Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Big thumbs up for Home Routes concerts. We received an invitation last fall and finally attended our first one last week. I won't say where, but I will say I was a little nervous about going to a house I've never been to before. I worried for nothing, though, as the hosts were great and so was the crowd. I have nothing but good things to say.

The performers were Sheesham and Lotus, a duo based in Kingston, Ontario who play old-time, rag-time and high steppin' mountain music. Sure it was old-time, but it was all new to me. Here's an example of what they do.

Talk about a cultural experience. There was a good number of artists from the various disciplines in the audience and I'm sure, like me, they were absorbing more than the music itself. The costumes. The lighting. The pacing. The banter. The self-promotion. This duo was very good. I learned a lot.

As well, I had a productive exchange with another writer prior to the show and during the intermission, an exchange that might not have happened otherwise. We'll see what comes of it. As we were talking, I noticed a local musician talking with one of the duo. Everywhere I looked, people were talking. Geologists, lawyers, nurses, analytical techs, you name it, many of whom are also practising musicians, visual artists, performers and writers. It was a great mix. I left feeling energized. I'm still feeling it.

While energized, I'm also quite worried about the future of such programs, especially after reading about how the new Canada Periodical Fund could put Canada’s small-run literary magazines in jeopardy. More here. And here. Like house concerts, literary magazines have small audiences. But the benefit to society of such cultural endeavors, of the exchanges between artists and audience in a kitchen at a house concert or between a reader and a literary magazine in bed, is not limited to those rooms. It cannot be measured with formulas.

Time for tea. Before you go, have a look at Mike Deal's photo of a fabulous porcelain pun.


Evie Christie said...

The house concert sounds cool, I've heard good things but haven't been to one as of yet... Congrats on the CBC finalist news!

Brenda Schmidt said...

Ya, it was cool. I plan to go again.
The upcoming concerts will be very different from this one. And it's good for me to shake off my hermit tendencies for an evening every once in a while.


Tim Osmond said...

Glad you enjoyed the show with Sheesham and Lotus. Aren't those guys fantastic?! I'm excited about their concert here in Winnipeg on Friday. I managed to catch their show at the Winnipeg Folk Festival this past summer and they gave me my old-time fix for the weekend! And more! It's amazing what those two can do with a welding torch and some old brass instruments...
If anyone is interested in the other musicians we have on Home Routes, you can check out our website at and click on "schedule".
Because all of these concerts are held in private homes, we don't give out the contact info for each presenter so if anyone is interested in attending, please give me a call at 1-866-925-6889 ext 207 or email and I'll be glad to make it happen.
Tim Osmond
Operations Manager/Banjo Picker
Home Routes

Brenda Schmidt said...

Amazing, indeed! Have a great time on Friday!

Mike Deal said...

Hey, thanks for the link!

Brenda Schmidt said...

hey. It's such a cool teapot!