Basque Country

I might pull out a harmonica in a bar, among friends in the Basque country. I might play a tune just to change an atmosphere, or create a new one, to bring a moment together in a lull, or sing a going song or play a tune as some folks were leaving, the last crowd in the place. I remember in Bilbao, where sessions aren't common, a few couples drinking and the staff eating their food.

Tapio Letura then took his button Accordion out and we played together. Never before had we jammed, so we led each other on melodies, Encouraging a Basque song from all around me, something choral, they could sing together, acapella. My Basque friends sang a kid's song about peeing, and named Rupa, or a friend in the song, as needing to pee!

I was drunk maybe but while Tapia played, I asked a young man to dance the polka with me. He told me he plays the saxophone, amongst all of us he had seemed distant, and not popular with people here, I think that's why I'd asked him. anyway, I danced him around the tables and chairs, teaching him the two step and we woke ourselves up. There wasn't much room to travel and polka because of the tables and chairs, but he started to smile and laugh and was energized after this.

Today in Vittoria was Saint Prudence Day. I followed many people who were walking somewhere I didn't know where to, but they all followed a direction like lemmings, some playing whistles together and small drums, and drinking 'copitas de vino' or Brandy.

I got talking with a man who had seen me play the night before. He was asking me about my music, songs and performance. I tried to remember a few Basque words, Using mime a lot more, I told him I had many long stories, but alas they were in English. I have none in Spanish. I told the man, Jose, I said I don't have the confidence to write in Spanish, It is not my language, Gaelic or Welsh might be better for me as it is closer to home. What does a dead language' mean anyway. There are English words that are dead, and some Shetland dialect words I think should be used instead. 'Smoorikin' instead of a kiss. Some Gaelic words Humin for half-light, and water, shimmering! We, Rupa and I got talking about "Dead Languages" and what that might mean to those who speak it as their native tongue, Who decides? Is it 'ego-centric, colonialists that 'it' is a dead language? Anyway, I ended up interviewing Rupa and he interviewed me as we drove two hours to Zaragoza. How would you define a good session? How would you describe some of the best sessions you have ever been to/in/at? It is all subjective I know, but I am wondering what people go away with after a steaming good session and what they remember, how it was when they were in the middle of it, and how it might linger for days/weeks/years.

Stories, how they exist, how they never end, how they are journeys how one story is made up of countless other tales, linked, webbed, knitted like the huge ball of coloured Yarn Our lives are.How gigs become sessions, and then become gigs, drunken, smoked out, adrenaline, that homemade drug.

I haven't seen much of this town, I am only playing one night here, then, away tomorrow, as often happens, I try to burn the candle at both ends to catch as much as I can of the place, people and flavours. Ate Quail, Falafel, Humus, etc. and drank beers.

Onate here the concert was in an intimate place, a converted church/monastery. I also played with Rupa at the end, him singing his songs in Basque. After the concert, we went to Gurlu. the favourite bar where I played one time, 8 years ago, I was told by the bar-owning women there. There were guys there who I had seen skinning up at my alcohol-free concert. They were teaching me words in Basque for a song, for Grandma, They passed me a joint. It was good to see Garbine again, a gap has appeared between her two front teeth or I just forgot she had one.

Even though I was always travelling. I have never really fallen out of Love with anyone I have loved. Today, every person, man and woman, I talk to, or try to talk to, in Spanish, dance with for the crack, to wake us up, celebrate with to get the blood going, or Andrenalyn, Joking, laughing with, jamming, and flying through tunes.