Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Full steam ahead

I have to admit. I didn't have a chance to write much at all for this blog on the train. D├ęsormais je commence maintenant. What can I say? It was like a dream. The people I met and the stories they shared were sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious and almost always touching in some way. For some it was the last trip across the country before they go to a retirement home. For others it was a great view and friendly service. There were sharpshooters with their cameras cursing the pollen reflecting off the windows in the bright yellow sunlight as trees animals and colourful landscape posed under consistantly blue skies. We saw the country roll past like an ad for Candian wilderness on a really big screen tv. I am happy to say that we took tracks on a Northern route that afforded us views you simply cannot match with those of  the more commonly travelled Trans Canada highway.
   Playing on the train was a challenge. Virpi and I devised a system of perching on the side of chairs, or wrapping one of our legs around some fixed object. It was really funny to try and brace yourself at the top of the stairs with the train rocking and rolling beneath our feet. We had different groups to play to each day. There were a delightful bunch of American tourists who were happy to sing with us.  There was even a tour group from Japan, I met this one couple from Tokyo, and the husband was crazy about trains. It was so cute, they told me every train they came across they took, including the skytrain in Vancouver. Touring the world by train, what a great idea!
  The first couple V and I met were from Scotland and Canada, and we knew the moment we met them they were our pals. After both losing their life partners at an early age, they met in the 90's at a party. He lived in Scotland at the time but was visiting friends in Canada. She asked him to become her penpal, since she was based here in Canada and wanted to keep in touch. Years passed and they fell in love through their long distance correspondance. A real Griffin and Sabine.
    Virpi and I played for the economy class as well, they had a bubble viewing car as well. We had to cross many cars to get there. It was quite the feat manouvering our instruments across the train. The hallways were narrow but well equipped with handles on the walls. V and I thanked our lucky stars we didn't have to move something as big as a double bass!
   During the trip we learned how to play our new HAPI drums on a few songs, and they were a hit! It was fun to play such a soothing sound after rocking out on accordion and violin. The acoustics in the viewing cars were great for these drums. I noticed it made us sing in a different way was well, more like a lullaby than party time. Covering Leonard Cohen's 'Hey that's no way to say goodbye' and Joni Mitchell's 'Woodstock' we found a tonal quality that seemed almost magical. You'll see what we mean if you come see us play with Abigail Lapelle at the TRANZAC in Toronto this Saturday (Oct. 5th) at an early show starting at 7:30pm.
  The landscape changed around Northern Ontario and soon sugar maples and Staghorn sumach painted the forests with red and bright orange. We arrived in Toronto exactly on time. This trip was so worthwhile. Take the train across Canada, you won't regret it. I hope we can go East next!
 See you on the train sometime, Willow

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Oh Ontario! & home sweet home



Oh Ontario!

What a pretty last day it was  and  I can still feel the movement of the train and last nights merriments in my head. We met so many wonderful people. Heard dozens of songworthy stories and ate enough cake to make Marie Antoinette proud!
Yesterday after our gigs and dinner we end up to a dome car making songs and talking to various people while playing our newly purchased/learned and loved Hapi drums to the night sky ... A lovely instrument.
We reflected to the time on this travel and realised how lucky we were to have done the journey and how we had learned not only many new songs but also connected to people we most likely would not have otherwise met. We got invitations for stay in many countries and everyones' kindness will stay with us for a long time.
I am trying to make a little video compilation of the little snippets we filmed on the way so you can get the real feeling from the trip too...and post it soon.
Thank you for travelling with us!


ps. We do have a gig coming up in Toronto the 5th of October at the Tranzac club!
Come by if you can!

x :)
Willow & V


Wednesday and Hornepayne




It is Wednesday already in Ontario and we have played 2 gigs already ... It's 4pm and now stretching legs at Hornepayne. There seems to be very little here but we got nice photo ops and noticed how many people we really have travelled with. Everyone is really smiley and nice. It seems we got a bit of a celebrity status here amongst the ( mostly retiree) passengers. End up posing to photographs and thanking for thank yous and plentiful complements. .. It's been a great trip so far. And hard to believe we'll be at home soon. The rocking of the train has become a quite familiar motion to move along with and to play to.
The weather is like blushing bride and sun shine makes this to feel like a real holiday. 
I been trying to spot a bear. No luck; just get my eyes crossed trying riser the details in a passing by forests... That's about the amount of menace we have on this trip if you don't count the body checking fellow passengers while we rummage past them with our instruments on the way to the car where the gig is... Oh!SWANS!!! I saw nesting swans just now...! Starting to understand why the people in The Festival Express partied so much... Otherwise it really is quite retiree kinda mellow journey. Oh autumn you look so pretty! 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Winnipeg stop


 We have arrived in Winnipeg and it's been a fantastic trip, but we haven't had access to wifi, so hence the lack of blog postings... The trip has been so very special. There seems to be a large amount of octogenerians who have recently lost their life partners. Their courage in the extremely bumpy hallways to and from dining, supporting us as audience in the lounge cars and their steadfastly positive attitudes melts my heart. I feel so lucky to have met them. The staff on via (all from Winnipeg it seems!) have been so fun and generous. Today we saw snow geese and bison and yesterday sighted an elk. The train has been such a romantic form of transportation. Some couples have waited all their lives to cros the country like this. It's like going back in time. The rhythm of the rails has been apparent in our playing, which had been so fun. Gotta get back on train now! Stay tuned for now later postings!

Monday, 23 September 2013

In Jasper

An early bird rising after yesterdays rumpus. There are misty clouds hanging everywhere around and above the foresty mountains. And a healthy numbered population of bold eagle is breakfasting by us on the riverbanks. I walked the train from end to end as a morning jog. There are many empty pods and seats. Three sky-decks and one all glass car...and it still looks like the train from "Some like it hot"...almost expect Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn to peek out from behind a curtain... That would be creepy ... But nice too. Our first gig IN .A. TRAIN. Is at 2pm ... Few people already asking for the performances when I walk past. I notice; there is not too much to do in a train...  But somehow it is fun anyways. 
Here the video from Vancouver station: http://youtu.be/YC1eSypTvWs

Now dinner after playing in Jasper... :P

At Vancouver Central Station



Sunday, 22 September 2013

Toot Toot! Train leaving!

Today ... Oh ... Today the Vancouver was rainy but oh so lush.
We found our scattered belongings and were sent off to our journey by
The wonderful Steve and Kathleen all the way to the station.
It seems to be such a pilgrimise in the station as there is only one train to go... And we are directed to play for the departure of the people...We can already see who our fans will be...
The train is very much like the train in the film " Some like it Hot" and with many extremely helpful and kind people ... I am warned that the internet connections might be quite...Primitive. My apologies  for the belated  posts if that is  the case... We are in a state of perpetual animation... And wonder...
...grrr : will post the freaking video and links as soon as this google shot interface will start making sense... Grrr.

Saturday, 21 September 2013




Here we go!


 Willow and V on aboard of VIA train across Canada from Vancouver to Toronto!
Starting tomorrow evening we play our first set on a Vancouver VIA rail Pacific Central Train station.
..and then it's ON!
Today we have been feverishly ironing our dresses and practising wearing beads... printing lyrics for people to sing along and humming "Echo Beach".
We have enjoyed the lush weather of Vancouver and been spoiled rotten by the hospitality of the most fantastic Bruce and Stephan.
...A question arises: How much wine is enough for a tired musician?!? 
The air is full of anticipation and adventure. 
Come along with us!!!

(Photo by James Dean... pimped up by V)