Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Restaurant and a Riddle

Tuesday was a day just like any other for two wandering street musicians. We played by our favorite cafes and flower markets in Lister Platz, shared lunch by the center fountain, and laughed about some favorite "How I Met Your Mother" scenes during song breaks. (yes, we realize we have an addiction) It was a regular afternoon for the jongleurs, until we played Moon River...

Now Moon River is a beautiful song that we both enjoy performing. However, we always wonder what's going to happen when we start playing it... Believe it or not, something about the romantic "my Huckleberry friend, moon river and me" attracts crazies. For example, one time while performing this song in Paris, a guy stood screaming for literally one minute at us. Immediately following, a deranged couple danced around us and demanded to hear Mozart. Anyway, back to the original story.

So we were playing Moon River and a well-dressed man came up to us and said he wanted to hire us! Were we skeptical? Maybe a little. This is Moon River we're talking about - Moon River. But we exchanged information and crossed our fingers. As soon as we returned home there was an e-mail outlining a contract with Restaurant Eliniko for the next night! A paid gig in a fancy Greek restaurant??! Thank you, Moon River!

It might sound a bit "My Fair Lady"-esque to say this, but we felt like we had been taken in, cleaned up, and turned into high class ladies. Was it a hard transition? Oh, definitely not ;-) The restaurant was incredibly generous to us and had a specially made dinner prepared for us upon our arrival - complete with a heart shaped piece of lamb and a tomato carved into the shape of a rose :-) We performed for about three hours as walking musicians in the restaurant, serenading diners. Then at the end of the night, the chef presented us with a special Greek dessert!

Although a wonderful experience in so many ways, we did have a challenge last night...The restaurant was not particularly large, and we had about three different playing locations that were fairly close to each other. We had a twelve song set that we performed during the night in varying order, etc. It was a game of "When was the last time we played that?" and "Do you think this section heard us play that over there?" throughout the evening...but as you can imagine, after several hours of this our brains entered a really mushy state of confusion. So we need your help...We have twelve songs that have morphed into a riddle in our brains. Can you tell us what the twelve songs are?? ;-P

A Javanese Flower Smile Makes Lisa Caprice River Dance


Bella Hungarian Paganini Pearls Dream A La Notte Heart Bar

But we all know that,

Eleanor Peche carolle Mona de Rigby is Your No. 21 Duet Moon Wish

The Entrance to the Restaurant

Our Beautiful Dinner :-)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Bear-Dog and Leonardo Decaprio?

Snapshots of a Week in Hannover

A giant, extremely furry black dog that was as big as a bear!! Couldn't look away!

Making a less-than-1-year-old baby SMILE while we played!

A nice old man giving us 2 big pink roses as we performed - and they were the most wonderful smelling roses!!

Making 90 euros in one day after playing for only three hours!!

Bringing a woman to tears after playing Offenbach's 'Barcarolle'

Frozen in their tracks, a crowd of five tiny German kids staring at us with huuuge blue eyes

Getting encouragement from a politics/history/music professor, a violinist from the Hannover Radio Philharmonic, and a professional jazz/rock instrumentalist

Spending a rainy afternoon in a pub with three retired Hannover regulars. (One of which, Fritz, looks just like Santa Claus)

In the middle of one of our songs, a man caught our eye- as soon as we finished, we shouted to each other, 'THAT GUY LOOKED JUST LIKE LEONARDO DECAPRIO!' I swear, it was his twin!

While playing outside the train station, a woman generously gave us a five euro bill and then sat at a cafe to enjoy our music. It was special because she seemed to be there just to watch us and appreciate the art of the moment (which was especially meaningful because we were feeling very low!)

One of the adorable blue eyed children of Hannover :-)

Playing in front of the rose covered instrument case!

In the pub with Fritz (i.e. Santa) talking to me in German...Me: "Ummm..what?"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Philosophical Thought of the Day ;-)

Sometimes the weather is just miserable. And, from time to time the thought of re-living that vulnerable, awkward feeling of playing on a random street corner is enough to keep us home...Some days we are horribly aware of our necessity for money and the stress of it weighs on us. And other days, like this week, we simply feel sick and want to collapse not perform. And..believe it or not, there are days where we even aren't happy with each other.

But we've discovered something really interesting, on days like those. The moment we start playing, our problems disappear for a moment. Cheesy? Ok, I didn't know how to write it without sounding corny. But it's really true - when we're making music, we don't feel sick, tired, upset with situations/each other. Between pieces we will re-lapse into our funks, but the second the piece begins we're fine again. We've wondered why, but haven't found an answer. Maybe we assume a performance mode that we're so trained to have? Maybe the music allow us to escape? Maybe playing music is the emotional outlet we need to stay balanced? Well, whatever it is - it's confirmation that we were born for this!

The Old District of Hannover

Beautiful Old Building in Hannover..I should learn the name of this...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sick Jongleurs :-/

Well, we've come down with a cold :-(

I'm feeling a lot better today but Annelise has unfortunately taken a turn for the worse with her cough keeping her up all night, etc. So we're getting a lot of Halo 3 practice in and memorizing seasons of How I Met Your Mother. That's productive, right? ;-)

In between waves of sickness we've managed to have some good times here in Hannover. Last night we went out to an Irish Pub with some friends for a weekly pop quiz time the pub hosts. It was fun and we won all the rounds! And, to top it off, the owner offered me a job for the fall!

We've been getting re-acquainted with the best playing spots in Hannover, but the sickness has put a damper on significant progress. We're hoping for a better start next week :-) For now, drinking peppermint tea and taking medicine is the weekend lineup.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

On to Deutschland!!

Our Final Hour in Paris...

19h15: On the train from Epinay Sur Orge suburb, holding our breath. Ok, that sounds too calm. We weren't just holding our breath. We were freaking out, pacing, and kicking ourselves big time for leaving so late.

19h50: Sprinting through the Saint Michel Metro Station (and I really mean sprinting), throwing luggage under turn stiles and knocking anyone out of the way (no mercy!). Also I think we quite possibly broke the record for "fastest metro ticket purchase"

20h00: Crammed in the metro, watching stations go by at what seemed a snail's pace

20h10: Pants nearly falling down as we race through the Gare de L'Est station, sweating and screaming "what platform, what platform??"

20h15: With only 5 minutes to spare, on our train to Germany!!!

We arrived in Hanover on Saturday morning after an all night train ride. It was a wonderful reunion with my cousin Nic, but all we could think about was sleeping. And so we did...all day! haha. It feels great to be here in what is truly a home away from home.

Our last week in Paris was a mix of long playing days (5 hours every day) to save for our trip to Deutschland, and some fun outings. We had a unique experience at the Catacombs and an unforgettably fun day with our friends Mathilde and Pauline at Disneyland Paris. A really special moment for us was visiting L'Opera Garnier. For the last two years we have had a poster in our Normal apartment of the inside of this opera house, so to be there together was surreal.

We're excited to spend the next month here enjoying Germany and will begin to perform again tomorrow! On the train we wrote up some ideas for new arrangements that we are excited to give a try :-) It's hard to believe that we've already been on our Jongleur adventure for 3 weeks!