Author: Icelandic Traditional
Date/Studio: 1998 Peace Barn, Chimacum, WA
Engineer: Chris Martin
Producer: Robert Force
Original Release: Hands Across The Sea (HMM101)
Current Release: None
This tune is no longer on any of my available recordings. Essentially it is a multi-ethnic-instrument version of the Icelandic traditional tune, Krummi (The Raven). What makes this worthy and sets it apart from the many times I have done it in concert is who I was performing with and why.
My son, Sam, had just been accepted to spend his 1999 HS junior year abroad in Finland as part of the Rotary Exchange program. That meant we had to come up with a sizable sum to fund the travel and ancillary expenses so we decided to put on a concert to raise the money. When asked who he wanted to play at it Sam came up with a list of our close friends. The trouble with that was that not all of them were musicians. He had just assumed that if they were our friends, they played!
By the time Steve Einhorn, Kate Power, Joe Breskin, Gary Romjue and Baila Dworsky said yes, it was well on its way to becoming an event. A half-dozen others wanted to be in the show as well, including Janette and me. We settled on a six-act evening with groups of playing three or four songs each. For the finale, Brown-Eyed Girl, Sam sat in playing a full trap drum set, wearing his tux. Styling!
He was also the MC. My act was last. I was blissing out in orchestra pit of the Chimacum HS auditorium holding and rocking my brand-new granddaughter, Molly. I was listening to the music and full of the sounds and friends and family who had come together to make the night happen. Then Sam was introducing “the next act.” I quickly handed off Molly to Janette and leapt onto the stage from the front. Spry Dad. I didn't noticed that he had not yet actually introduced me. Sorry, Sam. I ran over his lines and never got to hear what wonderful things he might have said about me. Sigh. (Quick, hand me the redo.)
Chris Martin recorded the event and it was issued as a limited edition CD with photo files taken by George Bigely embedded in the disc. Many fine tunes were played that evening in a variety of styles from folk to jazz to rock'n'roll. Alex Fowler (sadly no longer with us) rounded out the rest of the field with Larry Johnson, Steve Labor, Doug Nelson, Heather Williams, Dave Meis, Karolynn Flynn, Rich Finn, Chris Cox, Ben Gonzales and Hans Daubenberger.
BUT— there's more! On stage with me for Reykjavík were all of Sam's uncle's and brothers. We joked that this part of the show should be called uncles, brothers and sons. Uncle, Doug Banner played Celtic drums. Uncle Steve Prescott played bass. His brother, Dakotah Force, played didgeridoo. Sam was playing a C# Tibetan prayer bowl-- so of course we were all playing in c-sharp.
Many things made that night special. One of the most beautiful things about it was that Kate Power had just recovered from surgery for a brain tumor. This was the first time she had stepped back on stage since the operation. Baby Molly was there. The place where I used to work, Chimacum SD, had provided the space. I got to play on stage for the one and only time with all of my immediate family. Looking back, good music is good music and probably will happen again. Good events are one of a kind. They are never duplicable though others may be just as enjoyable. This was one of both.
My brother, Steve, who played on several of my albums now has Alzheimers. It is up to me to remember that he played Las Vegas for years as part of an Elvis impersonator band, played with Larry "Stash" Wagner (Don't Bogart that Joint, Fraternity of Man) and was a Vietnam SeaBee veteran wounded during the 1968 Tet Offensive. He refused the Purple Heart since his tent-mates were killed and he was only barely wounded. While recovering he took up the bass and made it his life's work. That's the guy I remember and with whom I got to play on stage for my son's first big adventure send off.