And now, finally, back to my trip report about going to Quebec for Camp Violon Trad and Memoire et Racines! In the last post, I talked about the locale and scenery of where the camp was held. In this post, I’ll talk about what we actually did! Or at least some of what we did, because there was a lot, and that’ll stretch across multiple posts.
This past Monday I had my annual mammogram.
This afternoon, Dara alerted me that Evergreen had left me a message on our home answering machine asking me to call them. This is not normal procedure when a mammogram goes well. I got through to them after a couple of tries, and was informed by their staffer that their radiologists want me to come in for an ultrasound of my left side.
Doublechecking my January 2013 posts, I am reminded that this is not the first time I’ve had a questionable mammogram. In 2013, they told me they saw teeny calcifications on the left side, and after they did a biopsy, they told me it was fine.
I am nervous now, four years later, to be informed that they want an ultrasound of that same side. So now I am scheduled to go back in for an ultrasound, on Wednesday of next week, and I get to be nervous about this until then.
I will now be doggedly focusing on trying to be the least amount of nervous I can manage, because goddammit, cancer, I do not have time for your shit. I have writing to do. I have tunes to learn. And I have a fiddle to learn how to play better.
Especially because goddammit I am going to Quebec this summer, for Camp Violon Trad, as I’ve been wanting to do for ages now. Dara and I are beginning a plan for her to meet up with me after the camp is done, for Memoire et Racines, which I’ve been wanting to go back to ever since the brief and awesome time we had there in 2012. We’re discussing the possibility of meeting up with Vicka there, even.
And I have a lot riding on this, you guys. Because not only is Violon Trad run by two of my favorite Quebec musicians–André Brunet and Éric Beaudry, along with their colleague Stéphanie Lépine–this is going to be the 10th anniversary of the camp, which is sure to make it extra epic this year.
Pretty much guaranteeing that it will be epic: ALL FOUR MEMBERS OF LE VENT DU NORD WILL BE GUEST TEACHERS.
Which means, Internets, that I’m going to be at a music camp that will contain André Brunet (from whom I have already had the pleasure of a couple of excellent workshops, now), Éric Beaudry (because BOY HOWDY do I want to spend multiple days learning guitar from this man, YES PLEASE), AND Olivier Demers (who, as y’all may recall, I dubbed the Best Fiddle Player Ever).
I am not remotely ready to tackle playing the fiddle in a full-bore week-long camp like Violon Trad–I’ll be going for the guitar classes, mostly. But I will also be bringing at least some flutes. And now that I actually do own the fiddle I’ve been renting (I bought it because woo! promotion and bonus!), along with a bow that doesn’t suck, I will ALSO be taking that fiddle to try to at least learn SOMETHING.
Because why yes an opportunity to learn tunes from Olivier Demers will make up for how I haven’t seen Le Vent perform in over a year, and I haven’t seen them perform with Olivier for over two years.
I AM DOING THIS AND NO OTHER OUTCOME IS ACCEPTABLE.
TAKE THAT, questionable mammogram results. >:|
As I’ve already written about several times on my blog, it’s always a pleasure to hear Le Vent du Nord perform–although this time, it was on a seriously rainy Wednesday night at the Rogue. Yet the loyal fans filled the place nonetheless!
This time too we actually were without Olivier Demers. If you’ve been following my posts and have seen my earlier Le Vent concert posts, you know Olo’s my favorite of all the members of the group! (And I’m not just saying that because he follows me on Facebook and therefore might actually read this. Auquel cas je dois dire SALUT OLO!)
But this time he had to stay home, due to having a death in his family. 🙁 He posted to his Facebook wall that his father had passed away just a couple of days before the show. (And I was simultaneously very sad to hear the news and a bit relieved to have been warned about it in advance, because if I’d shown up without knowing M. Demers wouldn’t be on hand, I would have been even sadder!)
So Le Vent had to pull in Jean-François Gagnon Branchaud as emergency backup fiddler. If you know Quebecois trad, you may well recognize his name as one of the two fiddlers currently playing with La Bottine Souriante, who also sings some lead on La Bottine’s last album. And if you know La Bottine, you know that anybody who plays for them is guaranteed to bring their A game to a stage. Jean-François did not disappoint, and so even though we all missed Olivier, it was still a delightful show!
Let’s get down to the details, shall we?
Victoria/Cumberland 2014 Trip, Day 4: Le Vent du Nord at the Cumberland Hotel, 3/11/2014
And now, O Internets, the second to last post of my Victoria and Cumberland vacation series–in which Dara,
Previously in this particular adventure, Dara and I saw Le Vent in Victoria! And then we explored a bunch of rocks before Dara sang that night! And then we explored Cumberland and sang some more!
It’s truly fitting that we wound up the trip with one hell of a gig out of les gars. Because don’t get me wrong, you guys–I enjoyed the symphony show immensely, but even after only four shows’ worth of experience, I’m here to tell you that the best way to enjoy Le Vent du Nord is in a tiny, cozy venue. Preferably front row center. With a MAMMOTH.
Sunday the 9th was my and Dara’s day of downtime in Victoria, to give ourselves a bit of breathing space between the Saturday night symphony show and the trip northward to Cumberland. We spent the day on some exploration down to the Mile 0 marker and then along the rocks along the beach, and the evening went to giving Dara a chance to make some music of her own!
But before that happened, while Dara stayed at the room and practiced, I went out on a quest to find soy-based yogurt. Which is easier said than done right now, and I wound up going on quite the hike through downtown Victoria–hitting multiple markets, and eventually wandering several blocks south of our hotel. And given that I was trying to use Google Maps as a reference point without actually using any Internet, this was, shall we say, challenging.
I learned for my troubles that somewhere in the area there had to be a Safeway, since another walker passed me pushing a Safeway cart. I didn’t find that Safeway. And by the time I ducked into market #3, dubious about my chances, Dara finally texted me to ask if I wanted to go look at the Mile 0 marker with her. I said yes, came back to the hotel to meet up with her, and promptly went with her back over many of the same blocks I’d just walked as we headed down through Beacon Hill Park.
Which, it must be said, was quite lovely. There was a great big pond ringed by some flower-strewn slopes, and there was a grove of cherry trees along one stretch of the road we were following, too. There was even a guy out playing his bagpipes.
(Pictures and the rest of the day behind the fold!)
Victoria/Cumberland 2014 trip, Day 1: Le Vent du Nord at the Royal Theater, Victoria BC, 3/8/2014
In which I react to the possibility of what might happen if Le Vent du Nord were to actually come to Seattle for a concert, and ideally, to do the same block of workshops, concert, and after party that so splendidly happened here with Genticorum before!
Me: Because JESUS SKIPPING JUMP ROPE CHRIST if she can get them here and do the workshop and then after party thing and if I could wind up with my actual instruments in my actual hands in a room occupied by Olivier goddamn Demers eeeeeee XD ahem.
Yes, that would be PLEASANT.
Taliesin chuckles. …. and get invited to sit in… 🙂
Me: Dude I am NOT good enough to actually seriously play along with Olivier. But in a session context, everybody‘s playing, so that’s OKAY. And I will absolutely happily park in any workshop he does for an opportunity to slurp tunes out of his brain. 😀 😀
Taliesin: Zombie Anna? Eat musician brains?
Me: I don’t wanna eat his brain! He needs it! No no I just wanna slurp ALL THE TUNES out of it! And okay yeah fine I could swipe some of Dara’s knowledge transfer equipment but that’s no fun, because then I couldn’t hear him PLAY. 😉
Dara: You’d think ‘copy’ would be easier than ‘move,’ wouldn’t you? And yet.
Me: Yeah working out all the pesky bugs out of the non-destructive copy functionality, that’s the tricky part.
Dara: Also, wildcards don’t work in brainOS like they do in Linux. That discovery was… interesting.
And now I gotta work on that “this isn’t a flute, this is a stringless fiddle with holes” perception filter so I can crash workshops full of fiddlers…