Monday, May 30, 2011

And Today We Clapped for Ourselves.

Being a street musician is great. I mean, we're in Paris eating Nutella crepes and drinking wine under the lights of the Eiffel Tower. We would love to make you believe that it is all picture perfect all the time...But then we remember...

- Blisters galore.

- Owners kicking us away as soon as we open our cases...5 times in a row

- Clapping for ourselves because no one seems to care. i.e. Performing a rousing version of a Paginini Caprice and...silence.

- Playing on a random street corner, in the baking sun, next to a pile of dog poop, with flies buzzing. Why? Because no one wanted us anywhere else.

- Playing a 45 minute set in front of the breathtaking Sacre Coeur and receiving the incredible amount of!! Oh yea, nothing.

- Trying to find a good spot to play but winding up walking miles just to discover there is nowhere for us to play in that area and we should just go home (again, the blisters)

- Being totally parched from performing for hours and having NOWHERE to find water. Oh yea, and no bathrooms anywhere. So we're thirsty and have to pee, and are playing with blisters on our feet. And clapping for ourselves. Next to a pile of dog poop.

All in all, the life of a street musician is a continual adventure - a roller coaster of ups and downs.

After a bad day of playing, walking forever, and getting stuck at a train station for an unnecessarily long time.

Trying to sit. Fail.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Starting the Second Week in Paris :-)

We have spent a full week here in Paris already, can you believe it?? We are beginning to feel very at home :-)

Saturday night was a special evening with Mathilde's family. It was her father's 50th Birthday, so the family hosted a spectacular party for him. Outdoor tables with candles, champagne, delectable pastries...It was a soiree :-) Myriam, our wonderful French Mom, asked us to play some music! Of course, we were excited to do this!! It was really special to be able to give in that way to such an amazing group of people.

Mathilde and I

As we've continued to play in the same areas, we've begun to feel a part of a community. Shop owners in St. Michel have taken us in, giving us crepes on our breaks and making us feel welcome. They are always having trouble with our names so they call us "California" and "Chicago"!

Our friend at the crêperie across from one of our favorite playing spots :-)

Every night on the train ride home we laugh and talk about our experiences with the people we met that day. In just three hours or so of performing today, we met so many people from all over the world. We made a wonderful new friend, Joshua - a musician from San Francisco who is wandering Europe. We shared dinner together in Montmartre and exchanged stories!

Yay! We have an American buddy now!

The night was filled with more eclectic interactions. A Dad from Chile recorded a video of us performing "Moon River" to show his two little girls who also play flute and violin. An Australian couple encouraged us to come visit Perth and be street musicians there (a future Jongleur adventure, perhaps??) A group of Asian tourists had an all-out photo shoot with us - there were about 5 large Nikon cameras on us and each of them took turns having a picture with us as we played!! An Austrian pianist and flutist talked with us about their experiences as university teachers and symphony members. And, a DJ from New Morning Jazz Club here in Paris invited us to collaborate with him in the next couple of weeks!!

Traveling as a street musician feels completely different than being a tourist. It's as though you become part of the texture of a city - a piece of the culture, if only for a day. But for me, the most amazing aspect of it is the relationships built through it. The monuments, museums, and statues are inspiring and incredible. But, it's the people we meet, even just for a moment, that are leaving the biggest impression on me.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Top 10 Moments From the Last Two Days :-)

1.Having two Parisian restaurant owners fight over us - (La Crêperie won!)

2.Meeting a kind, old French man who was a singer and told us "I love Americans because they died for me in Normandy - I remember!"

3.Being almost trampled by large packs of touring German kids that seem to be overtaking the city this week

4.Performing under the shadow of the La Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre (we never lack inspiration here!)

5.Receiving a 10 euro and 5 euro bill from our loving audience near the Artist's Square at Place du Tertre in Montmartre!!

6.Accompanying a wandering Canadian singer who heard us performing "Mona Lisa" and joined in :-)

7.Collaborating with a fellow street musician, a violinist, who wanted to play with us after hearing us from the street over

8.Ending each day with a peaceful time in Notre Dame Cathedral or Sacré-Coeur, taking in the awe-inspiring beauty of those sanctuaries and saying a prayer of thanks

9.Eating at least 2 nutella crêpes a day - those count as meals, right??

10.Being two Bohemian musicians in Paris, laughing and enjoying life here together - how amazing to be in this beautiful and inspiring place!!

Annelise with Marcel, the French singer (See #2)

With the kind crêperie owner who fought for us to play outside his shop! (See #1)

Enjoying a crêpe in Montmartre :-)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

We Played For You, Mona Lisa

Voila! Our first day of playing in Paris!

Now this was my (Annelise's) first day of playing on the street ever. Raylene played in Germany last summer, but it was our first time together. It was a very strange feeling just setting down my case and taking my violin out to play in front of tons of people!

We had arranged and memorized six songs to play together: Lakme Flower Duet, Barcarolle by Offenbach, part of Peche de Perles by Bizet, Paganini Caprice No. 21, Mona Lisa, and Bella Notte. I was pretty nervous, but I found it comforting to actually play the music. We first played in a cafe/bar/shop-filled cobblestone street near St. Michel. At our first location pick, a restaurant owner shooed us away from the area! It was actually a little embarrassing... But also ironic, considering an hour later a restaurant owner excitedly asked us to play near his cafe ;)

We just played for two hours in the St. Michel area, but in that time we found a favorite spot. We were originally drawn to it because of a set of colorful fliers announcing concerts of VIVALDI and BACH- we felt at home :) While playing here, a woman came up to us complimenting us on our playing, and pointing to her husband who was listening in a window above us. They took snapshots of us, and even printed them out in their hotel for us to have! We discovered that they were from Louisiana; it was nice to chat with fellow Americans.

Although we intended to play for the rest of the day, we were thoroughly distracted by the beauty of Paris, and wound up wandering all the way from the Notre Dame area to under the Eiffel Tower - a NINE mile walk along the Seine!!

But, along this walk we had many adventures- first, we ended up at the Louvre, with the crazy idea of performing Mona Lisa in front of the...'home' of Mona Lisa! So we stood in the shadow of a large statue in the center of the square, and started playing. 30 seconds later, Louvre security ran over to tell us we needed a license. The sad part is that we hadn't even started playing Mona Lisa yet! Fail. Next, we found ourselves on Alexander III bridge, Raylene's favorite bridge in Paris. This bridge has the most amazing view of the Eiffel, so we played with possibly the most beautiful backdrop! These adventures reminded us of how excited we are for a whole summer of stepping on to the most stunning "stages" a musician could find. And this was just the first day!!

p.s., Heather Graham sighting at a Cafe...!!!!! I was extremely starstruck.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Et voilà! Nous sommes à Paris!

We are writing from a quaint and peaceful suburb of Paris - the home of our wonderful friend Mathilde! It's nice to feel settled in such a great place after a weekend of craziness...Long story short, I left my duffel bag in Bucharest because I couldn't afford the checked baggage requirement of easyjet. So, now I am wearing the same dress everyday! Life is an adventure :-) Annelise must have wanted to do the same thing, because she left the terminal without her luggage too! Thankfully, she got it back so both of us are not too homeless looking.

Here is a picture of me in the only outfit I have now!!

We spent the afternoon at a cafe near Notre Dame Cathedral. We were thankful for the cappuccinos after our respective travels! An accordionist serenaded us - Cliche, much? ;-) It was all very Paris!

We had our first experience together in the metro, trying to find our way out of the city center and to our new home. This will be more fun in the future sans luggage!! (At least I had less of it this time around! haha)

Now we are happily enjoying our time with Mathilde and her family. It is great to practice our french at the dinner table, laughing together over accents and wrong conjugations. It's very beautiful and relaxing here, a perfect location to practice and prepare for our first performance on the streets of Paris. Now that we have "re-charged our batteries" and had time with our music, we plan to perform tomorrow!!

Here is a picture of Annelise at the house ~

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Today we had an article published about our trip in the Pantagraph! You can check it out here-

Raylene is fluting away in Romania, whilst I am doing a million little things to get ready to leave (as well as packing up my apartment!)

Only six days until Paris, where the adventure begins!