What a wonderful evening we had at the TSB Festival of Lights this year on January 20th. I was joined on stage by Jarrod Bakker from Wellington on keys/hammond organ and Wes James on bass/guitar. We have been collaborating for a couple of months, and it was a privilege to share the stage with these two talented and experienced musicians.
Jarrod and I met through Dave Carnahan, who produced my EP, and he laid down a beautiful hammond organ part on one of my original songs 'Till You Can Be True'. We didn't meet each other until Jarrod and his girlfriend came to watch a show at Acoustic Routes in Wellington last year, which I performed with Janet Muggeridge. After that time we got to know each other a little better and I asked if he would collaborate for the festival of the lights.
One time late last year when I visited Wellington for a rehearsal with Jarrod, we ended up practising in a very hot and sweaty yoga space (post hot yoga class) right off Cuba Street. The only issue being, that when I booked the space, I didn't realise it was up two flights of stairs!
Jarrod and I lugged his hammond, the amps, guitars, music stands and keyboard clumsily up the stairs, acting like a relay team, as one of us carried gear, while the other watched the car to make sure nothing was taken. We laughed about it afterwards and at the time I thought it would have made a really fun short video, if we had been able to capture all the intricacies of setting up a rehearsal in a new space.
It was such a treat to perform in Pukekura Park, where there is such a diverse range of amazing trees and plants life, with so many hidden tracks to discover. It is the one place in this city that always brings calm to me, and it is such a blessing to have this kind of space in New Plymouth for everyone to enjoy.
Thanks to the organisers of the TSB Festival of Lights, particularly Lisa Ekdahl for putting on an amazing event that was so well organised.
And thanks to William King for putting together this video of our version of John Lennon's 'Imagine'. You can watch it below.
My recent trip to Sydney was somewhat long. My flight through from New Plymouth to Auckland could not take off as there was too much fog in Auckland for the plane to land. This resulted in an 8 hour delay in Wellington Airport.
At the best of times, I can't go without 7-8 hours of sleep. And lately good deep sleep has been somewhat elusive. So I was slightly grumpy to say the least. It was interesting observing people getting frustrated and angry at the flight officials, which seems to be a natural response when things don't go our way, and something I have definitely done before.
But then I decided to change my thoughts about the situation. Complaining about it was not going to make it go away, and it would cause me (and others) to feel worse. I decided to think about what opportunities were there to be grateful due to this delay.
Firstly it meant I was able to have a coffee with my girlfriend which I otherwise would not have had. Secondly, I was grateful to the woman on the other end of the phone who went out of her way to re-book my flight so I could arrive to Sydney the same day.
I had time to myself to write, to reflect and to catch up on emails that I had been putting off.
Then when I arrived to Sydney I met Dave at the railway station. We got chatting after he noticed I had a guitar. He explained to me that he lived in the station, and recently had had three guitars stolen from different locations whilst busking.
He also talked about his recent health issues which were significant. He played me a song 'Romeo & Juliet' and showed me some of his blues licks.
I was confronted immediately by the number of people living on the streets as I walked around Newtown & the city. It was such a cold night, and I really felt for them.
Later that evening someone commented 'they choose to live that way you know', to which I found myself getting annoyed. Firstly it annoyed me because I really can't stand generalisations, no matter who they are about. Secondly, I asked myself 'why would anyone in their right mind choose to sleep out on the street rather than in a warm bed? Why would someone forgo the luxuries of home that we take for granted, such as a hot shower, a comfy bed and a hot meal?'
It is so easy to judge others. It is so easy to judge everything in our world. Someone judges a homeless person, and then I judge someone for judging them!!!
Something I read recently said 'when we judge others, we are judging ourselves'.
I walked away from Dave grateful to have a warm house to stay in and money in my pocket.
I also realised the power of music and how it can connect us on a deeper level. It didn't cost me anything and yet I felt like I gained so much from chatting to Dave and listening to him.
I decided that random acts of kindness to strangers (or people we know) are totally underrated. It only takes a bit of creativity as well as staying open to the opportunities that are right in front of us.
And today, I am working on judging myself a little bit less than yesterday.