A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Not Throwing Up On The Way To An Apollo's Banquet in Lillooet
Thursday, June 12, 2008

On our way to Lillooet to visit Ale, a couple of weeks ago I got ourselves lost by going straight at Mt Currie instead of turning right at the white church. We arrived at a native Canadian reservation called Darcy and soon a sign said, "road ends in 300 meters". That was exactly the case so by the time we drove back to the white church and then took the right turn we arrived late at Ale's house. The latter part of the journey was not pleasant as Lauren got very sea sick and in complete character decided not to throw up into a plastic bag because, "There is a smell in this bag. And I don't like it."

In typical random Ale fashion, ignoring the fact that Rosemary (her mother) likes to arrive and then relax, Ale decided to invite her four musicians friends to greet us with a concert. This was the last possible situation that Rosemary would want. We arrived and the musicians were there. To make it worse Ale told us that everybody was staying for dinner. She was going to make quesadillas. But Rosemary noted Ale had no cheese but happily we had brought tortillas the smaller Don Pancho corn tortillas we all really like). The musicians were playing in the unlikely combinatin of a tenor sax, violin (or banjo), two guitars and electric (yes electric) percussion.

Greg Mahaits, violin and banjo, had his chair right at the exit from Ale's porch to her back yard. He had the commanding presence of someone who has worked for the railroad for most of his life. I decided then an there to be civil. I was and my reward was a good time of music being played surrounded by the silence of the countryside and a sunset right there by the mountains I could almost touch. Lauren and Rebecca were running around and I understood Ale's inspired decision to have her musician friends over (even if they had to wait because of our two hour late arrival).

The music I heard included sounds I had heard an hour before. It was the 17th century music collection from the English Publications of John Playford. The back of the CD (Apollo's Banquet - John Playford - with David Douglass, violin, Paul O'Dette, theorbo, Andrew Lawrence-King, harp. The CD is one of Rebecca's favourite, specially since she has met Paul Duglass and his soprano wife Ellen Hargis.

The back of the CD reads: A 17th century jam session. The ability to improvise was as important to the 17th century musicians as it is to contemporary jazz players.

Not only did that remind me of what I was listening to but the music itself sounded very much like some of the "grounds" (variations on a theme) in the CD. I sat down and I had soon forgotten our detour to Darcy. I purposely went out to the back garden to listen to the sounds and then I noticed the glow in the sky. I knew I had to take a picture. In the picture, from left to right:

Paul Dickinson, guitar, Kerry Coast, tenor saxophone and guitar, Greg Mahaits,banjo and violin, Lauren Stewart, Alexandra Waterhouse-Hayward, guitar, Rebecca Stewart and Catherine Neumann, guitar and drums.

We had ground meat tacos and I made a spicy salsa with tomatoes, serrano peppers, lime, salt and cilantro. It was simply a feast for all the senses, an Apollo's banquet.

Addendum: When Kerry Coast (who plays beautifully by ear) tried to accompany the CD, Apollo's Banquet she was unable to. I have since found out from Glenys Webster who told me, "The CD is probably in the pitch A 415Hz while modern pitch is A 440Hz."


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