Monday, September 24, 2018

The 'festival of booths'

I recommend reading the Wikipedia article about the festival Sukkot for those who haven't a clue what I'm writing about.

The story starts, I suppose, on Saturday morning when I was waiting for the lifeguard to open the swimming pool. Almost every week, the first three people there are Orna, Yael and myself. Orna was singing some song which she had discovered, saying that it was perfect for the short Sukkot 'ceremony' which would take place on Sunday evening. She asked whether I would be prepared to accompany her; I answered that it would not be a problem, but that she would have to send me a link to the song as the likelihood of me learning the song from her singing was low. Yael is responsible for culture on the kibbutz, so this was a done deal.

Yesterday morning I listened to the song on the computer and figured out how to play it; it wasn't very difficult although the chord sequence struck me as very weak. My major worry was in which key we would be playing, as Orna is, how can I put this diplomatically, full of enthusiasm but not so keen on the formal points of music. I assumed that she would sing in the same key as the recording, which was Gm. I decided to play the song on the 12 string guitar with a capo. She also wanted to sing another song which I vaguely knew, so whilst I could work it out fairly quickly, I wouldn't know in which key it would be until the ceremony, which was due to start at 8:30pm.

At about 7:50pm yesterday, Yael phoned me, asking whether I had a classical guitar. After the short ceremony, it was planned that a small musical group would appear, singing songs of Arik Einstein; it seemed that the guitarist had forgotten to bring his guitar (!). I said that I don't have a classical guitar, but then the guitarist got on the line and asked whether I have an amplified acoustic. Of course I do: the Ovation. Could I also bring a capo and a plectrum? No problem. I terminated the phone call only to be called again after a minute or two. Did I have a microphone available? I do, but its plug is not suitable for professional use.

I left the house with two guitars: the 12 string in its bag on my back, and the Ovation in its heavy case in my hand, along with plectra, capo and guitar leads. When I arrived at the lawn outside the dining room, I was greeted like a long lost friend. Whilst taking the Ovation out of the case, I asked how a musician could travel to a gig and forget his guitar. I received an explanation but it's not really important. Both the guitarist and the drummer had a quick play on the guitar: they said it was a good guitar, as smooth as butter to play and with a good sound. I pointed out the strangely shaped back which makes the guitar difficult to hold.

The short ceremony was shambolic but was ok. I played the 12 string through the group's PA system thus allowing its volume to match Orna's singing. No one said a word to me afterwards about the guitar....

The musical group were good but not ambitious.The small crowd which turned out for the evening (apparently many families were on holiday outside of the kibbutz) sang along with almost all of the songs. The guitar sounded very good although at times its sound had a bit too much treble. Look, ma; he's playing my guitar!

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