Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Return of Dougie Fresh

My first affirmation as a free-style rapper came from a colleague my age (see Dougie Fresh II in May's postings), but now that I have the support of a few 14-year olds from my kid’s group, I’m paying attention. It was my free-style rap walking with them in downtown Salzburg that earned me my “Dougie Fresh” nickname from a few kids who seemed genuinely impressed. Of course, I know a lot is missing. I don’t really have the rhythm right and my accent is all wrong. But I am tuned into rhyming and there’s no lack of subject matter. Here’s an example I wrote for the kids on the Salzburg trip after they left (Jufa is the name of the Youth Hostel):

I’m sittin’ in the Jufa, gonna make a big confession.
My homeys all are gone and I got a bad depression
Missing all our music with its natural expression
Gotta to pay for a shrink in a therapy session.
Sayin’, “Why’d they have to go? They know I’d miss them so.
Can’t play any good music with no rosin on my bow.”
While I feel the pain, outside it starts to rain.
The memories of our time here are etched into my brain.
We got a good groove on, but now it’s time to move on.
And each and every one of us is now a lifetime Jufan.
The thunderclouds have gathered, folks are getting’ out their mops
I gotta ride my bike back in-between the raindrops.
But before I go, I gotta get this off my chest.
“I love you guys! all 17, you truly are the best!!!”

I really am motivated to start to listen to some rap and of course, this is the missing piece. The Input-Output ratio is crucial in any art form and without hearing the rhythms, inflections, accents, styles of genuine rap, I’m stuck in my older poetic forms upbringing. So I have no illusions that I’m going to go viral on Youtube, but it is fun to walk down the street and comment on the world with a backbeat.

Meanwhile, I went back again to the Jufa Youth Hostel last night to return my bicycle. I expected to see the kids walking through the lobby and I suspect that anytime I go there, I’ll have the same sensation. Certain places are forever etched in our memories, connected with the people we shared that particular time and place with. This morning, I stood in the hall of the Frohnburg where I was staying and remembered the party from the 1990 Summer Course, where I led a little contra-dance and the Finnish folks sang and strummed guitars. A couple of days ago, I biked with my old friend Rick to my farmhouse in Anif where I lived when I taught in 2003, 2005, 2007. Yesterday, I finished my last class in Room 27, the same room where a candle-lit surprise farewell party was once given to me and where I also gave a piano concert. Every time I pass the zip-line in the playground I think of my daughter Kerala at 9 years old. When I put my bike in the Frohnburg bike rack, I remember daughter Talia learning to ride a bike at 5 years old. Twenty-one years of one to six week visits has made the Orff Institut one of my precious homes on this planet and all of Salzburg is alive with each of those times, all of the people I shared them with and memories of the different selves I have been (I was 39 when I first arrived!)

And the remarkable thing is that we all keep crossing paths. In these last two weeks, I met with over a hundred people from those former times and here we were again, creating our temporary communities where miracles, fun and laughter abound and where future memories are being made. Five of the ten teachers teaching at this summer course also taught at that first one I did in 1990! We are growing old together and it’s always interesting to see how we change and how we stay the same. And mostly, it is just plain amazing that we’re all still carrying on. Good material for another rap!

Instead of playing music on the street at Fisherman’s Wharf
We all still carry on the Schulwerk of Mr. Carl Orff
Instead of going out at night to dance salsa or disco
We’re out there teaching workshops in the Drid, the Burg and Frisco.
We clap our hands in Italy, we play a game in Spain,
We ride our bikes in Salzburg in the sunshine and the rain.
We don’t go swimmin’ at the beach or go and ride a horse.
We finish teaching, then get ready for the next Orff course.
We see each other here and there, then later there and here.
We hang around at restaurants sipping wine or drinking beer.
We hope that we can carry on as we get old and gray.
And meanwhile, we’re grateful for each and every day.
That we can teach the Taiwanese, the Thai, Korean, French.
That we can lunch with Persian folks while chatting on the bench.
That we can learn a song from an Aussie or a  Dane
I got plenty more to say, but I gotta catch my plane!

Well, like I said, Dougie Fresh needs some help. But it’s fun to try.

On to the next course in Madrid!

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