It's been a long week of travels, but we've made it to the Czech Republic! It began last Tuesday when I started out by driving to East Tennessee to meet fellow musician and one of my best friends, Hasee Ciaccio. We took Wednesday to drive to Washington D.C. where we stayed with her family members for a night. On Thursday, we took a train from Union Station to New York City. Luckily, we had the afternoon off and spent some time hunting down delicious Chinese food. After a quick break for dumplins and a selfie in Times Square it was off again on the metro to the Long Island Railroad to JFK International Airport. At 11:00 pm we took off into the air for Oslo in Norway where we arrived early the next morning. Finally, one more quick flight to Prague and we were greeted by our wonderful friends and musical mentors, Lee and Emily Bidgood, and their son Willis.
I'm so excited to be here for the next two weeks performing and calling square dances. The shows begin on Monday with a square dance in Prague and then we travel out and about the country for a few more performances. The weather has been terrific and I couldn't ask for better friends to share this experience with. I'm so lucky to have Lee as a one time teacher from my college days, but now as a lifelong friend. He's the one I call when I need levelheaded advice on life and one of my favorite fiddlers to play with. You're probably wondering how we all ended up in the Czech together though. Lee is an ethnomusicologist who studies bluegrass and folk music in the Czech Republic. I've included a link to some of his work here in the blog. He's been here off and on for years, but has taken the last year to teach here at the university. When he told us that we only needed to provide a plane ticket over here, we pounced on the opportunity to come.
Of course, it's always interesting to visit new places, but it is particularly interesting to see how residents in other countries interpret and evaluate your own culture. It can tell us so much about them, but more importantly it can tell us more about ourselves. It becomes clearer how present ourselves to the world. I hope we'll be a good representative for the states and the Appalachian region!
The view from our apartment, looking over the southeastern side of Prague.
What trip ti Prague could be complete without visiting the Charles Bridge?
One of the show posters from the upcoming shows.
That just about wraps it up for now. The jetlag isn't too bad, but now it's time for some rest, sight-seeing, and eating some good food!
Don't forget to check out Lee's work here:http://www.banjoromantika.com/
Until next time!-Tyler