Oatmeal, anyone? An Evening with Ottmar Liebert

When my daughter was small, she would refer to Flamenco guitarist, Ottmar Liebert as “Oatmeal”.  “Listening to Oatmeal again, Mom?”  she would ask.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.36.40 AM© Stacy Alexander – 2015

Last night, we were treated to two hours of this graceful guitarist’s skilled execution of some of the most incredible music I have ever heard.  Liebert was joined by bassist, Jon Gagon and percussionist, Chris Steele.  They had definite chemistry, and put on an ideal show in an intimate Portland venue in the Alberta Arts District.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.40.34 AM

© Stacy Alexander

Ottmar Liebert is what guitar playing is all about.  He is in tune with his craft to the point that it seemed, at times, that he and the guitar were one instrument.  He was graceful, and seemed comfortable in his own skin, playing, most of the time, barefoot, with his eyes closed, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, riding the waves of his own creations.   I believe he was playing a small DeVoe guitar, but it didn’t have any markings on it that I could see, so I’m not certain that is what it was.

Since 1986 Liebert has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1992 he purchased an “alt-ranchette” just outside the city, with an adobe guesthouse he built as a recording studio.  In May 2006 Liebert was ordained as a Zen monk by Dennis Genpo Merzel at the Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He had a very strong presence….one of peace and goodness.  Both John and I sensed this immediately as we watched him.

(I couldn’t get the video of Luna Negra to embed.  This video (above) is an earlier performance.)

I have been unable to find a video of Jon Gagnon, his bassist, but will post one here, if i do later.  He  was simply put, rock solid in every way.  Jon had a huge presence and voice on a 4 string fretless which sang like an baritone opera singer…or, at times, a French horn.  I couldn’t figure out what one of his bass instruments was at all it.  The one shown here was huge, and had a EB-like headstock and a body shape of something like a JP and a morsh.   Its  tone was full of mwah, but soulful and crying. The  fretboard was  coated with something shiny. I’d not seen anything like it before.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.54.47 AMThe drummer, Chris Steele, was not to be believed.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.57.15 AMI did find a video of Chris playing, and I encourage you to watch it.  He is truly a unique player, and fantastically talented.

There is a video on YouTube that I couldn’t manage to embed here.  Please look it up.  It is called “Good Drums, Bad Turtleneck” by Chris Steele.  This is the video to watch to really see this man’s talent.  You can find it here:

The Alberta Rose Theater is a sweet little venue….very small and intimate, which was the perfect place to hear a trio such as this.  John and I ate the venue’s delicious  hand pies and sipped Perrier as we basked in the warmth and beauty that these musicians presented to us. We had such a nice evening.   These guys are  true professionals…plain and simple.  They were tight, knew exactly what they were doing, and provided the audience with an amazing show.  ’nuff said.  Well…no….NOT enough said, actually.

As I was sitting there watching these incredible musicians, I though about my dear friend, another musician, and felt so sad that his life has taken the path that it has.  It could have been him up there on that stage last night….but as they say…”When you lie with pigs….”  He has made some not-so-wise choices.   I’ll leave it at that.

Music to My Ears

This morning, I taught myself one of the little tunes that always brings a smile to my face….like…every day, in fact.  I’m not a very good guitarist, but picking up this little tune was easy….and yeah…It DOES make me smile! 🙂

Feeling happy, loved and ready to face another day.

This is finals week, and let me tell you.  The amount of work that I have to do is staggering…but I know I can do it. Just have to remain positive and focused.   It baffles me why professors wait until the last week to pile on so much work.  ugh.   I must say, however, these classes have opened new portals for me, and I am smiling as I anticipate how this information will be used in my future endeavors. These classes have all been so interesting….ok…except for stat…but we won’t talk about that.

I feel happy, loved, excited and rearing to go!  Isn’t it funny how the power of love can propel you forward in life?  It gives me a reason to wake up and get out of bed every morning.  I am one lucky woman.

It also feels very good to be organized and to have the time to creatively explore my various projects. This has not always been the case, but over the last few years, something just clicked into place with regard to getting organized.  It all makes sense….and is easy for me, permitting me to do much more than I used to.  I can simply bounce from one project to another without its being any big deal.

I have almost completed another mosaic, and I let little Ingrid work on it with me.  I was amazed at her eye for design and the careful accuracy with with which she placed each tile.  She really enjoys these kinds of projects, and I always have something for her to work on with me.  Working on an entire guitar-themed installation.  It is inspired! 😉

I completed all but 3 essay questions on my final for Psychological Testing and Assessments yesterday and plan to tackle those this morning. I still have to complete and polish up my annotated bibliography for that same class, but I’ve made a good deal of progress on that as well.   Then, I have a discussion question for the Women in Leadership class which amounts to about 3 pages of substantiated discourse, plus my research proposal (6-9 pages) , and a journal entry about women being change agents….and as soon as I get all that done, my term will be complete!!!  Yay!  One step closer to my goal and I’m feeling so good!

Next term, I will be taking a forensic psychology course…You know…like on CSI.  🙂  That should prove to be interesting!  I’m also taking a business consulting course.  Then, it will be time for my final senior project (thesis) and I will graduate early July!!  I am beside myself with happiness as I complete each step.  I’ve never worked harder, but have never felt happier.  Really.  John wants to take me to Paris, but I want to wait a year before we go.

Have been invited for a night on the Oregon coast next week with three friends, so that will be my reward for accomplishing all of this.  Also looking forward to a celebratory drink with Kath, if we can both manage to get away. (She stays as busy as I.)  Of course, I’ll still be working, even during my “break”…but I’m thankful that I have the work.

Organic produce gets delivered today, so I will be spending some time working on my cookbook recipes as well. I have to stop and process everything the day it comes in, or else it will end up going bad.  I rather enjoy it.  A friend is coming over to help later.   I have onion rings soaking in buttermilk in my refrigerator as I type this.  They will be turned into oven-baked, panko onion rings later today.  Really looking forward to testing this recipe.  Have recently enlisted my cousin’s help with the meat portion of the book.  She will send me meat recipes and I will convert them into vegetarian and vegan versions.  This cookbook is for family and friends that have mixed diets, so everyone can have the same foods, but customized to suit their diets.  Good concept?  Bad concept?  We’ll see….

Ok….back to work for me.  Have a glorious day!  xoxoxo

 

Ready to Grout!

I finished sticking the tesserae onto my mosaic guitar last night. It is now ready for grout.  I am still contemplating colors.  Thinking of either doing a multi-colored, bright grout or charcoal gray.  Will have to think about it for awile….but I think I’ll probably go with the dark gray.

The front:

pregroutguitar

And the back:

pregrout guitar back

After the piece is grouted, I will be listing it on Etsy.  Will post a notice here.

Thank you…to my beautiful friend.

A special friend sent me this video this morning.  You can see his reflection in my glasses.

Rene Best musician                                       Rene Best guitarist
stacy-black-dress2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rene Best musician