It's a cliche, but it's true: music is a universal language that transcends language. When my friend and I were walking home from dinner, we heard a group of guys jammin' out in a small hut by the road. We popped our heads in and said hi and they invited us to hang out. We then played songs for each other. It was a really nice way to end a fantastic 2 week trip in Myanmar!
I managed to incorporate a 3 night gig at No. 9 pun in Kristiansund, Norway with an added musical activity: teaching a 2-day blues workshop for the 7th graders at a local primary school! Playing nights and teaching days was pretty tiring, but given it was only a couple of days, I coped pretty well. Thank you, caffeine. It's been a few years since I've taught in a classroom, and I enjoyed team teaching with Torstein, who is also my lead guitarist for the gigs.
Talented US rapper, Trey Sykes, started a short documentary series called 'Passion' where he interviews musicians, poets and creative types in Long Beach and he has featured me in the first episode! Granted I'm not living in the US, but I am still connected to the community there and miss them a lot. There are so many welcoming and creative folk in that city.
I went to a jam night in Malaga, Spain. It started after midnight which I think is crazy for a Monday night but also precisely why I loved it (you rock, Spaniards). It was 2.15am by the time I got up and sang!
Last minute addition to my 3 week schedule: I'm performing at Rosie McGee's (still in Copenhagen) for the next 2 Wednesdays. In this grand establishment, there's a replica of John Lennon's New York apartment library, stained glass windows, old-fashioned fans that rotate with a belt mechanism, solid wood and brass statues and so many more details! Really wow. Below is a photo of my wee stage.
My second 3 week contract in Europe takes me to Copenhagen, Denmark. I'll be performing at Fisken Pub at the picturesque waterfront Nyhavn Thursday-Saturday nights and the Old English Pub (across the road from the Tivoli Gardens) on Tuesday nights until the end of October!
I was absolutely stoked to open this festival! Performing at a vegan festival was a big deal and accomplishment for me. Being vegan for about 2 years now, I'm passionate about ending animal cruelty and the negative affects it has on the environment and health. I cater and cook vegan meals for mostly non-vegans and I'm happy to advocate this way of life through food. The festival was such as success: there were thousands of people that attended throughout the day!
My first 3 week residency takes me to Waldshut, Germany; a small town on the Rhine river and bordering Switzerland. The venue is a smokey piano bar called Casablanca and here I will be playing both the baby grand piano and guitar as well as a mixture of originals and covers. It's a pretty intense schedule: 4 sets on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 5 sets on Fridays and Saturdays until the end of the month!
I decided to go to Poland for 10 days in between gig contracts (as it is close to both Germany and Denmark). I reached out to several venues via email before my arrival and was fortunate to book a last minute gig at Duffy's Irish Pub in Krakow! It was a really busy night for a Thursday and I had a ball! Below is a video from a jam night I attended in Warsaw!
I played my first festival in Europe in a town in central Norway called Rjukan, famous for its sun mirror. I had 3 shows: in the tent, in the pub and on a historic ship! I was stoked to be able to share my original tunes to a new audience.
Getting to the festival was a bit of a trek from Oslo: 1 train and 2 buses and a heck of a lot of money -- public transport fares aren't cheap. When I got off the train to find the bus, I had just missed it and the next one was over 3 hours away! Rather than waste time, I decided (with the suggestion of the gas station attendant) to hitchhike. Not only did I get picked up only after a few minutes of holding up my hand-written sign, I had a ride with a lovely retiree all the way to the front door of the pub. Troubadour indeed!
Lisa Spykers is a singer, songwriter, piano player, acoustic guitarist, instrumental and primary school teacher, porridge chef, vegan caterer, author, nomad, and unstoppable force of nature.