bear blues exchange 2017

Three weeks ago, on a Friday afternoon, the Gentle Sorrows landed in Berlin for the Bear Blues Exchange! This is the view from our lovely host, Uli.

We weren't playing until Saturday, so Friday evening was for dancing and chilling; this is on our way to the venue in Friedrichshain. (When we arrived at the venue, and one of the people at the registration desk asked for my name, I didn't have time to start before the person next to her answered: "No, this is the Gentle Sorrows!" I was so confused, how do they know?! But then I realised, well, I have been on stage before, and people have started to recognise me. It's weird, and nice at the same time.)

Didn't even know she'd be joining Christoffer, but I was so pleased to meet my friend Elin.

And by Christoffer, I mean Christoffer Johansson, because Gothenburg musicians are taking over the world (as Fair City Blues expressed it, we must have some bluesy magic in the water over there. :)).

After Christoffer's beautiful sets, I promptly fell asleep in an armchair just off the dance floor. It had been a couple of stressful weeks, with moving houses and all kinds of emotional stuff, and when I finally landed, a few sleepless nights caught up with me, and I simply couldn't stay awake. So when Mattias was done dancing, we went back to the apartment to sleep ...

... which I did until about half past eleven in the morning, when I woke up to this. Ulrich, the amazing host that he was, had already been out shopping for fruit and made fruit salad for us. Anyone who makes me fruit salad in the morning will have my love forever. :)

And then, Mattias and I went out walking in Berlin, but that will have to be its own post, because obviously, tooooo many photos.

In the evening, we went to Haus der Sinne for soundcheck.

It was just slightly surreal coming here as the band. Last time I was here, three years ago, this is what I wrote on the blog: Monday night - or Tuesday morning, rather. It's 8:15 in the morning. I'm sleepy and happy and yes, on a dance high (after having finished the night with a 1,5 h dance of the kind that you'd rather not leave until the night is over - in this case, because my dance partner needed to go directly to work. :)). That kind of dance night.

(I didn't expect to top my last dance night at Haus der Sinne. But I think did.)

Falafel dinner around the corner after soundcheck - so good.

Another good thing about being the band. Free drinks! :)

And then, some dancing.

We played late night, at half past midnight. I don't have any photos of it, but I hope I'll never forget. It was like a continuation of our latest gig before this, in Amsterdam (read about it here). How do I describe it? This feeling of being the right person in the right place at the right time? That is what singing the blues for dancers feels like. I remember thinking while singing: this is my favorite thing I have ever done. Just think of the thing that makes you the most comfortable and most excited, the most happy, the most blissful (... while fully dressed); the most intensely yourself. That is what singing feels like these days, for me.

There's that pause. Those seconds between the last note of the song, and the applause. You know? Bands who don't play for dancers regularly don't anticipate it, and when it happens, it scares them; I've seen them shudder at that moment of intense nothingness, where the dancers are still locked in the dance they just finished, before they break the spell of the dance to turn their attention to the band (or their next dance partner). I swim in it. Staying in something as intense as a blues song, when the song has physically finished; that silent contract between the musicians and the dancers, is magical.

Every time we get a gig, I think: This might be the last one. I know not everyone loves our music, our style of jazzy blues, or even it they like it, they don't consider us right for their event. Which I completely understand, of course; it would be bizarre if every organiser in Europe wanted to have us for their event. But I just love it so much that sometimes I wish that every event in Europe wanted to fly us there. Can it just please never stop? But even when it does, as everything will, sooner or later: I'll know I've enjoyed every last bit of it.

We finished our last set at just before three. And then there was night fika!

And then I fell asleep on a couch in the basement. As I always do. :) Singing the blues is so exhausting. I woke up at four or so, had a couple of lovely, lovely dances, and was put in a taxi (who was payed for us by someone - I don't even know who, but I'm very grateful) when the dance closed at five or was it six? I don't remember. It doesn't really matter. :)

Johnny Shines / Snooky Prior | Trouble in Mind

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