Monthly Archives: July 2012

Down the Croatian coast – Part III

That’s it… the cycling is now over until the end of next month. I arrived in Athens 5 days ago and the first thing I did was send my bike to Edinburg where I will be joining it on the 13th August. There, I will be working with The Deck Theatre Company on a play called Pinch in Love as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In Athens, I had break from recording to go exploring before taking a plane to Israel. Thus, I’m writing to you from a friend’s house in Tel Aviv! but don’t worry, the recording isn’t over!

In the meantime, after Zadar (Croatia), I had a lovely cycle ride to Dubrovnik. It was particularly fun, as to get there, one has to cross a small portion of the coast which briefly becomes Bosnia Herzegovina! Also, I went through some amazing scenery where the brown rocky dry coast slowly morphs into a much greener coast which then descends into a long plain surrounded by mountains. The road then leaves the plain and returns to its windy coastal self.

I finally arrived in Dubrovnik on the 14th July. I headed straight for the old town which is contained within castle walls. Once again, I was dazed by the passage from utter solitude to an overcrowded city. I sat down and observed the waves of tourists of all nationalities poring out of coaches, camera in hand, stumbling over each other as they tried to take pictures of the outer walls of the city. Amused, I made my way into the old town in mind of finding a place to sleep and rest Doppler for the day. The search was only brief as the prices were bogglingly high! Thus, I decided I’d sleep on a beach somewhere and found an internet cafe. After a nice simple meal, as I was slowly pushing Doppler back out of the small alleyway, the waitress asked me where I was cycling. I told her about the project and that I had nowhere to sleep in Dubrovnik. Instantly, she very kindly invited me to stay at her and her boyfriends place! I was even allowed to leave my bike by the restaurant for most of the day.

High on her generosity, I set out to explore the town and quickly came across some fantastic street artists! The first where a trio of musicians called Fiori Musicali. They play an eneregised version of many classical classics with flute, guitar and violin. All three musicians are music professors from Zagreb University and are spending most of the summer in Dubrovnik performing in the street and in more conventional venues. After a first matinal encounter, we arranged to meet again in the evening at the entrance of the city where they would be busking. That is exactly what happened. So here is, paraphrasing the guitarist, classical tunes performed as if performing Iron Maiden covers:

After meeting Fiori Musicali, I continued my exploration of the city. Sitting on some steps was a classical guitarist dreamingly plucking the strings on his guitar. Still dazed by the sun, I sat down and listened for a bit. Later, I learnt he was a music teacher and had his own little school in Hungary and, just like the previous band, had come down for the summer to enjoy the sunshine and busk. Here are some of the tunes he played:

Finally, as I was finishing my round I came across a very nice little bar called The Troubadour Jazz Cafe, supposedly a legendary Dubrovnik bar. When I was walking by, there were two musicians playing exciting arrangement of pop and classical songs. The duo is called Nota Bene and here are their songs! (there also might be a video of them soon!)

Soon some recordings from Bari, Italy!

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Fabryka Zabawek in Krakow!

Record and Ride, Fabryka Zabawek, 26.06.2012 from RecordandRide on Vimeo.

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Down the Croatian coast – Part II

Although the heat is still overwhelming, Zadar feels like a long time ago! I am now in Bari, Italy, where my mother was born and raised! I’m enjoying the contrast between solitude and being entirely taken care of by my family – amazing food, clean clothes, a bed, shade, and I’ll let you imagine the rest.

After Zadar, I cycled down towards Split, the second major city in Croatia. I was planning on stopping half way in a beautiful natural park called Krka. As I was about to turn of to head inlands for the park, I saw signs for Sibenik advertising it as having been elected a capital of culture in 2003. I had to pause and decide what I’d rather do: see a beautiful park with a river and waterfalls or a town which could be potentially interesting music/sound wise. I looked at the time and decided I could do both! So I raced to Krka bought a ticket and walked towards the waterfalls. By the time I arrived, the park was closing and everyone had left – I had a huge park all to myself! I went round the waterfalls, had a nice swim then climbed back up to where I’d left Doppler.

By the time I got to my bike the sun was about to set – cycling in the south is already dangerous when one can see clearly… So I put my lights on and reflective jacket and darted towards Sibenik. When I got there it was already dark and I needed to find a place to sleep and some food! I guessed that my best bet would be to go along the port. I was right! As I got to the end of the road, I came across a small bar selling sandwiches and beer. Set up just outside was a little stage with cajon and a table on which were lying a violin, a saxophone, a flute, two guitars and an accordeon. Thus, I sat down with a sandwich and a beer waiting for the concert to beginning.

The band was called etnOrkestar and played a series of traditional tunes from all around the world. During their first break I went up to them and did the usual “I’m doing this project you see… and I happen to have everything here to record… Would you like to take part in the project?”. They answered positively. Sadly,  they didn’t have time to play non amplified after the concert for the recording as half the band had to run away to catch a night bus back to Zagreb. Therefore, if I wanted to record it had to be during the concert and that’s just what I did. The two recordings that sounded the best are Limonchiki which is a klezmer song from Odessa (Ukraine) and Hitwhich is a orginal composition by the guitarist of the band (Danijel Maodus).

After the concert, I found a place to sleep on the rocks and left early the next morning. I was heading towards a town called Kastel Sucurac, 15km from Split. In this town, Ruzina had got in contact with me and invited me to come to visit Sensoria, his studio which is under construction. He is building it in the wine cellar of house belonging to his family. The project is to create a creative space for european wide projects i.e bands come down to record and work in collaboration with Ruzina whilst having a nice little holiday in Croatia. A project I obviously fully suport and invite everyone I have recorded so far to get in contact with Ruzina when the studio’s finished!

Ruzina kindly invited me to stay at his place and gave me some contacts for Split. The next day I hit the big city! I stayed there two nights but ended up not doing much as I was working on a piece for Rubbernaut. Nonetheless, I visited the beautiful town and went for a few swims. On the last evening, I was invited to record one of the last rehearsals of representation of Nabucco, an opera by Giuseppe Verdi. The dressed rehearsal took place in one of the most beautiful squares in the old palace called Peristyle. It was all closed to public and, as I walked in I was surprised to see the grandeur of the set. There was a full orchestra and 20 or 30 people on stage. Unfortunately, as it was an important rehearsal I didn’t want to bother anyone with my recording and wasn’t able to position microphones where I wanted to. Thus, the recordings didn’t turn out well and would rather not share them with you as it would ruin the beauty of the performance. Just use your imagination!

The next day, I set out for Dubrovnik and the rest is for part III.

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Down the Croatian coast – Part I

The southern episode began in Ljubljana. After a couple of days celebrating my mothers birthday and an extra night in a hotel watching the Italian spectacular defeat with a friendly receptionist, I set out for Rijeka. It took me two days of beautiful Slovenian country side, an unexpected visit to huge caves – home of an underground river – and windy rocky roads to get to the main Croatian port. I’d been warned it wasn’t a nice place and indeed it wasn’t! Thus, I decided to set out down the coast the same day I arrived.

Before leaving, I met another traveller from Slovakia who’d been busking around the continent with two guitars and a bag. He was waiting for a train to Zagreb when I approached him. I told him about the project and we agreed to record whilst he was busking. He played a mutlitude of songs each one unexpectedly merging into each other. Here are a few snippets from his set:

That same evening I made it to Crikvenica where, for the first time since the beginning of the trip,  I booked in to a camping site. I didn’t stay long as I left early in the morning to do as much cycling as I could before the heat became too unbearable. When it did, I stopped for some food and a swim. Stupidly, I set out again much too early only to find that what lied ahead of me was non-stop uphill… I thought I was going to loose my mind! Just before I reached the top, I started having small hallucinations like wandering/worrying wether or not I had my hat on  whilst touching it.

Luckily, after a blissful race downhill I found a beautiful small fishing town with a single one way road to rest my bones. Again, I got up early next morning and headed down towards Zadar. Lesson learnt, I was more patient during my afternoon break, thus, I was able to properly enjoy the second half of the ride. In fact, it was so pleasurable that I kept on going all the way to Zadar – originally I wasn’t expecting to get there until the next day.

When I got to Zadar, I decided to book myself into a hostel as I wanted some confort to finish some freelance work. It is at the bottom of this hostel situated on the top floor of a five story apartment that Doppler was vandelised…  Anyways, the stay was very nice. I met a Polish traveller who has just set out to travel round the world and write about it: http://guideless.tv/. Instead of cycling, he’s hitch-hiking his way round. It was fun meeting again a couple of times further on down the coast when his hitch-hiking had not been successful…

Although I had no one to record in Zadar, I did have something to record: a water organ. I recorded it on my last day in Zadar at 5.30am before all the other tourist arrive to chat over a soothing background of experimental organ playing. I dedicate this recording to Astrid Willmote who first told me about this strange installation.

That is all for the part-1 of the Croatian coast!

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The good old Krakow blues

So I’m in Split Croatia (well actually that’s when I started this post, now I’m 30km away from Dubrovnik!)! I haven’t updated the website in quite sometime! I have just been very busy working on the sound for a friends documentary about deforestation in Prey Lang forest in Cambodia and it’s consequences those who live around it: http://www.rubbernaut.co.uk/

Although I’m now quite far down south I still have some recordings from Krakow I would like to share with you. To my astonishment my last Polish stop was full of blues! I never met so many harmonica players and talented blues musicians is such a few days. I stayed in a very musical student house sharing a room with a guitarist and harmonica player. While I was sitting in the kitchen updating this website with the recordings from Warsaw, the house resounded with instruments being practiced in every other room! In retrospect, I should have recorded it and shared with you guys – it was quite believable as an avant-garde musical experiment.

I ended up recording Tomek, my original Krakow contact, and an Italian harmonica player named Mario. We set up in the staircase leading to the music infused apartment to record. We recorded two tracks as well as the occasional passerby. The next day, before leaving for the station to catch my train down to Vienna, I recorded another pair of songs with The missing part, accompanied by Tomek on banjo and dobro.

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Toy Factory in Krakow.

Yesterday, I arrived in Zadar, Croatia, and roamed around looking for a place stay. I came across a hostel on the fifth floor of a nice old building on the very outskirts of the old town.  They had space for me and so I logged all my stuff up five flight of stairs leaving Doppler locked up to the banister. After packing all my stuff in a locker, I set out to explore the town. On my return I found Doppler in a weird position, as I got closer I noticed the front tyre was flat. I was annoyed but not too surprised – I’d  just cycled over 200km in two days in over 30°C. However, I then noticed my back tyre was also flat, that my saddle had been dug into with some sharp device and that there were traces of mud on the frame – some idiot thought it was alright to vandalise Doppler – maybe he didn’t like where I’d left it? is that a good enough reason to do what he did? I stood there for a good half hour to take it in and wrote a note letting the person know how far Doppler had travelled and how he had been treated respectfully until Zadar. In the meantime, today will be bike-repairing-day…

Anyways, after Poznan and Warsaw, and now nearly two weeks ago, I arrived in Krakow. In my opinion it was by far the nicest city of the three Polish cities I stayed in! There I stayed with an acquaintance of Monika from Poznan. He introduced a friend’s  band called Fabryka Zabawek (translates as ‘Toy Factory’) who play an acoustic groovy jazz with Damian Skóra on guitar, Martin Dyjak on Harmonica and Ela Łuszczakiewicz on vocals. We recorded on what at first seemed like a fairly quiet location but, as was to be expected, it turned out to be quite busy with cars driving by quite close to where Fabryka Zabawek were performing… The band did very well given that the guitarist had just come out of an exam and that all the members were slightly sick!  To me their playing was quite impecable! Anyways, here are the recordings and I’ve been told there might be a video to come!

PS: I broke my main hardrive and realised I was baking everything but videos and photos… So for the meantime this band will have to remain faceless. Sorry. 

 

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Croatia

I’m looking for contacts in Croatia! If you have any please email me. Otherwise, it would be great if you could share the project inviting people to share it with east Adriatic coast people! 🙂

thank you!

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