then started a quest.  He had a vision and that vision grew and still grows.  He now has been working on this project for 18 years I believe.

from the road you get a peek of the third floor


from the front


from the back


The scaffolding wrap themselves around the structure like dream catchers, Lucien’s dream.  When he gives you the tour, he explains every detail, what will be here, the porch that will be built, where the music will take place, where guests will come and enjoy a feast.  Listening to his words one can build, dress up in his mind and see where this is all going, and we want to go there.  But more than the outside, the inside of the house is filled with art and things of all provenance.   Like this stove.

the wood stove


This was the family wood stove that Lucien’s mom used to cook with.  The stove had been sold, years ago, for a more modern unit.  It went from hand to hand until Lucien tracked it down.  He bought back for $100 and brought it back in the house where it belonged.

church decorations


Lucien told us that he has been rescuing things for a long time, these plaques come from a church that was demolished when Lucien was a teenager, it was his first rescue and they now are displayed in the living room.


One of the many sculptures found in nooks and crannies in the walls


the Toledo scale


This scale was dropped off by a friend who had been at an auction, it sits proudly in the kitchen.

the many, many plates


the kitchen is kind of the heart of the house, Lucien is a chef and he does cook for parties, weddings, any event that takes place.  We got to see a portfolio of wedding cakes that just blew our minds.  Huge multi-level affairs, animal cakes, cello cakes, cakes with translucent maple leaves make of sugar, it was impressive.

the kitchen




getting ready for dinner


found in the wall


an old toy


some dead flowers, they too had poetry in them


try to guess… it’s the ceiling fan.


from the hall


Another stunning factor with this house is the light.  It comes in blue, I don’t know how he did it but the light is never directly glaring at you, but omnipresent.


My guitar was at home in this home


the candelabra with branches instead of crystals


another little detail


In this place Lucien is surrounded by his history, his family.  He’s also surrounded by imagination and magic.  As a stranger this place was instantaneously home.  I will remember this forever.  I hope I can return one day, maybe I’ll get to feel the wood stoves burn, the sun on the snow or whichever wonder that can be found in any season.

Thank you for this heaven on earth, for giving others so much soul, for allowing artists to express themselves and share what they do.  For this magnificent place out of time and out of the expected into the extraordinary.


















At Lucien’s nothing is quite what you could imagine.

I had been told it was special, I tried to imagine special but I could not imagine this because it’s so unique, it is HIS vision, roots, imagination, it is a reflection of his history, mythology, sensibilities.

Before the show I had a bit of time to kill.  I figured I should take a nap because I had not slept enough the night before, I laid back on the bed for about 2.5 minutes then I thought that I could not possibly stay here in this room as nice as it was when all this stuff of Lucien’s, his creations his world, were awaiting my peering eyes to express all of what they are.


So I took the camera, not the phone, the camera with this lens I like so much (it’s just a little Sony point and shoot but we get along) and headed outside.

There are flowers, the civilized type, in boxes around the house




I love these blue expressive flowers


They smile at me.   I smile back.


A wood pile that is art in itself


But next to the flowers there are all sorts of materials, a wood stove, sink, upside down footed cast iron tub, they could easily be christened junk but no, here they are actors awaiting their turn on the stage.  They lie in wait, rehearsing their lines.


fire me up…


the foot of a tub


But the sun was still out, calling, so I walked outside of the protective circle of the trees on to the road.


I got to see some of the local sports venues, Curling…


… tire burning…


It’s around 7 PM or so and the sun is still high on the horizon.  Everything is basking into this blue-gold vibrancy.  I’ve noticed that even the plainest of shirts comes to life under this light, they are redeemed,  Nature glows in all it’s mid-summer glory.

almost human


prairie cliche


vectors crossing


wood from a barn that will become the house’s protective shell


Then I approached the grasses.  I had not seen such tall grass in quite a long time, in places it’s almost as high as I am.  They were glorious.  Free, unhindered, expressing their beingness and beauty without any shame.  They said : we are this land, we are, look at us shining in the sun.


in every phase of life, beauty radiates


more, more


rise to the light


… but they are weeds!


…weed, Oh glorious weed


you shine like gold and dance in the wind

intermingled green and gold, life and death, planet earth you carry us


Three brothers


we are giants




and the last one


I could have roamed the field and the area endlessly.  The light is changing every few minutes and every plant, every object shows a different personality.

I’ve been wondering lately what my purpose is, maybe it’s about seeing the beauty in this world. Goodness. Peace.  All of this all the more moving as the impermanence of each thing, plant, person is made so obvious.  Because winter awaits it’s turn, even now, I feel it’s presence, it’s patience.  It will get deathly cold and all of this will return to the earth.

My moments here an incredible blessing, time swells, I bask in it, grateful.





















This last week end’s trip was such a deep intense experience that I need to make a few posts to cover it.  This one is about the facts of the week end, the show, etc.    It truly felt like we spent days there.  So here we go with the first one.


We left after an espresso and some food as we knew there wasn’t going to be anymore espresso once we passed the perimeter road around Winnipeg.  I am traveling with Davidian Chorley, flautist, horn player and all around true musician.  We are in a car, yep, a car, gotta carry sound equipment, guitar, horns, gear, and all sorts of things that don’t fit on a bike.

all windows down, on the road, here we go

We drove 3 hours North West of Winnipeg.  The land got wider and wider and the roads narrower as we coursed between canola, alfalfa and wheat fields.

the ubiquitous trains


We finally arrived in Laurier Manitoba in the middle of the day.  As the car stops, the wind noise ends and it’s now the crickets who fill the air with their racket.   Emma Street.  We’re here but it’s not like on Google maps, the house should have been on the left according to Google but it’s not.  108… where is 108…   we had found 110 and decided to go knock and ask where Lucien and the famous house was.

it’s all happening here

“Oh he’s across there, just passed the woodworking shed, the three storey house.  We didn’t see it as it was shielded by trees.  We thanked the lady and went across the street.

we arrive

We meet Lucien.  He’s busy doing things around the house, he welcomes us warmly, he has an easy going way, an easy smile, eyes that seem to dream and create all at once.  First he shows us the outdoor shower…


Lucien and Davidian

The sun’s pounding rays and the sight of this shower, standing out near a field, in the hot summer air after 3 hours of driving almost make me drool…


We then go inside the house and I am instantly “hugged”.  The vibrations, the soul of this building… It felt like I could let go of all and any burden, physical or mental…  it’s hard to describe.  The hug is the best I can do.

the shower


There are things, photos, knick-knacks all around.  All have history and Lucien is more than willing to tell the stories.  We go on a tour, Johnny the Cowboy’s room,  the Nun’s room, the French Lady’s room… all have a narrative created by Lucien and his writer friend.  Complete fabrications but I expect that they will become legend and the many questions will be risen as to their real origin and no one will be able to pinpoint exactly when Johnny or the nun actually arrived here but nonetheless they will be real.

coming in


ready already


the house, constant project, constant evolution, steady soul

After that, shower time.

I grab a white as snow, thick towel, soap and I walk out barefoot to the shower.  I undress, shielded from peering eyes but in the sun.  I start the water.   There are 3 jets.  One above, one on each side.  I start the water.

I laugh, irrepressively.  It feels so good, the water is pure earth water, not some processed, piped, delivered good.  Just water, pure water.  The sun is like a caress on the body, a melody came into my mind and I start humming it.  It’s pure joy and I don’t want it to end.  What a gift.  It was worth driving all this way just for that.  The feeling of freedom is so strong, who would think that the act of taking a shower under the sun could feel so good, so freeing, so wholesome.  A resurrection of sorts.

Gradually we’re getting ready for showtime, Davidian brought in all the gear from the car and when I walk in the living room almost everything is set up.  I plug in, it sounds good.


In the mean time Lucien who besides being a designer-builder is also a chef is cooking dinner for 6, some friends are coming over for dinner before the show.   He’s busying himself in the open kitchen there.  After warming up for a while I decided to go outside, bring the camera to see what I could capture.
It is so beautiful.  Peaceful.  The crickets, grass hoppers and all manners of summer insects fill the air along with the birds with their summer songs.
I come back inside, dinner is ready.  We are treated to shrimp with Pernod, apricots, fresh asparagus, garlic pasta, french bread, there is too much food for me here but I have to taste it as I have not been treated to such gastronomy in a long time.  Food as art as opposed to food as fuel.
Showtime is at 8:30, people start to trickle in.  There is Grand Mere, who is 91 arriving, with a walker but with an invincible spirit.  They come in, get seated and we started to play.

the stage from the kitchen

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think my performance on the first few songs was my best.  Since last year with my thyroid issues, my failing eyes and all sorts of other reasons, I feel overwhelmed at times with performing.  As if all these small factors combined can chip enough at my confidence to sometimes make me into a crumbling building.  Davidian is doing a great job and I am immensely grateful for is supportive presence.  No one will ever be as hard on myself as I would be, I just want to give these good souls something to enjoy, I don’t want to let anyone down.

moments before starting

At the break we chat with people and I get to meet Mama D.  I fell in love.  Mama D is 87 years old.  She first told me that she used to play the guitar but her fingers don’t cooperate anymore.  But she still plays the organ at church and she says how she reads music but following her ear is so much better.  I can’t agree more.   Then she tells me she likes the music and that she likes my tattoo.

I look at her face, her eyes.  Her beingness just radiates.

Time to go back to play.

The second set is much better.  Fingers cooperate, mind loosens, I can perform better.

At the end of the show Mama D comes back.  I ask her if it would be OK to take a picture with her.  She agrees readily.  Davidian helps us.  We had to move around to find better light and we finally have a shot.  She says to me :

“You have to come visit me when you come back around here.”

“I want to!” I said and I have not the faintest idea as to when that could take place as I have not the faintest idea of what my life will be after July 27.

Mama D and me


We are holding on to each other’s hands, I say to her that this is this instant affinity.  You know when you meet someone and you “know” them.  She agrees wholeheartedly.  Most everyone else has left the venue at this point.  We walk towards the door, hug again and she leaves.

After that I got cake Lucien had offered at break time, a delicious affair with fresh berries, cream and a “glacage” made of white chocolate, butter and vanilla that was impossibly good and impossibly rich.

We chatted, Davidian, Lucien and myself until the wee hours.  At one point Lucien said he was done for the night.  Shower time I thought…  Under the stars.

I got ready and headed out, undressed, started the water and as I looked up, the sky was filling up with strange light…  Aurora Borealis, things cannot be more magical.  I wonder once more what luck could possibly have me be in such a place and experience such things.

I stayed out for a while watching the sky shimmer and dance in a blueish-green dress.



The next morning, after meditation we were treated to the most luscious omelet ever created.  Lucien knows how to extract the essence of every ingredient and blend them into eternal partnerships.

We head out around 2 PM.  It feels like we’ve been here for 3,4 days.  Time warp.  Reality shift.  I”m thankful for those, I almost was able to forget my aching heart and just shine and absorb the goodness of this place.

12, 07, 12

July 13, 2012




I just finished a heavy duty practice session, I got to the point that my fingers refused to take any more orders from their tyrannical master.  Things are starting to click musically.  


I’m getting there, got the French set figured out, the gigs I am doing are all French but today I got a call from the presenter in Laurier, for the Saturday show and he asked me:


Do you play in English”


This can be a tricky question, some people ask this as to say “you better NOT play songs in English!” Some might ask as “I need some English material to make everyone happy in my audience…”


So I replied : “ I can, I only prepared a French set list as that was the requirement but I certainly can if it is needed.”


Yes, this question can be tricky” he laughed, “We have English people coming to the show…”  His voice is so gentle.  I seem to notice a lot of folks around here are so gentle, they don’t talk loud, brashly, they listen a lot.  Their French is also of a unique color.  They have different expressions, a different flow, rhythm.  It is fascinating.  They seem to come from another time and place and I’m glad that they are.  


Well I know how to handle that English-French duality issue and that made me happy because some of the songs I really like to play happen to be in English… and so that means more happiness all around, on and off stage.


This place is about 3 hours West of Winnipeg, it’s our farthest show of the 5 but it will be well worth the trip. The man is a designer and chef. He has taken the old family house and remodeled it, he will be cooking for us and I’ve been told his food, hospitality and the beauty of the place are outstanding.


I was also informed that we need to do two sets with a break in the middle because at the break we will all eat cake… it’s the cake break, for “cake made by a chef” break, who wouldn’t stop playing for that?

This trip, experience, will be, I believe, something that will be filed into the outstanding moments category.  




After the call from Laurier, I got a call from “La Liberté » one of the oldest if not the oldest French newspaper in Western Canada, it was founded in 1913 by a Monseigneur Langevin. They wanted to do an interview about the tour. From his words I realized that the journalist wanted to do this one the phone… Yuk. Phone interview?  Nah, boring.  I pushed a little bit…


Oh, I can meet you downtown?  Where are you located?”


I am in St Boniface… I’m new here too so I’m not sure where to go for a meeting … Do you have the bike?”


Of course, I always have the bike…”


 I could take photos…  OK, then”


We discussed a bit and picked a meeting point on Albert street for 2 PM.

I rode down there, I’m starting to find my way around this town.  The Exchange District, is really amazing. All the old buildings have been pretty much preserved, the streets have these unexpected courses, at angles, not your usual grid, more like an old European design. Cobble stones, bricks and a lot of character all around.

There were severe storm warnings for Winnipeg but I took the chance anyways, it didn’t feel like anything dangerous was coming, I know I could be wrong, I’m not from ’round here and I could mis-read the sky but off I was.


We met and went to a cafe, he set up his I Phone and I saw the little microphone logo… wow, times have changed! So amazing. I remember people bringing tape machines, then DAT machines, then digital recorders…. now it’s someone’s phone.


I had not done an interview in a while, when you do a lot you start to have your story or stories lined up, organized. He was interning at the newspaper, a student from Sherbrooke University in Quebec, so he was fairly green at all this so he did not have his lines organized either, which kind of worked.


I meandered through past, future and now, spirituality, music business, travel, my past albums, where I might be headed… it was… like a trip. At one point his eyes were a bit wide and he says :

“This is different than the other artist’s interviews I’ve done… it’s kind of cool…”


I had to laugh. I don’t know what it would be like to listen to me as a 22 years old… A crazy woman coursing the continent on a motorcycle, pushed by the winds of fate, who plays guitar and sings here and there when she can while condoning meditation and speaking of her unpredictable path pondering if she’ll turn right or left when she’ll leave Winnipeg in a couple of weeks.


We must have been at it for a large hour. We said goodbye and I went to the music store. My guitar tuner broke in two and I needed some picks so I headed to Long & Mc Quade, which used to be “my” music store in Vancouver, I had buddies there, I got good deals and was treated really well. In this store no deals were to be had

We haven’t seen your face often enough.” the salesman said. Fair enough. The guy had actually lived in Vancouver and left in the late 80’s when the real estate prices went out the roof as he had a child, a family. Many did leave at that time and after that…  but even that did not soften the price tags..

I am really looking forward to start playing these shows.  I really want to plunge into doing something kind of consistent or at least hope to do so.  These last months, since April actually life has given me my share of action and reactions with a Break-up,  a broken heart, homelessness, instability, some wonderful creative sculpture time, New amazing friends like Lisa, meditative bliss, job search-interviews-getting the job, new bike, soul sister dying, mom in the hospital, health issues,  packing my stuff, emptying the art studio, selling things and setting out on the road to land here now.

I wonder if it is the ultimate “live in the moment” experience.  Maybe this is where I have to rise and shine.  Have faith.  Trust and just be.   If anything, over the last 6 months I chastise myself for not having totally plunged and accepted what was given to me, plunged and embraced all that was there without any conditional thoughts, without fear. All of that isn’t clear at all yet.  Too much emotion still.    But right now, I don’t want to look back to this very moment in time and see that I wasn’t brave.  That I wasn’t fearless and forward moving.  That I wasn’t all that I can be.  

Today I went for a special meeting. I had left a note on Facebook to some friends in Winnipeg telling them I was around, asking if they would like to meet over coffee or something of that nature. My friend Bertand said yes, lets meet over in St Norbert at the old Trappists monks’ abbey, he would bring tea and fruits.

the burnt out Trappist monastery in St Norbert

Sounds better than any Starbucks I’ve been to so this morning I headed South, there were big storm clouds in the skies threatening to loosen their burden on us but they were all over this or that way but nowhere near my direction, I still took the rain gear in case and tied that on the back of the bike. I’ve seen how hard and wet these storms can be. In the blink of an eye you are soacked.


Heading way out of town I am thinking : this would have been a long, long way from town for monks, perfect for tranquility and peace. I turned onto the “Rue des Trappistes ” (trappists street)  then onto “ Rue des ruines des Trappistes” which says : road of the trappists’ ruins. As I approach there is already something “else” in the air, a gentle calmness surrounding the whole place.  I am taken.


street names cannot be more descriptive


Then I saw it, nestled in the trees, and as I approach I saw a man walking with a large brimmed hat and a backpack and I knew that was Bertrand. It was. Ahead was a beautiful stone structure, looking like a church but completely gutted. The beautiful local limestone embedded with fossils and with these other rocks with warm shades of light orange and beige. It was quite the sight. It took your breath away but in a whisper. The area was just… Sacred.

the orangey stones

the monastery, or what is left of it


Betrand explained to me that this used to be the monastery, that the monks left in the ’80’s when the urban sprawl started to reach out this way.  In the old days this was a far away place. The monks then left for another small village further west. In the mean time kids set the place on fire and now all that is left is this stone shell reaching to the skies.


the front facade


The birds all around were singing, the wind in the branches, the river winding it’s way lazily a few meters away. Funny fact, the river is very muddy and used to be called “la sale” (the dirty one)  at some point in history, they decided to call it La Salle, the name of a famous explorer, just to make things a little less literal.


There was a blank grassy area and Bertrand explained that there used to be the monk’s cemetary there but when they moved away, they took their dead with them. I found that particularly moving. As we walk around the sacredness of this place permeates my being. It reminds me of the retreat in Montebello. It’s the same vibration where animals, bugs, all living things seem incredibly at peace, share the same space and live together. I feel a deep longing to absorb that peace. Just be here in silence. It would be enough.


the back yard onlooking the river



As we walk around the building another structure appears, the hostel, where guests would come for retreats, it has this typical French architecture, history written all over it. Around it are endless gardens, them too roaming wildly, not all structured in geometric rows of disciplined growing space. I am awed. There are butterflies everywhere, it’s a picture of what life on earth was at some point before we crammed everything with machines and technology and speed and impatience.

one of the many butterflies


part of the gardens


the old hostel


We sat by a pond on a moss covered bench. We chatted for a good while. Kindred spirit. It’s so good. Betrand is a writer, poet, artist and teacher. He came from France with his family in the ’70s. The tone of his voice, his language is beautiful. I love the European French accent. It is so gentle and it flows like a small brook in the forest.


a place to stop


the pond over grown by green things

After a while, as all things, this meeting had to end. He donned his hat and backpack and headed out on foot. I stayed a bit longer to take photos and absorb a bit more of the place. I would like to come back. They have lighting in the ruins, it must be amazing at dusk and at night. And they also have meditation sessions in the Hostel which has metamorphosed into an art center. Bertrand said they have artists’ retreats there… that would be amazing.



I rode back towards Winnipeg, among the trucks, the cars, the hurry. The sun burns hot, dessicating us. Out here I have had many thoughts about global warming while walking amidst the innumerable air conditioning units churning along, posted in rows on apartment buildings. Life holds on by this thin operation margin on this planet. As we rush to the malls in our trucks and cars, so absorbed in our lives, in the need to pay the bills and try to be happy in the process.

This little island of sanctity, simplicity… I think of the monks, working in silence as nature sings its glorious, brief summer song.  Man, not the conqueror of all living things but a gardener with a tender hand, helping plants to grow.


And the world turns and turns and I turn with it.



Here are some images, I had not had any time to get them ready… here we go..


finished a couple of sculptures


saying goodbye to the studio and Ottawa


North Bay, first night’s camp


the view down the little trail


campfire in Sault Ste Marie


the Go guitar on the go in Sault Ste Marie


Arkadash resting in Sault Ste Marie


the Long House backpacker’s hostel in Shuniah, outside of Thunder Bay. Go there! they are great!


a fellow backpacker at the hostel pond


he’s a good looking fellow


in Winnipeg, all bikes hang out together


another night, another fire, much mosquitoes. They won that night


I was invited to a family party on the prairie


the kids had constant fun


a storm came and poured water on us, but it did not dampen the spirits


we retreated in the shed


a couple of rainbows came


while we were having fun


the rain stopped and it was time for the “hay” ride


we were pulled by a 1930’s John Deere


an ancient machine who did not really want to start


but it did, and we went out in the field


and the spirits were light and the land was lush


then we had to turn around and go back


some got off, some went out for more


the sun came down and the clouds gave us a show


360 degrees of wonder


I could not stop taking photos


then we went into town


didn’t get to see too much but I will come back for more


Yes, of course


we then went to hear some latin music and went home afterwards.

Is it July 6th already?  Woah. Time gets weird when you travel, days disappear or they suddenly appear out of nowhere. As if we can here and there slip out of the continuum.
I’m feeling human again. Rested.  There is much I have to do for the upcoming shows. Promote, get gear,  organize rehearsals, players, schedule, travel plans and all those little details. It’s on the to do list for today.


But before all this, I had to go on a quest. Remember I mentioned losing all my clothes? Well, in that clothes bag was a brand new pair of jeans that I really, really liked. I mean, finding the right jeans is a tremendous achievement and I had managed that almost by accident, I had walked into an outlet store, a Tommy Hilfiger of all things, the kind of store I usually never, ever approach. I had just walked in nonchalantly with my friend Fazilet, decided to try on a pair and OMG they were perfect. Thick denim, not that spandex filled, thin with the fake fade and wear kind of denim. The real thing… and the price had been right, they were on sale so I got them. Now they lay somewhere between North Bay and Winnipeg along the 17, or someone filched them accumulating bad Karma in the process…

Full of hope,  I jumped on the bike and crossed all the way across town to where Google maps said there was a Tommy Hilfiger store.


I get in this area and it’s store galore. A huge mall covering acres and acres of land. Everything from Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Safeway, Wall Mart, Adidas, Roots and Tommy all this basking in miles of spacious parking lots.  Shopping (heaven-hell).

All the way to the end I had to go to find the store.  I could hardly believe it was I actually there.  I walked in the store with crossed fingers.


“Hi there, can I help you?” said the bearded salesman.


“Yes, I’m looking for these jeans… I lost all my clothes on the road and I had purchased those jeans here, straight leg, thick denim..”


“Well we have this…” He gave me a pair and it looked wrong, wide legs, thin denim… I figured I’d give it a try. I did and they were wrong. There was a knock on the fitting room door. A woman’s voice.


“I got these, slim leg, they look better than those wider legs.” I opened the door and got the jeans and tried them on. Nope. Waist is too low. Can’t wear those on the bike, major air intake… and the fabric was thin…


I came out looking for the sales girl. I found her.

“Those are not the right ones… the jeans I lost had a thicker denim , the waist a little higher…” She walked over the jean racks again and she started to look in earnest into a section we had not checked so far.  I touched them, yes, this is the right fabric…  could it be?  These look like the right ones… thick, really well stitched…


“I got lots of size 2… size 10…”


“Here we go! Size 4!”


for the record : I’m not a size 4. In real life I am an 8 but these stores have worked out this vanity thing where you can say you’re an 8 if you are a 14 and a 4 if you are an 8… Anything to make the girls feel better.


I go in the fitting room, full of hope. I slide them on… YES!!  That’s it!  I’m laughing out loud. Giddy.  My quest is a successful one!


I went to pay for them, the price was even better than when I bought them the first time. I told the girl : “You SO made my day!!! Thank you!!!”


She replied :

“I don’t know what I would do if I lost my favorite pair of jeans!”


I went back to the bike smiling very wide. Kind of silly but still pretty cool. At least I now have pants to wear for my shows!


I’m wondering if I should buy a couple of extra pairs and stash them somewhere just in case… but one has to trust in fate and in the unfolding of life without worrying about this sort of thing. In time answers will appear. One has to  just trust.