Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Bayan time (17): back at TOPJAM

TOPJAM - 28th Oct
photo by Martin Stork
Looking back, I see I haven't posted anything about bayan progress since April. This is not through lack of interest, but just nothing spectacular to tell of; it's been a time of slow consolidation, quite probably stuff I should have done more at the start, such as getting the upward and downward runs more polished (the layout doesn't lend itself to playing runs, unless fully chromatic), finding notes reliably, and bass work.

And - I guess unsurprisingly - I didn't feel terribly motivated in July-August, when the cancer investigations got into full swing. Practice has been a bit hard work since I started chemotherapy: a lot of the time, the bayan seems to have doubled its normal two stone weight. Nevertheless, I've got in some solid practice recently - a bit of a break seems to have done some good - and on Sunday I played at TOPJAM (the local music session run by Martin Stork and David Gander - see Facebook).

Due to a double booking, we had to move from the Globe Malthouse to the Passage House Inn this time: quite a small venue, so numbers were down. But there was a very good line-up. I didn't stay the whole session (I did find it quite tiring) but very much enjoyed the reggae by singer-songwriter Paul Kouatchou, and a guy whose name I can't remember at this instant, playing amazing fingerstyle guitar pieces by Andy McKee.

I played what have become my party pieces: Ochi Chyornye, Koskaan et muuttua saa (aka Adagio Cardinal) and Peg o' My Heart (the Singing Detective theme) in one slot, then Libertango later while another artist was setting up. Grim though I look in the picture, I think it went very well; a couple of people commented that Peg o' my Heart was the best I'd ever played it, and for once I felt so too. I was particularly pleased that the performance anxiety (getting distracted by people talking or moving about - unavoidable at a pub gig) is much more under control.

It was brilliant to be back. They're a nice crowd at TOPJAM, and (I may have said this before) genuinely welcoming if you play something a bit off the ordinary track. Next time I hope to have something new again. A friend has been pestering me for a long time to learn the excellent Beer Barrel Polka...

- Ray


  1. Dern it Festis, that thing has more buttons than a corset has strings.

  2. :)

    It sure does. There are times when I find it hard to believe I can actually play the thing. It's some flavour of impostor syndrome - I get moments of being astounded at doing something that I feel only other, far more talented, people can do.