The Troupe
This drummer's journey with other drummers.

Gig: September 19 & 20, 2009

The Troupe did a weekend gig at a Pirate Faire near Lake Casitas, here in California.  About a two hour drive for us, and we were able to make good time and arrive just before dusk.

We brought a full load this time, with almost our full compliment of performers.

The Troupe:

N, one of our fine drummers.

D, one of our fine drummers.

K, one of our fine drummers.

Me, one of our fine drummers.

The Twisted:

E, the leader of the Twisted.

C, one of their fine dancers.

K, one of their fine dancers.

T, one of their fine dancers.

S, one of their fine dancers.

M, one of their fine dancers.

The Students:

S, a fine dancer.

M, a fine dancer.

H, a fine dancer.

The Support:

N, our costumer.

E, hugely helpful in set ups and a sometime drummer.

J, hugely helpful in set ups, and a great cheerleader.

D, hugely helpful in set ups, and a great cheerleader.

Q, C’s son, and the best mannered 15 year old I have met.

E, our Little Twisted mascot, and a fine dancer.

So, all in all, we had nineteen members at the event, which is a wonderful turnout.

We arrived like the Tribal Horde that we are, all skirts and drums, hips and hands, tents and “Where is my flashlight?”

Our hosts, a very cool group of pirates known as The Port of the Black Sail, were stunned at how many of arrived in caravan, and how quickly we set up and essentially took over their encampment.   But, we are used to seeing the bemused looks before, and the very next morning (after a great bout of beauty drinking, flirting, and sleeping) we took our positions on the lean-to dance stage they had kindly created for us, and began our first performance of the day.

For logistical reasons, D and K were not arriving until Saturday afternoon, so the first set had to be handled by N and I alone.   N played the big Dohola (graciously lent by D) and I was on my red neck Doumbek.  We have been playing together for a few years now, and N knows how to almost completely ignore me while I play fills and riff off of the steady rhythm he lays down.   He also feel deeply in love with the Dohola, which you could see on his face as he played.

We sounded very good together, and in fact drew an early morning camera crew over.   They we shooting for a kids show that teaches history through time travel.  Seemed cool, and they were fascinated by our performance, taping nearly the whole thing.

And then, E got up to dance.   First of all, she is nine years old, whip smart, and fearless.   She has been learning some of the cues and moves from the Twisted in her capacity as the mascot.

She got right up on the front, cued the grown ups, and danced.

Not only did she look great in her costume (so adorable!) but she also danced with a great deal of confidence.  She was on the beat, her moves were strong, and I have honestly seen professional dancers that could learn from her stage presence.  The Twisted followed her cues, which were obviously correct and well timed, and the crowd ate it up.  E surrendered the lead, followed the cues from all the other Twisted, and looked for all the world like she was serious, but also having the time of her life.  She earned a huge round of very deserved applause.

It was a great set overall, one of the best we have done.

We performed a couple more sets that morning, took the afternoon off from the heat, and then did a late afternoon set that K and D joined in on.   The afternoon set went really well, and then it was dinner time, and party time.

Having woken up on Sunday only slightly the worse for wear from partying until 1:30 and then sleeping in a tent, we faced the morning sets with great fortitude.   Also, with lots of coffee.

The morning set went very well, with D laying down a solid base, and N and I riffing on the high end.

As always the dancers were wonderful, and this time the students danced a part of the set as well.

I should explain about the students.  E teaches classes, both locally in dance studios and also at some of the college extension courses in our area.   From time to time one of the students expresses a serious interest in performing with the main troupe, and she invites them to these events to give them a chance to experience performing for an audience.

S, M, and H danced during the morning set, and looked great.   A lot of nervous giggling, but they got up there, hit the spots, made the turns, read the cues and danced.

They were terrific, and I could honestly see them joining the Twisted if they should choose to commit the time and effort to it.

As I know from my own experiences, getting up on stage and performing for the first time takes some guts, and these ladies had that in spades.  Super to drum for them, and it was really nice to watch.  I know that E was very proud of their performance (she was beaming all day) and also thrilled they had such a good time.  More dancers are a good thing.  A great thing!

And then it was time to pack up, thank our hosts profusely, shake hands and give hugs all around, and hit the road for home.

I love these events.  Love drumming, and meeting new people and performers.  I love drumming for dancers, anytime and anywhere.   That all said, nothing is better than a hot shower and a soft clean bed when you get home after a few nights of Faire, and tent sleeping.

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