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Fiddlin’ Around – January 2019

Fiddlin'Around headerHallelujah brothers and sisters—we have survived another trip around the sun, so HAPPY NEW YEAR to us all! Despite global uncertainty, intolerance and animosity, the manipulation of information, wildfires, floods, earthquakes and personal frustrations, a bunch of us are still here! What we need to do now is to notice the optimistic new beginnings around us! Like a kid’s first piano or flute or violin recital. Little girls in their finest frilly dresses, nervously tuning up and looking for their friends in the audience. Little guys squirming in their new duds and shiny shoes. Proud families, turning out in herds to applaud and cheer for everyone. Gawky teen-agers, walking onstage with newfound poise and purpose. That first glimpse that the hours spent in focused practice actually turns into MUSIC—something that makes everyone feel closer and happier. That thrill—that pride—that awareness of being part of a human artistic brotherhood—it never goes away, and every musician remembers their first experiences and new beginnings.

Boy playing violinI see the transformation that happens with my students at the Escuela de Musica Sinfonica in San Isidro. At the beginning of the year many of them are shy or maybe intimidated by the amount and power of the new experiences they are having, but once they settle in they eagerly look forward to the new and exciting paths they can take musically. An incredible spirit dwells in our school—it’s full of inspiration and wonder and laughter and noise and wonderful chaos. I have literally ‘seen’ that proverbial light bulb go on over their heads when they master a little bit of Bach, or finally get comfortable enough with the posture of holding a cello to actually become one with it. As adults and mentors, we need to nurture and nourish these kids to follow their musical dreams, ‘cause a whole world of ‘new beginnings’ will be opened up for them. Different cultures and history—pride and discipline—art and beauty—love and compassion.

Bruce Springstein albumNew beginnings can be embraced by anyone, at any age, whether it be romantic, spiritual, religious, musical, artistic, financial or just an impatient desire to get away from whatever crappy stuff is going on in your life. One of my favorite songs from Bruce Springsteen is his hard driving hit ‘Dancing in the Dark’. Clearly he is singing about being unhappy with the way his life is going and wants to change things.

I get up in the evening and I ain’t got nothing to say. I come home in the morning—I go to bed feeling the same way. Man, I’m just tired and bored with myself. Hey there baby, I could use a little help. Message keeps getting clearer—radio’s on and I’m moving’ round the place. I check my look in the mirror—I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face. Man, I ain’t getting nowhere, I’m just living in a dump like this. There’s something happening somewhere—baby I just know that there is.

He’s ready for a new beginning.

Sometimes we just need to close out old chapters of our lives, prepare for new ones and forget about the past. It might be helpful to reflect on the mistakes or unfulfilling paths we have taken, but we need to learn from them and move on. The song ‘Closing Time’, by Green Day, says it well—“Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.” The Roman philosopher Seneca also said those same words back in 54 BC, so I guess it’s true!

John and Yoko coverJohn Lennon’s song ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’ was released on his ‘Double Fantasy’ album in 1980, and he thought it explained his absence from the music industry after a 5 year hiatus. Ironically it hit #1 on the U.S. charts the week he was killed in NYC. The video, which had been filmed a month earlier, showed him and Yoko Ono roaming around Central Park and ends with them in bed in a white room. Prophetically he sings “It’s time to spread our wings and fly.”

Usually I’m not in favor of someone re-visiting their old loves and trying to make it work when it’s gone bad, but Sting wrote a kind of playful and lyrically very clever song called ‘Brand New Day’, which makes a good argument for trying to get back with someone. It had some pretty suggestive lyrics, but he said he had never meant them to be sexy, it’s just that his audience had dirty minds. Google it.

Why don’t we turn the clock back to zero, honey? I’ll sell the stocks and we’ll spend all the money! We’re starting up a brand new day. Turn the clock all the way back—I wonder if she’ll take me back! I’m thinking in a brand new way!

Well, maybe it’ll work out this time, but if nothing else, Stevie Wonder plays a great harmonica solo on the song. Stevie has some pretty good advice on his song ‘Don’t You Worry About a Thing—“Everybody needs a change—a chance to check out the new. But you’re the only one to see the changes you take yourself through.”

Sophie Tucker albumBack in 1937 singer Sophie Tucker had a hit with the song “Life Begins at 40’, which was on her album titled ‘Last of the Red Hot Mamas’.

Life begins at 40, and I’ve just begun to live all over again. You see the sweetest things in life grow sweeter as the years roll on. Like the music from a violin that has been well played upon…

The Tropi-Cowgirls, New Orleans honky tonk singer Kim Carson and me on fiddle, start around sunset most Mondays in January at Tortilla Flats, right on the beach in Dominical. Fuegos Brew Pub, the Rum Bar, Roca Verde and Jolly Rogers will be hosting live music, so come south and have some fun with us! There’s a bunch of excellent musicians playing at various venues around Quepos—check out the local musicians and support them when they try new things and venture into new territory. It’s a NEW Year!

Ole fyawood no hard fu ketch! Belizean creole proverb that basically means when love was once burning really good, it’ll flame back up easily.

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just the first step. Martin Luther King

I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright, bright sun-shining day. Johnny Nash

Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning. Desmond Tutu


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