Months pass and a process comes to an end which began with the Birth of L.   In that time, myself and Kilya decided to stop singing together, so we could concentrate on being parents…being together. We both came to the decision one day, in the weeks before the birth. We sat on the sofa in the kitchen and both needed no words to explain that we were both thinking exactly the same: It was time to stop.

I think in the days before we had had a few gigs and each one was becoming more difficult to enjoy. The music was good, but we were under too much pressure to get things right. Baby was due soon, and we knew we had to find a different way. The singing (or so we thought) had always been my impulse, my baby, but the songs we created together were, for me, magical. So, it was always tempting to push doubts aside and carry on. But, it really was time to stop.

 

We decided to compile a CD of our songs and conclude our work together. End of Story….?

 

 

Days and weeks passed, Luna came, as did intentions to reduce our workload. And as thoughts turned again towards music, and how things were going to look in the coming 12 months, it became clear that I had to begin a process of finding other musicians to play with. If anything, just to give me a base to build on, during performances. I was looking at some of the videos I’d made of live peformances and wasn’t happy with the moments I was playing alone. I was trying to carry the whole situation as if my life depended on it. This can seem quite logical when you’re playing: You want to show the audience that you care…but the result can be irritating for those listening and watching. And, of course, to me. I was trying too hard, so a performer alongside me could help.

Beuz (Percussion) was a blessing because of his sheer abilty. Nine (violin) impressed me with her open attitude for my music, and bit by bit, I started to rehearse with these others. Sara then  joined as a (fantastic) singer, and soon I was spending half the week practising in different corners of the region. It was new for me to try and tell others what I needed. New for me to lead a group. I wasn’t comfortable with it, but I learned how to do it. The first concert (as is always the case) went like a dream. Two people playing together for the first time, instinctively working together, open for any eventuality. But as the months passed, I noticed how hard this could be to bring different personalities and talents together….not discounting my own limits and failings! I planned one concert per month and tried each time to combine different elements in order to learn how we all fitted together. A house concert  followed, which was also a good experience. Nine joined for the next one, together with Beuz, and things went well, but it was a difficult atmosphere to play in. We got together for another house concert in March…and all played together for the first time. Its was good…but inside, a few days later, I knew that it was becoming too much work for me.

I looked at it from every angle and took time to consider my feelings – and the feelings of all involved. Deep down I was looking for a group which was able to live and breathe the songs just like me. And then, of course, there the questionof the sheer amount of work involved in puting this whole thing together. Deep down, I also knew that I would have to be the one to stand there, and I’d better find ways to find myself – and quick – ….. find ways to communicate my work without the help of others. After the concert in April in Schopfheim, a lot of the feedback was along the lines of: It was brilliant..but you know what, you’re also fine alone! I did a few songs alone on that evening, just by chance, and it felt good. I felt free again. I suppose that’s the compromise you have: You play with others, you have to find a common structure in the songs…unless everyone is so in touch with the necessary feeling, that you are all in snyc. That CAN be the case, but (as I hinted at before) usually only in situations where people either come together to play spontaneously, or you are playing with someone who knows you.

And that was the key. I need people playing alongside me who either – just by chance – join in and help create a certain, spontaneous, positive energy OR people who know not just my music…but ME.

 

The Singer Festival  on the 16th June was the end of this process for me. Following this event, it was clar that I had found my way….and I also had a new (old) companion by my side: Kilya.

In the months that passed the feeling grew that we should carry on playing and singing together. She knows me inside and out. We just needed to find a structure which allowed it. Less is more….or so we hope. The CD will be called “Alleingeburt”

 

It will be the start of a new chapter….one a bit more modest, but with more belief….

Ben

 

www.benmeech.net

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