Not sure how this post will unfold, but I feel like writing.
This month has been totally full on playing music, and it's been very, very satisfying. And I know it's not over, with my third solo coming up on Christmas Day.
I've been teaching and it's been fun, rewarding and exciting. I've been practising with my guru-cousin for the Christmas concert, and I've been loving it. And I've been jamming a lot recently, like never before. I used to feel envious of those music-playing hippie travellers, because I somehow would feel inadequate and not good enough - I have this tendency to believe any other musician is better than me. But recently I've been meeting the same really nice travelling folks, and I've been feeling pretty comfortable with them. It's very new. I don't know how not to sound nasty saying this but I usually have no interest in meeting travellers because I just can't be bothered making the effort of small talk if they're leaving soon. Even with other long-term non-Indian musicians I kind of feel different and uncomfortable, and I generally try to hang out with Indians. But. There's a big but: I can't deny my background - and my musical background - and it is also very nice to spend time with non-Indians, especially musicians. When it works out it's just wonderful to play non-Indian music once in a while because I don't have to care about raga rules or difficult cyclic rhythm, I can just play anything the way I feel it, the way it flows out of my body... And although for years I wasn't a musician, I have been listening to so much music of all kinds over the years that I do have some sort of musical intuition or perhaps maturity - I do surprise myself with the inspiration I have, which is precisely why I should jam with non-Indian musicians from time to time, for the fun of it, and in order not to always look higher than myself. Indeed when I just jam freely, I realise how much I've learnt from learning strict Indian classical music, how much it has made me capable of playing other types of music, and I feel profoundly grateful to my Guruji! That's when I realise that I have actually made massive progress and I have become very comfortable with my own instrument to just play whatever. My mind still has a faint memory of how uncomfortable I used to feel at the thought of playing in front of other people; today though I have to get used to a new me - a Vio known as a musician, a Vio known as a good violinist. Yes, people here know me for my violin, and wow, it still feels surreal sometimes. And people even say I'm talented; in fact I have recently been bombarded with positive feedback and compliments, and it such a wonderful dream come true that it sometimes brings shivers to my body and tears to my eyes.
And at those jams, when a French woman has brought her accordion I get totally overexcited with the novelty, the groove that it brings and the new inspiration that I get. There's also a Balkan oud player, a lovely folky guitar player from the USA, and last night I sat with a really nice, more middle-eastern/klezmer guitar player from Israel... And there's my new guru-bhai, a lovely Chilli-Brazilian multi-instrumentalist musician who's been learning Indian violin from Sukhdev for two months. He's learning Hindi and needs to practise it with someone so we're having great skill-exchange sessions in which I speak with him in Hindi and teach him bits of grammar, whist he gives me classes in western harmony and chord theory - something I've been wanting to learn for years to accompany western musicians better. I adore these sessions because my new teacher revives some old childhood memories about music theory which had been hidden in the deep corners of my mind for decades. We complement each other beautifully and I learn such great stuff that I'm excited like a little girl. Back to Hindustani violin, I've been playing ragas with a lovely girlfriend (my oldest friend in Varanasi actually) who plays slide-guitar, which has been greatly inspiring as well. So yeah, my days are filled with practising music alone and with many other lovely souls. Music from morning to evening, music without end, music til I collapse exhausted onto my bed at night for sleep, but it's so very inspiring and liberating and rewarding, and it has given me new energy and even entrancing moments of pure joy...
So yeah, I am finally coming to terms with my shyness and getting used to the new thought - fact? - that I am indeed accepted as a talented musician around here... ♥
A note on my three blogs
A note on my blogs
(1) vio; in love with india - this one is the main blog about my Indian adventures, which started in 2005. I don't write much on this blog these days because I prefer to write privately in the confidential blog. But check out the categories and the index to figure out your way. I have kept some older posts not about India but which I still find interesting or relevant in Old words. Also check out my new, fun category Only in India in which I post photos of funny, unique, Indian situations...
(2) vio; sounds of india - this is my blog of sounds, because India wouldn't be as incredible if it was not so vibrant and just so full of incredible sounds!
(3) vio; confidential - this an extension of my main blog in which I post entries I do not want to reveal to the entire webspace for privacy or sensitivity reasons. You must receive an invitation from me and then accept the invitation to be able to read it. You may email me if you are interested in receiving an invitation.