Friday, January 29, 2010

Musical Tour del Mondo II

So the first Musical Tour post made me think about some of the cool musical experiences I've had whilst travelling... so drumroll please and in no particular order....

Ah- the Prodigal Son. Once upon a time, I lived in Modena, aka the Hometown of Ferrari, Balsamic Vinegar and Luciano Pavarotti. Each year, Pavarotti would stage a charity concert and invite some 'friends.' The year we went, Pavarotti was joined on stage by Lionel Ritchie, Ricky Martin and Deep Purple (just to name a few!) Random collection of musicians? Yes. Memorable? Definitely.

Wandering the cobble-stoned streets of this beautiful Croatian island, I stumbled across an empty restaurant with a lovely waitress out the front offering honeyed figs (sounds a bit biblical, no?!) Being enticed into the courtyard, an accordian player started playing. Upon finding out about my Australianess, he launched into a version of Waltzing Matilda. He then requested I scribe the lyrics down onto a napkin. Turns out he spent his teenage years in Australia. Attending my school's brother high school. Small world!

Touts try and entice you into their karaoke studio. We decided we liked the look of one particular tout, so he led us up a darkened stairwell. Once we had fixed up the financial side of things, we were shown to our suite. You get a song book to thumb through.... which happens to be the size of a phone book.

And then the fun begins....

The best part of it all is that each suite has it's own telephone to the front desk so you can phone your drink orders through. Genius!

Interested to hear about your favourite musical traveling moments....

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Musical Tour del Mondo

January in Sydney is sweaty, salty, sultry and all about the Southerlies that sweep across the city of an afternoon, cooling the city down. Sydneysiders in January bear sun-kissed skin and revel in holiday mode.

Sydney's January is also synonymous with the Sydney Festival, when the city opens it's arms to musicians, artists and entertainers from across the world. Sydneysiders get the chance to travel the world without leaving the comfort or summer beauty of their Harbour City.

Here are some glimpses into this year's Festival that have allowed me to daydream about faraway lands without the cost of a plane ticket......

Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro from Japan... potentially the world's funkiest funk band (and just so cute that I want to squish their cheeks.)

Check them out and visualise squishing their cheeks here...
Our next overseas trip (departing next week) is to India. This year's Festival has had quite an Indian influence, which has gotten me all excited about the Indian adventure to come....
We were treated to a Bollywood spectacle thanks to AR Rahman (who did the music to a little film you may have heard of... Slumdog Millionaire.)


Then one of the most haunting and uplifting musical concepts, direct from Rajasthan, India... the Manganiyar Seduction.

43 musicians compartementalised into a 'magic box' structure with each box being bordered by carnival lights and red curtains, and each musician being 'revealed'as the music unfolds. Unlike anything I have ever seen....

Hailing from Montreal, this is a shot from DJ Poirier's set.
The streets are closed off and DJs spin sets at various points around the CBD. It's about as close as Sydney gets to Carnivale..... (which incidentally is to be the Honeymoon destination for Boy Traveller and I next year... bring it on!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Australia Day!

Dorothea Mackellar's poem "My Country" says it all really. Happy Australia Day everyone!

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold -
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The popping of the question.

Once upon a time, a boy who loved to travel met a girl with similarly itchy feet.

After 18 months together they decided to plan their first overseas trip together. Destination? Japan.

So many places to visit, not enough time! Girl Traveller was a bit perplexed when Boy Traveller became obsessed with staying at Mount Fuji. With some military-style planning, they managed to squeeze an overnight stay at Fuji-San as their second last destination.

Before arriving at Fuji, they snowboarded, ogled Snow Monkeys, giggled at sumo westlers and ate their way across the Japanese landscape. All the while, Boy Traveller carried a super-special ring box in his backpack. (Girl Traveller often fossicked through said backpack searching for change/pens/passports but somehow never stumbled across this little package of awesomeness in 3 weeks of travel.)

Nearing the end of their trip, the travelling duo wearily stumbled into the township closest to Fuji. Girl Traveller had noticed that Boy Traveller had been very lovey-dovey on this particular day, but dismissed his behaviour as him just being his usual goofy self.

After checking into their hotel and feasting on another fantastic Japanese meal, Boy Traveller suggested a "walk" around the lake.

Being in an isolated part of town in the tourist low season, there was no-one around and with very few street lights around the area was pitch black. You could only hear the sounds of the lake lapping the shore.

Boy Traveller suggested sitting on the shore of the lake. Girl Traveller, who doesn't usually act like a princess, announced that it felt like a scene in a horror movie, and under no circumstances would be heading to a dark, unlit lake shore. Quick-thinking Boy Traveller found a more suitable spot. And sitting in the crisp mountain air listening to the night sounds, Boy Traveller popped the question. Girl Traveller said yes, amidst tears and guilt for being such a lake-shore-hating princess.

And they lived happily ever after. (And are in the middle of planning their wedding for 10/10/10. With a few Japanese influences! And are super excited about planning a honeymoon..... Destination? South America.....)