Woodvines upcoming performances

Sunday March 15th in duo with Stefan Van den Bossche 7:30 - 9:30 Waters edge restaurant BougainvilleaHotel

March 28th and 29th Harrison College Mosaic II at the Frank Collymore hall

Monday, 21 November 2011

A bus ride in Copenhagen

Here is a video I filmed during my recent visit to WOMEX 11 in Copenhagen. The bus carrying the Caribbean delegation had just pulled away from the First Hotel Vesterbro when I started filming. I added my recording of "Fix it on Monday" as the soundtrack.
I know, you're probably thinking why did Woodvine film a bus ride to a music trade show when he could have posted a video of all the musical performances he saw? Well, I respected the musician's rights during their performances and didn't film them. If you like "Fix it on Monday" it can be found here . Hope you enjoy the ride!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Hungry in Copenhagen? Frida's Bodega to the rescue!

{Hi Davina Lee from St. Lucia - this one is for you :)}

During my recent trip to the World Music Expo in Copenhagen, I grew weary of guessing whether restaurants were good by counting the number of warm bodies I could see through the windows. Though my fellow Caribbean delegates and I shared many interesting dinners filled with merriment and enlightening discussions, our choices of eating establishments tended to be a bit of a shot in the dark. There was one Italian restaurant that was like a scene out of a Monty Python sketch. Guided by Steve Etienne of St. Lucia we sat at our table and were immediately bombarded by the sound of loud hammering. The management had decided that this would be a good time to replace some paneling above the bar area adjoining the dining room. As the overpowering, raucous hammering continued we struggled to contain our hysterics, suddenly realizing why perhaps we were the only patrons seated that night.

One evening in my hotel room I had a look on the internet (something I should have done from the start) and thanks to trip advisor, stumbled upon this absolute gem of a restaurant - Frida's Bodega.
I love pubs and pub food, I've always been a big fan of them whenever I visit family in Toronto,  The reviews for Frida's were excellent, so with a few fellow patient and hungry WOMEX delegates in tow I set out to find Frida's.
Fortunately it was located only a few minutes walk from our excellent first hotel Vesterbro. Unfortunately (or not depending on your point of view) our route took us past a xxx strip club which happens to be right next door to Fridas. Don't let that put you off - as I entered Frida's I was hit by a solid wall of the best home cooking smell I've ever met upon entering a restaurant. The decor was cozy, not far away from Harry Potter or the Hobbit (OK maybe my imagination is running overboard there).
We were welcomed in Danish and then in English. The selection on the menu (in English and Danish) was not extensive but the portions of food certainly were. I had a huge perfectly cooked piece of steak washed down with an excellent micro-brewed pint of beer - heaven!
The next night I returned for their pan-fried salmon with butter sauce, potatoes and vegetables washed down with more beer - wow! Their service was cheerful and excellent and the prices were reasonable especially considering the generous portions and wonderful flavors.
If I ever have the opportunity to visit Copenhagen again you will know where you can find me. Thanks Frida's!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Reflections on my trip to WOMEX 11

In October of 2011 I was fortunate to be chosen by the Caribbean Export Development agency to be a part of a trade delegation to the World Music Expo 2011 (WOMEX) held in the wonderful city of Copenhagen, Denmark.

What an opportunity! I had never been to WOMEX or Denmark before and was looking forward to immersing myself in a new cultural experience.
My first impression (and pleasant surprise) was that everyone in Copenhagen spoke English to me without hesitation. I was never given the feeling that they saw the English language as something repugnant or culturally unpleasant. In contrast I can recall getting lost while walking in Paris two years ago. I stopped to ask a lady for directions and the first thing she did was correct my French grammar! Everyone I met in Copenhagen from the construction worker on a building site to the checkout girl at the grocery store was pleasant and comfortable communicating with me.
My second shock was the bicycles. Bicycles, bicycles everywhere! and the infrastructure to support them was everywhere. Every major street had bicycle lanes on both sides of the road with curbs to deter cars from driving in the bike lanes. Cycling to work was not something for the low class - oh no! there were some very chic well dressed executive people happily powering their own way to appointments. Whole families could be seen making their way down the roads with their toddlers in a wagon attached to the back of the parent's bike like a small train carriage. When the danish weren't riding bikes they where jogging around the beautiful natural lakes that have been created in the city - these people must be fit!

WOMEX was held in a large convention center called the Forum. This building is used for huge indoor events and concerts. Inside the Forum, exhibitors from all over the world set up their booths. Our delegation had a huge booth that was well located and accessible to attendees. I would have liked a large inflatable palm tree and sand on the ground to get people's attention but the wall-sized, bright, colorful Caribbean pictures around the outside of the booth helped set the mood. Our booth became the center of attention when at 5pm rum was served!

The Nordic folks were thinking outside the box when they created a hill made of real grass (including mud). It became a focal point for people to rest and hold meetings.

We spent each day from around 10 am until 6pm meeting people as they strolled past our booth. We attended panel discussions and workshops and had the opportunity to see performance showcases from around the world.

I met an interesting and talented Radio presenter from Germany by the name of Wolfgang Koenig. Wolfgang has a radio show on Multicult FM. He very kindly invited me to be interviewed on his show and played my song Fix it on Monday. I was impressed with the way he asked me a question in German, translated it to English and then translated my answer back into German. Thanks Wolfgang!

I went into WOMEX with realistic expectations, hoping to make some good contacts, new friends and possibly paving the way to future business through good relationships with people from my Caribbean neighborhood and the wider planet. Time will tell if I have been successful or not. Either way it was an inspiring and tremendously educational experience. My heartfelt thanks go out to the Caribbean Export Development Agency, the Regional Council of Martinique, the Martinique Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the European Union for making this trip possible.

The week Chick Corea came to Berklee

It was March 1985, I was a wide-eyed student at the phenomenal Berklee College of Music in Boston Massachusetts, when jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea came to visit for a week of activities. At that time I was in my third year of studies and had been fortunate enough to experience lectures, masterclasses and performances from a dizzying procession of visiting artists who at the time were some of the best musicians in the world. Stan Getz, Kenny Garrett, Betty Carter, Cleo Layne, Johnny Dankworth, Michel Petrucciani, Branford Marsalis the list went on and on.
Chick Corea  left us with astonishing memories of his dedication, virtuosity and… a piece of paper that I have kept to this day.
It’s titled “Cheap but good advice for playing music in a group”-  This is what it says…..

1) Play only what you hear.
2) If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
3) Don’t let your fingers and limbs just wander - place them intentionally.
4) Don’t improvise on endlessly - play something with intention, develop it or not, but then end off, take a break.
5) Leave space - create space - intentionally create places where you don’t play.
6) Make your sound blend. Listen to your sound and adjust it to the rest of the band and the room.
7) If you play more than one instrument at a time - like a drum kit or multiple keyboards - make sure they are balanced with one another.
8. Don’t make any of your music mechanically or just through patterns of habit. Create each sound, phrase and piece with choice - deliberately.
9) Guide your choice of what to play by what you like - not by what someone else will think.
10) Use contrast to balance the elements;
high - low
fast - slow
loud - soft
tense - relaxed
dense - sparse
11) Play to make the other musicians sound good. Play things that will make the overall music sound good.
12) Play with a relaxed body.  Always release whatever tension you create.
13) Create space - begin, develop and end phrases with intention.
14) Never beat or pound your instrument - play it easily and gracefully.
15) Create space - then place something in it.
16) Use mimicry sparsely - mostly create phrases that contrast with and develop the phrases of other players.
There you have it! Great advice from a great musician.