Friday, January 16, 2009

Harper's Blog January 2009

Happy New Year !!!

I hope you all had a great holiday season. My band & I are just back from an amazing tour of Belgium, England and Wales. We almost didn't fly out of Detroit because our flight to New Jersey was cancelled. Bobbi managed to get us all on an earlier flight, so it was a mad rush to the airport. We had a great flight to London but unfortunately my didgeridoos and harps didn't make it. Our good friend Howard Graves was also with us & his bag went missing as well. It was a bit disconcerting as we had to catch the Eurostar fast train to Belgium with out our bags. We were assured that the bags were on the next flight. Actually it was a blessing in disguise as we really had too much luggage to carry and there were no trolleys. Two elderly ladies literally fell over on the escalator to the Euro star because they couldnt carry their bags. We helped them to get to the train amongst a stampede of people pushing to get to the entrance. Flying is definitely alot more civilized. Once we got to Brussels we were met by the festival director Eddy Plasquay. Eddy had hired "a large American van" to transport us to Vilvoorde - the city where the festival was to take place. Well this large American van was just a large sedan and we had six people, guitars and luggage. We literally squished into the car. It reminded me of the car crushes we used to have at school. We managed to get in 27 thirteen year olds into one car. Eddy was so frightened of getting pulled over by the cops that he took all the back roads to Vilvoorde - so we had to endure about an hour of been squashed.

We had a great time in Belgium & thankfully the didgeridoos turned up on the day of the festival. The Pjeire Blues Festival was held in the grandiose stables of a bankrupt aristocrat. It was a great night to experience. We had an amazing show and I was invited to jam with Javier Vargas and the Vargas Blues Band from Spain. Later we found out exactly what the word "Pjeire"mean't. It is a slang word for 'horse eaters". So we performed at a horse eaters blues festival!!!! Apparently horse meat is considered quite a delicacy in Vivoorde and Eddy wanted to take us to a horse meat restaurant. Everyone was hyped up to eat horse, except Bobbi who is a big horse lover. We arrived too late at the restaurant after our show at Crossroads Cafe. Everyone except Bobbi, was disappointed. On one of our off days Bobbi, Mike, Howard and I visited Paris, while Marc & Ralph went to Amsterdam. Paris was freezing, but we managed to see quite alot in one day. Our friend Howard was on a spiritual pilgrimage for his wife Holly who passed suddenly in September. He poured her ashes into the river Seine just across from the Eiffel Tower. It was a very poignant moment- one I will never forget.

After another ride on the Eurostar to London, we arrived in England for a week of shows. The UK was very warm compared to Belgium. Our shows at The Cellars in Southsea, The Musician in Leicester and The Green Room in Macclesfield went really well. Worthenbury Hall in Wales was amazing. It is such a beautiful country that has retained its cultural identity. It was so nice to catch up with the many friends we had made in 2007 on our first trip. In Liverpool we did the Beatles tour at The Kasbah- the very first place the Beatles performed. Rory Best (brother of Pete Best) was our tour guide and his early stories of the Beatles just about blew us away. That evening we played to a packed house at Foghertys. It was a fun week and we plan to tour the UK again in late August and September.

We flew back to Chicago on December 22 then took the short flight to Detroit. Well this time we all lost our bags thanks to Northwest Airlines. Detroit airport was in disarray , there had to be at least 1000 delayed bags just sitting at baggage claim. After 2 hours we got out of the airport then drove back to Grass Lake to find our house snowed in. We stumbled through two feet of snow to get to the front door. Then we spent the next hour and a half digging Marc & Mike's car out of the snow. What a night.!!!

After nine anxious days I received my four foot long bag containing the didgeridoos & harps. Wooohoooo!! With a new year we have a new beginning. We welcome GT from Flint, Michigan as our new bass player. We wish Ralph all the best best for the upcoming birth of his new son.

We wish you all the very best for 2009. May it be a year of peace, prosperity, joy and inspiration for us all.

Peace, Harper, Bobbi, Marc, Mike & Ralph & new bass player GT (Official Harper Website) (for CD down loads) (for live video clips) (for CD orders & downloads)

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