Wednesday, February 6, 2013

La Ruche meets Skogen

This is Brooke La Ruche, I have joined up with Skogen in New York City from New Orleans. It has been over two years since I had last seen my friend, Kjartan, as he traveled and studied in Europe and I wandered America landing mostly in New Orleans. We seemed to always be connected through the ether, no matter how far our paths took us whether it be in nomadic traveling, cultural music and our interest in natural building projects. We now meet in music and in art in the states to share in bounty and in richness. And with the love of our many hosts, friends and family we have been blessed, indeed.

Our reunion was playing the Totally HOLY Jamfest at 87 West studios with Mr. Bradley Bailey, Frank Hurricane, Mina Karimi and many more creative, loving songwriters. A magical icy night, warmed by the currents of song. It always brings me joy when creative forces from a variety of lifetime experiences come together in harmony, and in sound a moment can seem to last for eternity. In parting, the cold entered my bones like never before and I shivered my way home through subways, meeting with a
actress from New Zealand as serendipity breathed life into the peeking sun.

I was housed in Bushwick, in a warehouse space that hosted a potluck hosted by Viv.  An interactive meeting bringing together artists, musicians and filmmakers in New York who strive to breech the lines of separation and collaborate in ideas, inspiration and creation. This was a great way for Skogen and myself to reach out to a community of open ears and open hearts. An exquisite corpse was created and can be seen at ourartclub along with updates and contact in what is going on with some pretty awesome people in the area.

Our next combined show was Roots n' Ruckus at The Jalopy Theatre in Red Hook, a weekly event hosted by Feral Foster.

I was blessed by a visit from a close friend who is a native of New York, Ona Tzar who is my partner in crime in New Orleans and my main source of philosophical discussion and artistic expression in the city. She is an individual who brings awareness to the healing properties of herbal medicine in reaction to molds, allergies and parasites. Thus living in such a toxic environment such as the Gulf of Mexico, one can barely deny the reactions in which health effects the mind and body, while the soul experiences great rates of growth through experience and that of the paranormal and of the magical realm. In travel, we met in Williamsburgh to drink tea and commence our usual discussions pertaining to the evolution of our experiences and well-being.

Later that evening, I rode the train to Harlem to meet Skogen at Shrine. My first trip to Harlem since visiting New York in the last two years. I entered the warm atmosphere from the cold winds that swept through the city to find  Hassan Ben Jaafar and friends playing tradition Moroccan music. A band of musicians whose beings shared in joy and spirit of their homeland. There was great dancing and the crowd was diverse which made this one of the most enjoyable shows yet. Skogen's music was a hit, the drummers played a traditional percussive instrument named, Garagab. I was given a lesson in playing this instrument, which they were quite impressed that I was able to hold rhythm but found that my muscle memory was quite weak and could only hold the beat for a few moments before breaking. Hassan was very supportive and patient with me, and I am thankful and inspired from the lesson

Although the space I was staying in was so warm and friendly I knew that it was time to leave the cold north. After the last show at Goodbye Blue Monday, I flipped a coin to decide whether I was going to leave New York with Skogen or wait for Kia to arrive home in the states from Sicily. The coin told me to go, so I packed in the morning and was swooped out of the city just as quickly as I had arrived not able to share my salutations to many who have hosted me, sadly. I was told by a fellow artist, Brett Thompson of the The EMP Collective in Baltimore, which Skogen was able to book a show at. This was the first show where I focused on setting up the merchandise slinging CDs, jewelry and hats. This was also my first snow of the winter! Super magical! The E.M.P. Collective show was a good setting for dance and Kjartan shared with me some traditional dancing and stepping. To my surprise, Baltimore was playing in the SuperBowl and people were being quite fanatic about the whole thing. After leaving, New Orleans to avoid the event it seemed to chase my tale.

More stories to come! Many Blessings!
Brooke La Ruche & Skogen

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Transmission and other fun stuff

Alright. New post. A few things has happened!

After Ann Arbor we went to Cleveland, Ohio. Great town for us, beeing a town with a very large percentage of people with Hungarian descent. We played at Prosperity club after Stan, a Slovenian accordion man. The bar was full, and the music seemed to be very appreciated. We sold the largest amount of cd's so far.
We met the very friendly man Walt Mahovlich, who knew most of the songs we were playing. It turned out that he is a professional musician, playing clarinet and accordion. He invited us for Romanian and Hungarian music listening and jamming at his house with appropriate drinks and food. A huge thank you Walt, it was great meeting you and very inspiring. He also gave us bunch of valuable contacts, and told us to go see the awesome band Slavic Soul Party at Barbès in Brooklyn. So we did, but more about that later.

We set up a last minute gig the next day at the Raw Food Café in Lakewood, just outside of Cleveland. Great place, nice food, friendly people!

Then we had a pretty big drive ahead of us, all the way to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We had a small concern about our tires at this point. They were in a really bad state. Also our reverse gear had started to act strange, but more about that later. It had started to snow. The day before Karin, Kjartan's mom, called us and recommended to get new tires. This turned out to be a very smart move. The snowing increased and the last part to Harrisburg was a hilly, snowy, slippery and very busy road. It would had been very difficult making it without those tires. We made it, and it was totally worth it.

Liz welcomed us and showed us their amazing art space. We ate pizza and drank beer, while doing the tour with Liz around the house. What a nice place, and nice people. And great bands!
Before us was Vulcans and then Bellows. They did a great job. Then we played, the crowd was all warmed up and ready to dance. And so they did. Like crazy. What an atmosphere these people created. We played two amazing sets, and then an extra acoustic-ring dance-rolling on the floor-screaming-healing-reviving-you name it-set. And then a very nice after party. The day after we were told to go busk at this cool coffee house. It was great. Thank you Harrisburg, we want to come back.

So we left Harrisburg in the middle of the day with the reverse gear now broken, but our confidence far away from beeing likewise. We headed for Brooklyn, New York. A nice drive, everything went smoothly on the highway. A little more difficult to park in the city later. First, there are lots of cars and a limited parking space. And then it's just a little more difficult to do parallel parking without a working reverse gear. But we managed. Actually, we are used to it now. We have done it a couple of times, pushing the car in to place. Right now we are convinced that a reverse is not needed. And, thinking of it, who wants to go backwards in life? We are trying to get forward, and that's working just fine.

New York, that's where we are right now. We arrived saturday, played at a big birthday party raising money for homeless people. We had our shortest set ever. Four songs I believe. Totally understandable, there were six or seven bands that night. Thank you Mina for inviting us to your party!

The following two days, we were basically just stupid and slow. We practised some, made terrible decisions, got a parking ticket, went to Manhattan in vain and ate some food. But yesterday we were good little boys. We got up early to move our car. We couldn't find a parking spot though, so we pulled in to an auto repair to see if they could take a look at our gearbox. They did. It's not good, they said. But as I mentioned before, going forward is not problem so far. So we are good for now.

Alright, we went to Manhattan to this big accordion store to look for microphones and try out some nice and cool accordions. Well, this is America, people don't play button accordions here. Johannes was looking for some nice small light weight accordions. There was one. It wasn't nice. But we got some useful information about microphones.

It was a very nice day, so we went busking. First in Washington square. Not so good. In rush hour we went to the subway. Good, until Mr. Police man appeared, told us we needed a permit. We left.
We went to Brooklyn again, to Barbès where Slavic Soul Party would be playing. We thought we could maybe play before them. We couldn't. So went to some bars and busked. Greatgreatgreat. Goodgoodgood. And then we came back just as SSP started to play. These guys are REALLY GOOD. We talked to them, and they agreed to let us play in between their sets. Yihaaa. It was great and the rest of the night as well.

This turned out to be pretty long post. Apologies. Right now we are in Jalopy Tavern in Brooklyn waiting to play in a few hours. Kjartan just slept on the floor for two hours. An Indian man on a painting is staring at me.

The pictures are from our show in Lansing, at Scene Metrospace. I don't know who took the photos. 

Take care!


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Music Video

Our teaser is out! Thanks to all the hard worK of all our friends. This is just a taste, the full 10 minute version will come out later. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Should we change our name?

We played in Cleveland yesterday. They had their own opinion about our name. The show was great though!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Start of a Journey

Heyheyhey, and welcome! We have a blog. Amazing.

We are going to try to publish right here what’s going on, we’ll see how it works out, hoho.

DSC_001711234567Okay! It’s been two weeks since Johannes arrived, and we had a lot of stuff to take care of in the first days. We had to get the car fixed, a lot more work than expected, but our man Jacob helped us get it all together. Here’s a picture of the experienced, and in Jacob’s opinion, talented car mechanic Johannes Sickan Olsson just taking a break enjoying a locally brewed beer. We also hade to set up a few more gigs for this week since we hade a pretty big gap and we needed to make t-shirts, cds and patches. Everything sucessfully completed, yes!

The first gig was a homeschooling event at Bedford Elementary School. We started out playing a few songs from different cultural regions, explaining the differences and the origins of the songs. Following this Kjartan held a workshop in Traditional Hungarian dances (he’s going to write more about this in another post later). We finished the day in Bedford by having a small question and answer session in the library.

Sunday we had a similar gig at Unity Church in Kalamazoo, on monday we had a house show at The Black Lodge. Great show. Nice crowd. Pictures taken by Lucas Renoos.

We had a last minute cancellation for our Wednesday gig at the Black Owl Café. We went across the street to Old Dog Tavern and managed to set up a gig there instead. Turned out to be a very lucky shot! One of the best, if not the best show Skogen has had so far. Wild ring dances on a bouncy floor is hard to beat. An extraordinary last perfomance in Kjartan’s home base Kalamazoo before heading towards Ann Arbor. Ooopa!

This town was not bad either. We played at Komphaus, and we had the favourite bouncy floor ring dance experience once again. We forgot our mouth harps though, but we’ll come and fetch them later.

Next stop was Lansing. We played at Scene Metrospace, great gig as well. On of the shortest gigs Skogen’s had so far, a big challange for us to pick out songs for only 45 minutes since we are used to the three hour shows. But we managed I think. There was free coffee, so we might have played the tunes a little too fast. Thanks to Rose and Star Path, and The Devil’s Cut who played before us. Special thanks to Augusta Rose, for fixing the gig for us, having a party and hosting us! You can check out her music right here:

The next story is pretty interesting. We had a gig booked in Detroit for Saturday, it got cancelled so we set up a last minute show in Windsor, Canada. Yeah, we’re just going through a tunnel and play a gig and stay for a night and then back again, we thought. Did not really turn out that way. First we missed the turn for the tunnel three times, and then we apparentely were two suspicious musicians. The man in the booth asked us tons of questions and decided that we needed to be further inspected. The next officer told us we couldn’t just bring our instruments and jam in a bar and then go back. Eventually, for different reasons, we had to go back to the Detroit. Well, I guess it wasn’t meant that we should play this day!

The only thing we did on Sunday was basically hanging out a coffee shop, eating carrots from Ben and the gang in Lansing. They were delicious, thank you.

Monday, we went back to Ann Arbor, for another house show at The Augur's Kettle.  Greatgreatgreat, people started dancing instantly, and for three hours. Good job. Yesterday was a pretty lazy day, we were hanging out with the Fossum family, thank you very much for your great hospitality, and for the gig of course!

Right now, Wednesday morning, I'm sitting in my sleeping bag trying to finally post this damn plog post. It has to be done. In a few hours we're leaving for Cleveland, and Prosperity Club. There's going to be a Serbian accordion man playing before us, sounds great.

Oh, and here’s a short clip of our show in Kalamazoo:

Anyways, this was the first post, I might have forgot a lot of important people and stuff that has happened, please forgive me. We love y'all!

Yours sincerely,