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Greece! Jan 2009

February 3rd, 2009

We arrived travel worn and TIRED. Us in the van on the way to the hotel…we pretty much felt like this on and off for 8 days..01sleep.jpg

We stayed at a little place RIGHT under the acropolis, where we got to wander the the streets by night, causing mischief…

We did some sightseeing during the day when we could stay awake…Robin and Jason at the ole Acrop..

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Jason rocking out w/ a Bouzouki, the national instrument, kind of like a long Mandolin w/ 2 strings…played EVERYWHERE. This is in the museum of instruments.

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We played for 7 nights in a ROW at a place called the Half Note Jazz Club right downtown. The joint was full of ambiance, intimate and full of the nicest people, esp the owners and staff.

Skip outside the club with our friend Matt
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The boys in blue, inside the club
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The drinks were stiff and the smoke thick, and we had a great time all week. The crowds were a bit quiet compared to what we are used to in the states, and soon we came to know that a smile from the staunch old man in the back, meant he REALLY liked the show! Every night was packed and we were lucky to get home by 3am.

“Hello, and welcome to the club…”
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And some nights, we would stay up until 6am because we were SO jet lagged and there was so much to do! For instance one night we went out to see traditional Rembetico music- Greek music involving Bouzouki’s violin, singing, lyras and more…Very beautiful and soulful. We stumbled upon a non-touristy joint upstairs in “the bad part of town.” Where the wine flowed freely and the menu was written for Midas…We sat and ate loved it! It was also Mark’s birthday, so he got a treat… The band sat under an arch, and people threw flowers at dancers-anyone could get up and dance when they felt inspired..
The music went until 6am, which is about when we left…

Ursula outside the joint..
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Inside, during a dance. You can see the flowers on the floor..

One day we went to the Oracle of Delphi, a gorgeous spot where people would come from miles around to ask her questions. She sat in the temple of Apollo. The town was built on a hill in a valley and went up and up…lots of ruins still intact..

Mark on the hill..
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Our last day in Greece, we flew to the mystical island of CRETE, where we played one show in this bizarre cafe inside a movie theater multiplex. We were DOG tired and not one of us possibly imagined how we could get on stage much less be funny or engaged. But, when showtime rolled around the place filled to the brim with screaming, enthusiastic people and the magic of showtime came into action and there we were, having the time of our lives…

It was a great way to end the tour…

Earlier that day, we appeared LIVE on Crete TV on a hilarious daytime talk show. Totally bizarre and one for the books…here is a clip below

Vagabond Opera Live on TV in Crete, Jan 2009

New York City 2009!

January 16th, 2009

To read the beginning of our WINTER TOUR, please click HERE

We arrived in a blizzard and went non stop from the moment we landed…
We stayed with our great friend, Mark Ettinger, a fabulous musician and member of the Flying Karamozov Brothers…He offered us his small, yet artsy apartment which we graciously inhabited as the Vagabonds we are..we stayed up night after night playing jazz till 5am–a NY tradition we have finally accomplished!

We began the day with lunch at a local French restaurant, where we settled into a weekend of NY’s finest fare…tres Bien!

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Then at night, we did an interview on WBAI on Liquid Sound Lounge, a 15 year running eclectic show that is perfect for us.

The boys in the studio:
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Later that night, we played at Barbes, a uber cool venue in the heart of Brooklyn. Red lights, two European owners and a calendar of music that is top notch. This place has been called “The Amnesia of the east Coast” which it is. Amnesia is one of our fav spots to play. The show was a blast, standing room only super packed closet of a room, with intimate vibe and incredibly friendly and artsy crowd. We got drunk. We danced. We met Brooklyn.

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The next day we ousted ourselves from slumber and made our way to the Arts Presenters Conference, where we “showcased” with other artists from all over the world. we met lots of cool people, including musicians from Romania, Hungary, Mexico, Argentina, Mali and more…quite the sceney scene. Eric made friends with the accordion player from Les Yeux Noirs and is now turning into tbe Balkan Ornament king…look out world…

On Tues, we made our way to our show downtown on the subway…merryness was had by all, as Skip regailed us on the Subway with a song…

And here is Eric, watching the fun!
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The unexpected tragedy of NYC….

Well, after we got off the subway, we went to the Zipper Factory, our big gig of the weekend, and were faced with unexpected circumstances. We walked in and were told promptly to leave and that the fire marshal had closed the building due to an inspection! The whole cast and crew were out on the sidewalk, standing in confusion. We stayed there with our friends Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys, who had come to do the show with us…we waited and the building MGR apologized and said that the venue was closed and they were sorry. In 6 years of music business, this is a first so we are happy that it took this long for something like this to happen! We sang songs on the street and drownded our sorrows and moved on as best we could.

So, an ENORMOUS apology to all our loving fans who braved the storm to come see us in NYC, after a year absence. This turn of events was not in our hands and we will come back with bells a ringing soon enough.

The next day, we went to New Jersey and played in the Weehawken Performing Arts series, then caught our plane to GREECE that night….read on for the next chapter…

Detroit, January 9th

January 16th, 2009

We began our winter tour with a stop to the gorgeous Detroit Institute of the Arts. Played in their fabulous 1927 restored concert hall…truly wonderful art deco…and stayed in these cute little bed and breakfast houses…it was 20 degrees out, though..egads!

On this tour, we are blessed to be accompanied by the singer Ursula Knudson, from the band Fishtank Ensemble…

Here is a pic of Ursula with “Gnomey” at the hotel we stayed at:
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Jason in front of our house: how romantic!

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During soundcheck we took this little video: