Since I was a little girl the allure of all things Caribbean has been irresistible, particular Jamaica. It’s no secret Bob Marley tops my list of loves, along with the film Cool Runnings, the steel pan, Cuba and it’s world famous Buena Vista Social Club, the amazing island scenery and lifestyle, to list just a few of a myriad [including ye old bearded pirates ☠].
In lieu of actually jetting off to visit, I recently discovered the existence of a local steel band rehearsing and playing out of West End (learn more about the Steel Pan here). Of course I couldn’t resist joining. Last week was my first “lesson”. I say lesson loosely as there are no beginner classes per se – just a band of about 15 members eager to teach you the ropes while you rehearse with them. This was hugely daunting. I have NO musical experience…the best I can claim is two songs on the recorder, and if pushed, maybe Twinkle, Twinkle on the keyboard. I was way out of my comfort zone!! But I must sing the praises of the wonderful folk in the River City Steel Band. They were all amazingly welcoming, helpful and patient. After the first lesson, I couldn’t sleep that night – I was so excited and giddy. Yes, it was difficult for me and yes, I suspect it will take a good while to become even semi-decent, but the comradeship, the beautiful rhythmic music and the happiness I feel “playing” in such a wonderful band is completely joyous and fulfilling. I really wish I had done this ages ago!
Tonight will be my third lesson and I’m super excited. This new experience really has awakened me. I’ve realised just how monotone my life had become in the last couple of years. It’s always hard to step out of your rut and embrace something completely new, but I’m so glad I did. I have heaps on my bucket list – learn the drums, visit the Caribbean/Africa/South America, skydive, learn Spanish and French, climb an active volcano etc. But if I’m honest with myself, I often put things off because they seem hard, or a bit too scary. It’s easy just to carry on as normal, rather than stretch my mind/body/finances. So from here on in, no more talking the talk. I’m going to walk the walk!