What a long and strange journey it has been


As Sonoma County concert halls navigate the reopening of live music, there is a lot of anticipation, excitement, anxiety and just plain ENERGY! You have thousands of people SO eager to hear music live again and you have hundreds of musicians eager to come out and deliver it.

I thought I would speak to a cross section of SoCo musical talent to find out how they feel about it all:

Erica Ambrin is a singer-songwriter who has performed in Northern and Southern California, as well as concerts and recordings in Maui. She also participated in American Idol.

Martin buzzy is a guitarist, producer, singer / songwriter, youth advocate and author. His novel “Do not shoot! I’m the Guitar Man ”on the music program he brought to the minors at San Quentin Prison, is now a major movie release.

My $ tic is a versatile and experiential hip-hop artist. He studied guitar, piano, violin, clarinet and sax. He represents a collective of artists from the region called Godly Untamable Youth who are active voices in the community.

Lee vandeveer is a singer-songwriter who leads the Lee Vandeveer Band, combining eclectic influences with powerful American rock. She is an outspoken activist who recognizes that “all music is derived from oppressed cultures”.

Yuka yu is Taiwanese, Dutch and Japanese and grew up with the birth of the electronic music scene in Asia in the late 90s. She started DJing during her training at London Sound Academy and performed concerts throughout Europe. Now at SoCo, she is building a global community – a utopia – welcoming people of all backgrounds, nationalities, colors and genres by sharing music and inspiration.

What was great was hearing how many similarities everyone had in their answers. “Music is life itself,” said Louis Armstrong, and this group of performers made it clear that at the heart of being a performing musician we all have so much in common, even though our styles, genres and approach can be very diverse. .

Here is a sample of our group’s questions and answers. I share it as one voice, because it’s really like that:

So what’s it like to come back and play live?

Conditioner! Human face to face connection and energy reciprocity is a feeling like no other. It’s incredible. Almost surreal. People are really excited to see musicians live again, and it shows. The energy is so positive and contagious. Playing live again for people is a great feeling for me and for the people who come to listen to music live. I can see it in their eyes and feel their love. It’s great to replay live and to be able to connect with my audience. I can’t wait, I literally can’t wait.

How are concerts different from those before Covid? How is the audience different?

Most of the shows were held outside which I love. I have the impression that the public is much more engaged. It’s a treat for them, and you can feel appreciation for us musicians who share our craft. The advice is also amazing. For me, music is essential. It is the universal language. I feel like there is more respect from everyone for the music and the musicians who are playing. Music is a gift from our hearts to their hearts that some were not aware of until now. People are so happy to play and see music played, it’s really lovely. There is a bit of a mix in the audiences that I have known. Some of us were inside to practice our moves so that when the floors opened we were ready to dance as well as those who got a little stiff as we dealt with Covid. Either way, an audience is an audience and stiff crowds are my favorite. It gives me all the power to break the ice and activate the dance floor.

How was it for you musically during the pandemic isolating yourself? What was your level of creativity?

I’m a very isolated person in general, so the pandemic blew up my creativity. I created a plethora of content including 12 singles released in early 2021 with two clips, and I also prepared the skeleton of the EP that I just released.

I had the chance to focus on my production, piano and vocals, and bamboo flute. I’m naturally an introverted person anyway.

I really focused on writing. Make sure you have lots of new material to try out. I also did a few gigs online, but it just wasn’t the vibe.

I took the time to bonfire, wrote a lot of new songs and rehearsed old songs so I could pick them up to play in my show.

I kept thinking “I have to figure out how to do something consistent online” and I never did. BUT I’m much better on piano and guitar now and I think my voice maybe improved a bit too, so that part was really cool. I realized that when I push myself to create with the constructs of capitalism in mind, then my work is not as good as I would like it to be. Like I have some great paintings and songs that I got made for myself, but they are nothing like the ones floating around in my head when they’re ready.


About Dawn Valle

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