Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Beeswax and Music: Glue that Holds People Together

Frogs are deeply social creatures. They glom on to one another and connect for comfort, recreation, and protection.

When audiences and musicians gather, especially in more intimate or informal venues, similarly deep social connections can be forged. As I travel from town to town to perform, I have countless opportunities to meet people with different perspectives and experiences. Increasingly, I savor this part of my job.

Sure, there are nights when I am tired from travelling, and my voice needs time off from extraneous talking (especially in a loud setting). But even on these nights, if I tune into the gang in the room while I'm performing and then after the show just hang out and listen, I am enriched.

So my raw materials are music, stories, and a room full of people. It's up to me--and everybody there--to glom on. It's what we all do with the basic ingredients that define the quality of our social experience together.

A beekeeper's raw materials are bees, honey, beeswax, crops, and other farmers in the locality. Modest or high yield, the way the beekeeper and his community (both human and apiary) respond to support one another can create dynamic social events.

Our new friends Stella and Sheldon have, in fact, embraced the sweet social network of Canadian bees, farmers, and customs. With a gorgeous line of hand-crafted honeys, candles, and salves, they orchestrate high quality "Sweet Pure Honey" products and parties of people who love them.

Had we not performed in Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, we may never have met Stella and Sheldon. It was music that brought us together, and their willingness to share the "buzz" about their own creative work that made for a sweet, cheery evening.

Just about any raw ingredient can bring people together. It's what we do with our music and beeswax that connects and sustains us.

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