We just finished an eight day stay in the Yukon with performances at the Whitehorse Arts in the Park and at the Village Bakery in Haines Junction.
Thanks to Steve Slade and Boyd Campbell who presented and promoted our shows. They are musicians as well as presenters and both have brought music consistently to this area for over 15 years. Steve puts on shows in Whitehorse five days a week during the summer and Boyd hosts a Friday night Salmon Barbeque.
Here is Andy getting a little too excited about the delicious food at the Salmon BBQ.
We did some fantastic hiking in this area and camped out seven nights. Here are some car shots I couldn’t resist taking on the way back to camp from our gig in Haines Junction.
We performed our first gig of the tour today at the Atlin Arts and Music Festival, a multi-disciplinary festival that presents music, dance, art, storytelling, poetry and film in the northern most town in British Columbia. Our venue, Kershaws, was an old hardware store converted into a coffee shop. It had a view out the windows behind the stage of the Swiss Alps looking mountains along Atlin lake.
Our performance included dance demos, original tango compositions and a jam/workshop for musicians.
To get to the festival we had to drive into the Yukon and down into British Columbia on a road that was partially gravel. We are fitting in now with all the Yukon plate cars.
Previous to the festival, we camped four nights in a row–once in Alberta, twice in B.C. and last night in the Yukon. The bugs and rain were suprisingly minimal.
Our best find so far was the Liard River Hot Springs, one of the most amazing that we have ever seen. It is a double fed pool; hot and cold spring water simultaneously feed in from the bottom making for a perfect bath.
We’ve had a crazy couple of weeks getting ready for the upcoming Alaska tour. Here is what we’ll be doing the whole month of July as we drive our way to Fairbanks and back!
Tour Stop 1: Atlin Arts and Music Festival, British Columbia
We’ll be giving a tango workshop and performance at the Festival in Atlin, the northern most town in British Columbia!
Tour Stop 2: Whitehorse, Yukon Arts in the Park
We’ll be performing outside in Whitehorse, which is the capital of the Yukon–population around 20,000. Which by the way is 60% of the total population of the entire Yukon!
Tour Stop 3: Kluane National Park, Yukon
We’ll be backpacking here four nights! Kluane National Park t is part of a system of 24.3 million acres between the U.S and Canada that together contain the largest internationally protected land-based ecosystem on the planet. Check out this cool map.
Tour Stop 4: Village Bakery in Haines Junction
Just outside of the Kluane we’ll be playing a gig at The Village Bakery in Haines Junction.
Tour Stop 5: House Concert in Tok, Alaksa
Luckily we’ll be playing a concert and giving tango lessons here during the summer. Tok Alaska is notorious for its extreme temperatures, easily -44 degrees F in the winter.
Tour Stop 6: Denali National Park and Preserve
We’ll be hiking and camping for three nights at Wonder Lake which has potential views of Denali–highest peak in North America.
Tour Stop 7: Denali Park Salmon Bake
Tour Stop 8: Tango Course at Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival
We’ll be at the University of Fairbanks for the Summer Arts Festival for three days teaching a course we designed called Tango From a Musical Perspective. We’ll also be performing our own tango compositions with some fantastic musicians on a world music concert.
Tour Stop 9: Westmark Hotel in Fairbanks
A fellow tanguero in Fairbanks was gracious enough to help organize an evening event that will bring us together with Caitlin Warbelow–resident violinist at the Fairbanks Festival.
Tour Stop 10: Driving…..
According to Google it takes six, 8 hour days to get from Fairbanks to the U.S. border.
Tour Stop 11: Lois Donnay Tango Studio in Minneapolis
Minneapolis is our last stop of the tour. We’ll be playing for Lois Donnay’s Tuesday Milonga and staying with Bob Barnes–fellow tango bandleader of Mandragora.
Last month Andy and I played for the 12th Annual WYCE Jammies Awards at the Intersection! We were honored to play with Steve Talaga and the band he put together for Heartside Sketches, a feature length jazz composition that I organized a commission for on the MAJIC Concert Series. The composition and subsequent CD Heartside Sketches won the award this year for best jazz album!
We also performed with our band The Great Lakes Art Music Ensemble on the acoustic stage, featuring our tango compositions from the Jammies nominated Latin Dance Project.
Thanks to WYCE, all the musicians and listeners for support of local music!
Andy and I had an inspiring weekend after organizing and hosting two concerts in Grand Rapids, one for the Andreas Kapsalis & Goran Ivanovic Duo on the GRCC International Guitar Series and one for Eastern Blok on the MAJIC Series at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.
The best thing about our weekend (besides all the fantastic company with food and drink) was to see accomplished musicians take their compositions and performing to a new level. These are guys that could get away with riding on their past accomplishments and virtuosity, but who choose to keep developing their playing and composing. Andy and I are so inspired!
Andy and I have been following Eastern Blok for a while! We heard their music playing in Martha’s Vineyard (the deli around the corner from our house) back in 2006 and asked Marcio DaSilva about it. We went to see them live for the first time at the old Founders. It was after one of our tango lessons and we had a group of young people with us that weren’t even 21 yet. Luckily they let us in with the stipulation that we had to stay back by the door. We all just stood their with our mouths wide open! It had been so long since I had heard a group of thoughtful musicians our age playing such well crafted original compositions at a high level.
And they continue to develop! At the MAJIC concert they performed two new suites of music and did a world premier. I am so grateful to be part of that energy.
After, we ate and drank the night away…Carmen and Andy style…