Thursday, November 29, 2012

Eating the Fiddle and Playing a Pastel. (I mean the other way around)

Ain't days off wonderful?! I was able to practice Angeline The Baker today for a couple of hours. I have the very basic melody down. The next step is to practice with a drone string added to the playing which is to say, playing two strings at once. One string is the melody and the other is an open (usually) string that you bow at the same time as the melody. The sound of double strings is the unique sound that I associate with Old Time and Bluegrass music that I am and was accustomed to hearing while growing up in the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I've also begun working on a new song, Old Joe Clark. Again, I will be working on the basic melody. The first few measures are great.

I have been referring to other material sources for practicing in conjunction with attending the fiddle circle at the Glass House. Such as You Tube and downloadable video lessons one song at a time for a very insignificant fee. Also it's great to have someone who actually works on fiddles and knows how to fix them residing here in Terlingua. I had trouble with my E string playing properly. When I would pull the bow across the strings the open E sounded fine but when I attempted to place my fingers on the first, second and third positions, I could not get any sound at all except an occasional very weak squeek. I was referred to a man in town that we all know that could possibly look at my fiddle and figure out what was ailing it. I usually don't like name dropping in such a public forum so I won't but he wears a uniform. He looked at it and placed one tiny piece of folded paper between the bridge and the E string and also a tiny, tiny piece of folded paper between the E string and the nut, which is where the string crosses before being wound around the peg.

Bam! Like magic. He played a little bit on the fiddle and it was like new. The E string once again sounded wonderful.

Well, it's back to practicing some more this evening before bedtime. I enjoy the evening time. It's quiet and most of the world is asleep.

Raoul had made Puerto Rican pasteles a few weeks ago and had frozen some of them. Earlier tonight we had one and they were delicious! I have no idea what was in them exactly but they were very tasty. I did make one slight mistake. The word tamale accidentally slipped out of my mouth and...isn't that the way it goes? I know, I just know! You know the word is right inside your mouth and then when you open it, Bam! It's exactly like an unleashed cat with the door open. Out it goes and no amount of chasing it will do anyone any good. I tried to chase it and slam my mouth shut but nope. It didn't work. Never attempt to compare a Puerto Rican cualqueir cosa to anything else in the world. I'm just forewarning you as a friend should.

See? While living in Honduras, I had tamales out the wazoo. I could spit with my eyes closed and hit a tamale. Which by the way, seemed to be called two things that to this day, I have not a single gringo clue as to what the difference was but I heard tamales called; tamale or nacatamale. But tonight I found out that under no circumstance was it the same as what they make in Puerto Rico. Oh no. Nope. No manera. Ninguna cosa existe en Puerto Rico. Nope. It's called pasteles. However, between me, you and Farmer John's fence post down the Honduras, a pastel was a sweet corn masa wrapped around a sweet fruit compote of some sort and fried or cooked in some way. But I guess if asked, first you need to find out where they are from. If they are from Puerto Rico, my best advice is just say that whatever it is it looks delicious! Don't argue cuz, girlfriend, you ain't gonna win.

Well, until later just remember...

You need to be yourself before you are anyone else.


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