The past month we’ve been renovating the whole first floor at Hip Harp Headquarters: my assistant Renee, her boyfriend, Tommy, and a builder, Andrew, who led us all in scraping, painting, rebuilding shelves, liberating wood floors, pulling off old wallpaper and paneling — and moving a lot of stuff to the basement … or out to the street to go to new homes.

We’re turning it into a mini-retreat center with a video studio — and last Saturday I inaugurated it with the first of a series of videos that explores what happens the first time musicians play together – how they decide what to play, how they communicate, connect, get lost, find their way back – how it is that this seemingly ‘magical’ thing happens that they can have a musical ‘conversation.’

I had the great luck to connect with Eduardo Betancourt recently a fabulous Venezuelan harpists who’s recently moved to the Boston area – and so I invited him for the maiden voyage of this project.’

Here’s what it looked like in the interim stage:

And now you can see what it looked like when I had …

A Musical Conversation with Eduardo Betancourt

Eduardo and his wife Rosie came to visit and we jammed in my studio while Rosie videotaped.  Eduardo and I have met at festivals in Europe, but never played together – so this was our first musical conversation.

We started with some very simple jams – basically a rhythm on two chords, then tried a variety of different musical ideas.  This video is at a moment when I was literally making up a new tune. I’d hit a wrong note in a chord, loved what it sounded like and start riffing on it, and Eduardo started following. Then I added a second, contrasting section to it, and once we both got the ‘form’ we were off and running.

This video that Rosie shot on her iPhone will give you a taste of this little exploration.

Stay tuned for more adventures  with more friends…

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