Madison, WI

Please note that I have added an additional page, entitled “The Peeps”, to the top menu. It contains a list of all the people who have been involved in some way with my recording project. The list will grow, and grow, and grow. Ideally, it will become long enough to bridge both the Missouri River and the income gap.

Madison! With more restaurants per capita than any other city in the nation, it is a college town to rival all other college towns (and win). I had a great time in Madison, even though I only stayed one day. I arrove Tuesday night and met my host, Tommy Rylander. Also, ‘arrove’ is a word.

Tommy, the beer-brewing political stud.

He is a great guy, and since I too am a great guy, we had really great times. He brews his own beer, and allowed me to sample one of his brews, which was fantastic. He also sent a bottle of a different brew (“Margawheata”) along with me, which I have yet to sample. He works for a senator in the WI capitol building. If all of this wasn’t enough to commend him, he also took me to an excellent Nepalese restaurant.

We also met up with fellow Couchsurfer Corey Losenegger and his bass-playing friend for a brief jam session, and then it was time to head back and chat a bit before calling it a night. I was so tired I fell asleep on his couch in the middle of checking email.

The Couch of the Rylanders

Next morning, I was over to a dance studio to meet and record Carlos Armacanqui, who is a capoerista. Before A.G. asks, I’ll just answer — a capoerista is a person who plays/performs Capoeira, which is a dance/martial art/music style. Yeah, that’s what I thought — super cool. Check out some vids if you want to familiarize yourself with it a bit.

Carlos had a whole troupe of players assembled for the session, which was awesome — I thought it was just one guy who wanted to record some sounds, but it turned out to be a whole Capoeira group. We set up in the dance studio that Carlos teaches at.

Recording some Capoeira!

They played through about five songs straight, and then we recorded an intro/outro combo which I will try to use on the project. Finally, Carlos and James recorded some various solo berimbau sounds (that’s the stick/gourd/wire instrument you see them playing) for me.

The berimbau players. Mirrors! Fun With Drums.

After this, I spent the remainder of my time in Madison hanging with Carlos and Maria. We caught some lunch at “the carts” which is a pedestrian plaza area in front of the library where there are lots of food carts. I visited the African cart and had some excellent curry with come kind of bubbly sour flatbread that was quite good.

We walked all about State Street, which (like everywhere else evidently) is undergoing construction.

View down State Street, with pedestrians unusually relegated to sidewalks. Another view down State Street, with similarly relegated pedestrians.

We also snuck into the liberal arts building and played some piano. It turns out that Maria is not only a capoeirista, she is a classical pianist who has evidently played quite the repertoire of songs in her pianistic past. She is also, like me, a piano snob. So, good times. Carlos, being a musician, could not resist the call of the piano and began to learn how to play the piano as well, with two teachers — a classical girl with a good ear and a jazz guy who can read a bit. If only every piano student could be so lucky, right?

All too soon it was time to say goodbye.

Saying goodbye to Carlos and Maria.

I hung out in a coffeeshop for a while and worked on my previous post before heading on to Milwaukee!

NEXT: Milwaukee.