Self-deprecation is worth its weight in smoldering phoenix-ashes and baby unicorn tears.

11 May 2008. 1:57pm.

Ever since I heard her play for the first time I was captivated by her - her wild hair tossed about her head, the strange way she would sort of strut while she would play. But most of all, I was entranced by the music - the vibrant, enchanting music.

Hiromi.

Finding out exactly where she was playing and when was no small feat. You would think that googling the Vic Jazz Fest would yield results - and you'd think exactly wrong. But after some concerted effort, I finally discovered the information I needed. After speaking with Carolina about the concert and playing her some Hiromi, she decided she wanted to come and volunteered to drive so we wouldn't have to take the train.

We leave late-ish Saturday afternoon, because Carolina has to work that morning. It's a peaceful drive up the freeway, overlooking at times my beautiful sea, other times winding through lumpy brown hills pocked with vibrant flashes of green. The breeze rushes through the opened windows, drowning out our conversation. After we laugh our way through a few attempts to speak, we give up, enjoying the meandering countryside and the swift wind.

The traffic is surprisingly light until we reach the greater Barcelona area, where we suddenly get bogged down in a constant stream of cars and trucks, all rushing along like worker bees, lurching through the crowded veins of the city.

We talk as we follow the flow.

We kiss the edges of Barcelona as we pass by, saying hello to the old lady before turning north to head up to Vic. The sun is a pregnant yellow, shining friendly rays down through the little moonroof in Carolina's car and scrubbing our cheeks to give us a ruddy, bright glow.

I look at Carolina, her curled hair flying madly in the rushing wind, big sunglasses obscuring her sad eyes, still pale, but vivacious, full of life and energy. She peers my way and smiles, thin, colorless lips parting in an infectious grin. Soon I'm smiling, too, lopsided as always.

Another good while on the road and we arrive in Vic. It's not a huge town, but it's inviting and quaint, with that sense of history that you can't get in the new world. It's too bad we don't have any time to really explore the city.

We see an open newspaper stand, and I hop out to get directions. The sun is starting to disappear for the evening, bright blues making the segue to indigoes and purples as we pull up the hostel. We get ourselves checked in. It's not as light or inviting as the hostel I stayed at in Madrid, but it'll do for the evening.

After getting settled and asking for directions to the Centre Comunitari, we head off in that direction, until we see a small café that looks pleasant. There's a bit of time before the concert starts, so I turn to Carolina and ask if she'd like dinner.

"Oh, I'm famished, I'd love some," she replies, and we enter and sit at a small table near the entrance.

We order a series of tapas and drinks as we converse about school. She tells me about this girl in her Catalan syntax class that's supposedly lost her mind this semester, explaining her gradual descent into madness as I cackle with laughter.

She gives me a funny look and asks what I find so humorous. I answer, "Short of the piercing myself, I'm pretty sure I've done everything else you mentioned as 'crazy'. So, lady of the jury, I ask you: am I crazy, too?"

I get that wry smile I've come to know so well as she responds, "Well, that's a given. But it's cool; I find mental instability quite attractive."

I laugh. "I don't think I've ever been quite so flattered by a derisive remark before."

"Just don't let it go to your head. You're mixed up enough as it is," she says as she winks at me.

The tapas are good, but unremarkable. Mostly I'm just enjoying the company.

We finish and pay, heading off to the Centre Comunitari and our date with a quirky Japanese girl. Arriving with few minutes to spare, I buy our tickets and we find our seats. The venue isn't huge, but it's bigger than the club setting I was expecting. We sit in eager anticipation, waiting for the concert to start, holding hands and tapping feat with excitement.

Finally a man comes to the stage and announced Hiromi and her band. Come on, come on, enough with the talky-talky - let's get this show on the road, I think to myself.

The curtain comes up, and the show gets on the road.

As Hiromi, Dave, Tony and Martin begin their set, I grin like a giddy schoolgirl. It's everything I imagined it would be - Hiromi, wrapped in piano and keyboards, wearing a slip of a dress and with her hair flung wildly about her head with abandon, making faces at her bandmates and twitching like someone possessed. She starts that familiar riff from "Time Difference" - my favorite of her songs - and my heart starts to beat hard, trying to leap out of my chest to present itself as a burnt offering to this goddess of jazz. The rest of the band comes in, and the fusion is unforgettable - this is a group of musicians who get it.

It's one of the best concerts I've ever attended, and it's over far too soon. Dave on his double-necked guitar shredding better than most thrash metal guitarists could ever dream of, Martin invoking ghosts of the great jazz drummers of the past while infusing his own flavor into it, Tony's fingers flying along the neck of his six-string.

And Hiromi. Oh, Hiromi. Words don't do her justice.

It ands and Carolina and I leap to our feet, cheering crazily amid the stoic audience members. Hiromi's excitement for music has been infectious, and infused me with a passion for music, a passion for playing the piano again, a passion for life.

It's an unforgettable concert.

We walk back to the hostel, hand in hand. It's late, and we've got to get up pretty early so Carolina can get back for work and I can make it to church in the morning. It's a short trip, but it's been worth every minute of it.

Full of Hiromi energy, there's not much sleep to be had.


Comments
on May 27, 2008


This is Hiromi and Co. playing 'Time Difference', my favorite song of hers.

This was a GREAT concert.
on May 27, 2008
on May 27, 2008
I love that comic.

So...you're a nerd. I love you, but you are.
on May 27, 2008
So...you're a nerd.


Jesh.
on May 27, 2008

Hiromi (and her band) are so good and the talent between the four of them is phenomenal.  I can just imagine getting completely lost in her musical landscapes, particularly live.

The comic, too, is superb.  It made me go awww...

on May 28, 2008

It's an unforgettable concert.

I can see why. Great music and great company.

Hiromi (and her band) are so good and the talent between the four of them is phenomenal.  I can just imagine getting completely lost in her musical landscapes, particularly live.

It seems like they don't need anybody around either. The give and take is so cool. The audience gets to take a wonderful ride with them.

on May 28, 2008
I can just imagine getting completely lost in her musical landscapes, particularly live.


One can't help but get lost in them . . . it was dreamy . . .

on May 30, 2008

NICE music!  I don't believe I've heard her before!  I want to be just like yo when I grow up!

on May 30, 2008
NICE music! I don't believe I've heard her before!


Glad to introduce you to her, but you can thank Ock for introducing me to her.

And, for the record: I miss Carolina. (
on Jun 21, 2008

BUMP!!  I never saw this until today.  So glad you dig her, SC.  Help me spread the word...I know you will

 

Funny story...when Mari and I went to see them in Switzerland, we stayed in the hotel they were playing at (it has an attached jazz club) and so, of course, they stayed there too.  The first night, we went down to the restaurant to have dinner before the show.  There is a kind of "back room" to this restaurant, and that's where we were seated, but you could see the rest of the restaurant easily, and I look up, and who's having dinner there?  You know...like all of them.

 

Now I have to go to our room for something which means I have to walk by, and I actually had to summon courage to.  Mainly the courage not to stare like an idiot.

 

On the second night (we saw two shows each night) I worked up the courage to ask her when some of this stuff would come out in print.  Mari translated for me...she didn't quite speak enough English to get it.  Sadly, the answer is there aren't any plans to put it in print.  Guess I'll have to do it when I retire in a few years

 

It's hard to put into words how I feel about Hiromi, but I have had a thought from time to time while listening that I think sums it up.  I'm so very thankful that she's alive while I am.

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