Happy Holidays, music and friends

December 26, 2013

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It’s warm, 12 degrees Celsius. I sit at Kahve Dunyasi outside for my espresso… It feels like spring is already on the way. Yes I know I’m sorry for you Eastern North Americans, but this is new stuff for me. I was warned about the “hard” Istanbul winters and was bracing for it. I was about to buy boots, gloves, hat and wool scarf but I may not need it…

Last Monday I had an amazing show at Karakedi, with Eren and Joris… I decided to play the Alien Suite in its entirety. For once I decided to sit down to play. take the time… not be rushed, play the slow songs. It was really a good night, everything fluid. I am so incredibly grateful for these two musicians. They bring so much to the songs…

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On Christmas eve, we put up the decorations, we made a psychedelic tree with one of the plants in the cafe. They had given me the job of buying decorations then decorating because I am a westerner… I was trying to say that I might be the worst person to do this since I’ve been pretty much been boycotting Xmas and its insanity for quite a few years now but to no avail.

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Last week we went to the bazar, yes I bought Christmas decorations in the Grand Bazar… well the “locals” part of it and I was with a local so I wasn’t gouged with massive yabanci inflation! At first I was quite at a loss; what do I get? Light always work for me, and I like to see Christmas as the celebration of the return of the longer days and light… then it took some coaxing from Yuksel… “get something!” I got garlands, some mini Santas, some balls, ribbon; I always remember my mom had these hand made red bows with an elastic that we’d put on the tree so I got some red, gold and silver ribbon.

So we started to work on the decorations but Yuksel would not really let me do anything except give him pieces of tape and such non-decisional tasks and I let him go at it.

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Later friends arrived, Roman who used to work at Chillout while I was doing reception showed up and his smile always light up the room. He had a plan to go to the church and hear the choir at Christmas eve mass. We were joined by Vladimir a french tourist and we headed out on crowded Istiklal.

I realized on the street how un-Christmas things were, I mean anywhere in North America at that time of night most have arrived where they’re going, the shops are closed and the merriment is about to start. But here it’s Istiklal as usual except for some random Santas populating the street.

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We get to the church, an amazing building, sorry I don’t know which one it is, but it’s glorious. The courtyard is full of people, throngs coming for a shot of Christian Christmas.

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Roman pushes ahead, we soon lose him in the crowd. Then the choir started.

…..

hmm…

First thing was a weak snare drum flap immedately followed by a wimpy keyboard sound going through a poorly EQ’ed PA system… then, the singing started… I’m sorry to say but it was terrible…

In Quebec we have this “strong” tradition of choirs, and Christmas eve concert is the ultimate achievement, goal, honor… even the smallest villages have a choir that sounds at the very least, very keen, motivated, elevated… this here was, well, bad.

Imagine the untight, out of tune chorus singing “Rejoice!” it had a slight thing of reminiscent of a horror movie. In hell, if it existed, they would play that kind of music. Torture on a very slow, never ending pace… I took photos… everyone was taking photos… the Turkish people in the audience seem to really wonder what the hoopla was all about and many people were just filing out as fast as they had come in… I listened to 2 ½ songs trying to be polite but I can only take so many bad notes and I exited out along with a lot of people, in the middle of the mass… unimaginable!!!

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We went back to Chillout, and I had to laugh out loud when I saw that Roman had already escaped the torture and had gotten here ahead of us! We broke out some food and drinks and guitars. Sang, had a good time with old and new friends, drank raki and ate bread, olives, cucumbers, radish and cheese, then topped this with lokum and baklava… too much sugar there was.. but we had a good time, I was feeling nicely festive.

A guy from Georgia told us about a place called Ganja, yes like the weed, he showed us a special coin and gave us, in true holiday spirit a bottle of Russian vodka, which I did not touch… (vodka is deadly to me… )

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I tried to take photos of the guys next to the gifted bottle but somehow all I got were blurs… photos of denial but I can tell you the bottle did not survive past the night…

guy 1:

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guy 2:

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guy 3:

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Strange phenomenon…

but we did enjoy the night…

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Here is my two new Greek friends Nico and Georges

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Next day, well, later that day on Christmas day for some reason I started to feel slightly blue. Not sure why but I decided to go back to room 10 and work on the murale I had in progress in there. I started around 5 PM and stopped at around 4 AM, yeah, did it again.

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Meron showed up as I was setting up, he helped me with painting little dots all over the wall. I love my friends

Maybe it was the talk of plans by different people that I was hearing around me: “In May I’ll do this, in July I’ll do that…” it got me seeing that I have no plans… well, I have ideas of things I would like to do but what I realize is that I feel somewhat paralyzed because I don’t have the money to make these things happen. Right now I live from concert to concert. 60 to 100 lira take me to the next week’s show (30 to 50 dollars). But travel costs money.

I have ideas of going to India maybe, traveling through Turkey either on foot, motorbike or horseback (!) I have this class paid for in Greece and I am told I should totally see Greece, I have my friends in the South of France I really want to go see at some point. Asbjorn and Lynn will be in Morocco in May I think… So this morning I was thinking that I need to conjure up some kind of work in the next few months that would allow me to do these things while I am on this continent.

My friend Sarah leaving Istanbul in a few weeks made me aware of all the things I wished to do and did not do… I am afraid that the moment I go back to North America, coming back would be difficult. I find very difficult to make any sort of decision right now, my feeling is that I have to wait for the answers to come.

In the mean time, it is gorgeous here. Life is good to me. I am safe, fed, among friends, able to be creative and share whatever talents and energies with the people around me.

Merry everything to you all.

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One Response to “Happy Holidays, music and friends”

  1. David Says:

    Merry Christmas dear Danielle and soon a happy new year,
    Love, David


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