I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who’s ever attended an intimate acoustic gig, or better yet an open mic night, watched talented musicians get up on stage and sing, play guitar, breath life into their harmonicas or drums effortlessly, enjoying and marvelling at their talent whilst also coveting their skill and dexterity, whispering under my breath “I wish I could play like that”.
If you think of playing guitar like playing golf, then I’d say my handicap is about 18. Give me a long, straight hole and my drives (basic chords) are pretty solid. I can reliably wack them down the fairway with my big dawg no problem. Give me a more challenging hole with bunkers, I can clumsily make my way through but I’ll make it to the green eventually.
Whilst I still have a lot to learn on the fairway, my short game needs attention, and that’s where the magic happens. You might be able to thwack your way onto the Green in one shot, but that means bugger all of you can’t Putt for shit! It all takes time and practice.
I’ve been playing guitar on and off for about 10 years, but never quite had enough time to hone my game. Now, I have time, and I have Arambol.
The music scene here is diverse, inclusive, infectious and prolific. It feels like we’ve listened to every instrument under the sun from acoustic guitar, to harmonicas, sitarist, mouth harps, didgeridoos and berimbaus, and things we don’t even know the names of, and there’s pretty much always a group of musicians or instruments around that you can mess about with or learn from. You can’t help but fall under its spell. I’ve been reminded just how magic and unifying music can be, especially when the Arambol MO is “you can join in if you want to!”.
The barrier of “them on stage” and “us in the cheap seats” doesn’t exist here. If you’re not playing, you’re encouraged to sing, or shake percussion, or next time “put your name down and give it a go! Who cares if you’ve never been on stage before!”. The crowds watch on with respect and admiration no matter what the skill level, and you can usually give the player a hug or a hand shake when they come off stage. And the smiles, oh the smiles…
It doesn’t have to be music but anything that can bring you, your friends and strangers together, that can elicit respect and enjoyment at the same time with lots of smiling, then I’d say that’s just about the best thing in the world.
I have time. I have a wish. I have some ability. I still have a long way to go. I have a inspirational place to practice and talented people to learn from. And now, I have a small child’s guitar (“Steve”) that’s had a lot of love breathed into it thanks to Prana, and Denso’s already picking it up too.