Thank you for coming to our concert

We are aware that we’re competing for our audience’s attention and alternatives not limited to live performances. You could have been staying at home or socialising with friends, but you chose to come see us perform.

For that, we thank you.

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Here is a blog to those who came to our concerts in Utrecht on 12th and 13th September.

We do notice our audiences’ reaction after each piece. It’s even more meaningful observing the reaction of those we know. We love talking to members of the audience afterwards.

After our Saturday Open Monument Day concert, we and four of our friends (a conservatory student, an astrophysicist, a photographer, and a language teacher) meandered to the Recht Bank Restaurant next to the Utrecht Archives for a hearty afternoon meal under a big tree. It was a jolly way to relax after a performance.

We weren’t so lucky today with the colder weather and our pressing schedule to return home for an early morning recording session tomorrow.

The economist in me rants and raves that free concerts are never truly free. Attending a concert requires a conscious effort and commitment to come to the venues, sit down, and listen, given all other activities you could be doing on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The transaction costs and opportunity costs are not zero. If it were truly free, we would be performing in your home!

As Internet and mobile telephone technologies make it ever easier to communicate, search, and get things done, the ideal of a seamless, effortless transaction gets redefined. In contrast, the physical logistics of getting from A to B becomes a relatively nontrivial matter. As a time challenged person, I plan around my trips and destinations. I would hope that our concerts added to your day.

We are aware that we’re competing for our audience’s attention and alternatives not limited to live performances. You could have been staying at home or socialising with friends, but you chose to come and see us perform.

For that, we thank you.

After all, it does make a huge difference whether we see familiar faces in the audience or not. Giving a concert is a kind of communication. I often have to resist the urge to “speak” to those I recognise directly.

I had sent an e-mail with links to the previous three blog entries to personal friends and contacts, University of Utrecht International Neighbours Group discussion board, Utrecht Meetup, International Rotary Club of Utrecht, my various Linked-In groups, Facebook, and Twitter.

You could ask, why make the extra effort of sending out e-mails when these two free concerts in Utrecht were already being heavily promoted by the organisers? Why the extra effort? We’re not getting paid for it. Why bother spending time writing programme notes, translating them into Dutch, editing them, and getting them printed when we’ve only got 30 minutes, at most 45 minutes of unpaid airtime?

Other musicians were also performing for free. Did they also spend as much time as we did? We didn’t have any photos or business cards to give out or CDs to sell. Was our concert a free giveaway — with nothing in return?

The conditions under which we performed were far from optimal. In the Aula of the 600-year old Academiegebouw on Saturday, people were freely moving in and out, causing a kind of restlessness and ambient background noise which made it difficult to concentrate and listen well.

Today’s concert in the not-yet-completed new building of Centrum Muziek XXI was delayed by 30 minutes due to an unexpected change in the schedule. Although we had arrived an hour early, we could not warm up or test the extremely dry acoustics because the hall was occupied for a rehearsal. Our changing room was a windowless toilet for the disabled. There was no soap anywhere to wash our hands, so Robert played with sticky fingers. Our programme notes were nowhere to be found.

The above questions are material for another concert blog on the economics of live concert performances. I had previously commented on risks in concert performances and risk management in concert productions but plan to write more about this, if there is interest.

As every performance is unique, we invite you and your friends and family to come to our forthcoming concerts. Thank you for your support! We welcome your feedback, as always.

Forthcoming concerts:

Sunday 20 September 2009 Noon (gratis) Oosterkerk, Amsterdam

Saturday 26 September 2009 Evening, House Concert, Amsterdam (new address)

Saturday 3 October 2009 Monument House Concert Series: introducing Derek Gripper, classical guitarist

Pull, pluck, strum, bang! on 13 September in Utrecht

Yet, unlike contemporary art, new music requires more effort to reach listeners. Could it be that visual appreciation is easier than audio? Or is the time element? That is, one can stand in front of a painting for an indefinite amount of time to familiarise and appreciate. On the other hand, live music is delivered in real-time. Unless there’s a recording, you won’t hear it again. And why would you buy a CD of music you’ve only heard once? ….not even sure that you’d appreciate it?

The brand new building of Muziekhuis Utrecht (Music House Utrecht), called Centrum Muziek XXI, at Loevenhoutsedijk 103 beckons. It’s a new venue for contemporary music, which, like contemporary art, speaks of the age we live in.

Yet, unlike contemporary art, new music requires more effort to reach listeners. Could it be that visual appreciation is easier than audio? Or is the time element? That is, one can stand in front of a painting for an indefinite amount of time to familiarise and appreciate. On the other hand, live music is delivered in real-time. Unless there’s a recording, you won’t hear it again. And why would you buy a CD of music you’ve only heard once? ….not even sure that you’d appreciate it?

There lies the rub.

Who would risk going to a concert of unfamiliar works? You might not enjoy it. When the composers are also unfamiliar, you may wonder why bother at all. In our case, it’s a quadruple whammy because the venue is completely new and our duo isn’t world famous. But if you like our “Mediterranean Summer” programme on the previous day, you will definitely enjoy “Pull, Pluck, Strum, Bang!” on 13th September 2009.

Why would you go to Centrum XXI in Utrecht on a Sunday afternoon in September? 

Curiosity perhaps.

Adventure?

Inspiration?

Education?

New music on a rare combination of instruments (piano and guitar) invites you to new possibilities. Think outside the box as the composers have. What can you do with a piano and a guitar other than play them the way they have always been played in the past three centuries?

I visited the Museum of Modern Art in Paris twice this past August to find out why modern art seems so much more appreciated than modern music. Perhaps I should ask the audience at our contemporary music concert this Sunday afternoon.

Walking through the misty shower on the strand in Paris in August
Walking through the misty shower on the strand in Paris in August

“Pull, pluck, strum bang!” Concert Programme

Abstract and Dance (2007)           
Gijs van Dijk (b. 1954)

When Bach, Stravinsky and The Who Met (2005)           
Allan Segall (b. 1959)

Drizzle (2007)           
Lan-Chee Lam (b. 1982)

Suite Rio de la Plata (2004)           (last two movements only)
Erik Otte (b. 1955)

Danza de la pareja enamorada, lento ma non troppo

Candombe del amor recuperado, allegro giusto

 Programme Notes

Abstract and Dance (2007)             Gijs van Dijk (b. 1954)

Born in Delft, Gijs van Dijk studied composition and music theory with Tristan Keuris at the Hilversum and Utrecht Conservatory. He works as a composer, an improvising musician, a classical & jazz guitar player and teacher in Amsterdam. van Dijk has worked with many leading Dutch musicians, mainly as a composer for chamber music ensembles but also in various improvised music ensembles.

“Abstract and Dance” is a kind of rendered piece. The first movement develops in the direction of twelve tone music which suddenly changes into a stylized Spanish dance in the second part.

When Bach, Stravinsky and The Who Met (2005)            Allan Segall (b. 1959)

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Dutch/American composer Allan Segall grew up in Denver, Colorado, and has most recently served as Concert Director at the Engelse Kerk in Amsterdam where he lives. He received his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He acquired Dutch citizenship in 2007.

Segall wrote “When JS Bach, Igor Stravinsky and The Who Met” for the Baby Boomer Generation and and those young at heart who love The Who. This amazing work is a synthesis of art music and rock, a work where the guitar actually surpasses the piano in volume as guitarist demonically strums to an exhilarating climax that recalls Segall’s favorite Who album, Tommy.

Drizzle (2007)            Lan-Chee Lam (b. 1982)

Born in Hong Kong, Lan-Chee Lam’s music often combines traditional Chinese and contemporary Western techniques, exploring new dimensions of the sound world. Her works have been performed in Hong Kong, Canada, United States and Italy. She is currently pursuing a DMA at University of Toronto.

Drizzle, as in light rain, makes use of guitar harmonics and the insides of a grand piano. There are pentatonic passages which make the piano sound like a Chinese instrument.  Lam wrote, “The main challenge of writing for guitar and piano is the balance issue. In order to let people hear the guitar part more clearly, the piano can’t always plays too loud or busy figures. Therefore, I try to use more high register from the piano which has a thinner sound. It surprisingly works well with the guitar harmonics, as well as the inside piano plucking. This sounds like the bell. The main idea for writing Drizzle is to reflect the beauty of light rain with its transparent texture, with reference to guitar tremolos.”

Suite Rio de la Plata (2004)            Erik Otte (b. 1955)

Born in Leiden, home to the oldest university in the Netherlands, Erik Otte played the violin as a child but made his final choice for guitar at age 16. After graduating from the Royal Conservatory (The Hague) and the Conservatory of Rotterdam, he followed an international performance career before settling into composing for chamber music in recent years.

Suite Rio de la Plata, which consists of four dance movements about the various stages of love (from heart break to new love), was written for Anne Ku and Robert Bekkers as a present. It is the first work dedicated to the duo.

A Mediterranean Summer on 12 September

The “Mediterranean Summer” programme is part of the larger traditional programme we’ve performed throughout the Netherlands and three times in Spain. This Saturday we will give it away for free in a 600-year old building in central Utrecht: the Academiegebouw at 13:00.

Our Mediterranean Summer began in May with Spain and ended in August with Crete. It was a summer full of sunshine, beaches, fresh octopus and shellfish, new friendship, and cross-cultural collaborations. 

The “Mediterranean Summer” programme is part of the larger traditional programme we’ve performed throughout the Netherlands and three times in Spain. This Saturday we will give it away for free in a 600-year old building in central Utrecht: the Academiegebouw at 13:00. 

Dare we conclude our summer in Paleochora, Crete, the last week of August? I certainly hope not, for I have already booked a flight to Italy for mid-October, to stretch the summer in the Mediterranean just a wee bit longer.

The last sunset in Paleochora, Crete, August 2009
The last sunset in Paleochora, Crete, August 2009

“A Mediterranean Summer” concert programme

Sonatina
Federico Moreno Torroba (1891 – 1982)
Allegretto
Andante
Allegro

Fantasia para un Gentilhombre (1954) (complete guitar concerto!)
Joaquín Rodrigo (1901 – 1999)
Villano y Ricercare
Españoleta y Fanfare de la Caballería de Nápoles
Danza de las Hachas
Canario


Asturias (Leyenda)

Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909)
guitar solo

Summer from The Four Seasons
Antonio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741)
Allegro non molto arr. R. Bekkers (2008)
Adagio e piano – Presto e forte
Presto

Walking through a misty shower on the strand in Paris, August 2009
Walking through a misty shower on the strand in Paris, August 2009

In between Spain and Crete, we ventured into Paris for some inspiration. The modern art exhibition at the Pompidou Centre got us thinking about contemporary music. Why doesn’t the music of live composers attract the large crowds that pour into contemporary art galleries?

Free concerts in Utrecht

Utrecht is known for its monthly Cultural Sundays. But the Uitfeest beats them all. We have been invited to participate in the biggest music festival of the year, to perform in the Academiegebouw (built 1462) and the brand new Centrum Muziek XXI (to open in 2010) !

Utrecht is known for its monthly Cultural Sundays, with free events for everyone to feast on. But the Uitfeest (the double e is pronounced as a long a, i.e. pronounced like “Out Faist” — to mean “Out Festival”) beats them all. The Utrecht Uitfeest is truly special and not to be missed. More than 100 free concerts will take place in central Utrecht on Sunday 13th September, beginning with open air opera on the main canal Oude Gracht.

Three years after moving to Utrecht, we have been invited to participate in the biggest music festival of the year: the Utrecht Uitfeest on Sunday 13 September 2009. At 13:00 our piano guitar duo (called the Bekkers Piano Guitar Duo) will give a half-hour concert in the brand new building of Muziekhuis Utrecht at Centrum XXI of exciting music of live composers: Otte, van Dijk, Segall, and Lam. These works span several continents: South America, North America, Europe, and Asia.

This contemporary programme will be repeated together with other new works in a private house concert in Amsterdam on 26th September, in the artists quarter. [The Amsterdam house is above a warehouse used by artists to do large scale sculpture work. For details about this private house concert which includes drink and food, please contact the duo as space is limited.]

Bekkers Piano Guitar Duo in Italy, 2007
Bekkers Piano Guitar Duo in Italy, 2007

On Saturday 12th September at 13:00, we will be giving a 45-minute concert in the Open Monumentendag (Open Monument Day), a national event where historic monumental buildings are opened for the public to visit (for free). “A Mediterranean Summer” programme includes much loved tunes by Vivaldi, Rodrigo, Torroba, and Albeniz in the famous Academiegebouw near the Dome (tallest building in the country).

Rich in history (dating back to 1462) Academiegebouw (translated literally to mean the Academy Building) is a beautiful place with decorated high ceilings and tiled floors used by University of Utrecht (largest in the country) for graduation ceremonies and oraties (professors receiving their tenures). This “Mediterranean Summer” programme will be repeated a week later in Amsterdam’s Oosterkerk, also a free concert (20 September 2009 at noon).

Sunday 13 September 2009 13:00 – 13:30 FREE

21st century programme: “Pull, pluck, strum, bang!”

Centrum Muziek XXI

Loevenhoutsedijk 103,Utrecht

Utrecht Uitfeest

Saturday 12 September 2009 @ 13:00 FREE

Traditional programme: “A Mediterranean Summer

Academiegebouw Domplein, Utrecht

Open Monumentendag

Information about music events (concerts), walking maps of Utrecht for Open Monument Day (including PDF’s).

Piano Guitar Duo concert agenda

Listings of free or nearly free concerts (mostly in Utrecht) in the Netherlands

Wind to create energy, art, music, and friendship

High above the village of Paleohora, I and other participants of the 14th Levka Ori project worked with the wind for a week. We arrived on Friday 21 August exhausted from the long flights from Amsterdam and Brussels. The next morning we met in a hut on the sandy beach to discuss our plans.

High above the village of Paleohora, I and other participants of the 14th Levka Ori project worked with the wind for a week. I hesitate to use the word “work” for it has felt more like play than work. Nevertheless, I say “work” for it represents a focussed effort to create something out of nothing, communicate our ideas about self-expression, and engage in a creative process that would spill over to other areas in our individual lives.

We arrived on Friday 21 August exhausted from the long flights from Amsterdam and Brussels. The next morning we met in a hut on the sandy beach to discuss our plans. The founder and co-0rganiser Fernand (pictured below) explained the aims of the project and this year’s theme of wind. As none of us had to pay or were paid to participate, it was a free option bounded only by the opportunity cost of being there. [I’ll explain this later in a future blog on economics and freakonomics.]

Fernand, the founder and co-organiser of Levka Ori project
Fernand, the founder and co-organiser of Levka Ori project. Photo by Julian H. Scaff

Most of the participants had good ideas about what they would be doing or at least aiming for. Robert wanted to use his guitar in different locations to hear it against the wind or with the wind. As I didn’t have access to a piano, I resorted to taking pictures and videos with my mobile phone to blog and remember this event, if nothing else. Unlike others, I had no clue what I would or could be doing on the mountain where we’d be “catching” the wind.

Anne trying to take a picture of the panoramic view above Paleochora, Crete
Anne trying to take a picture of the panoramic view above Paleochora, Crete. Photo by Julian H. Scaff

And what a windy surprise it was to finally get to the plateau 900 meters above sea level, where only goats and their masters roamed. The wind was a constant companion as I explored the dry terrains of this area. The wind was loud against my ears, but only because I was there.

You cannot hear the wind unless it hits an object such as a microphone or your ears. It’s invisible but you can see its effects. You can feel its force and temperature on your skin. It cools you under the heat of the noon day sun. Sometimes it threatens to blow  you away. It’s fearless and arhythmic. It removes all silence and doubt.

While one artist was visibly recording the wind, the other was looking for material to cast her resin. [See the contrast below.]

An artist recording the wind in Paleochora, Crete
An artist recording the wind in Paleochora, Crete. Photo by Julian H. Scaff

The creative process involves making apriori assumptions and ideas, testing them in an environment of exploration and experimentation, tweaking or changing the original plan, abandoning initial plans, starting anew, etc. It’s a necessary part of being an artist. The goal is not to create but to engage in the process.

Blurred and changed by the wind
Blurred and changed by the wind. Photo by Julian H. Scaff

On Sunday, tired of the bumpy, uphill roads and the constant force of the wind, I took to the beach by myself while others pressed on. I finished reading the book “Freakonomics” and wondered why I was here at all. True, I was curious about the workshop in which the outcome would be something or nothing. I was eager to work with others, to see the world from their points of view. Most of all, I needed a holiday. And I expected Robert to want the same. That was the rationale for booking this working holiday.

Robert Bekkers playing guitar in the wind above Paleochora, Crete
Robert Bekkers playing guitar in the wind above Paleochora, Crete. Photo by Julian H. Scaff

On my second visit to the project site, I decided to collect goat droppings, pebbles, and dry wood sticks to make musical instruments. The goat excrements were round and light like coffee beans. I thought of putting them in empty water bottles and Cretan beer cans and using them like shakers. I would make wind chimes out of pebbles and sticks. I was excited about my idea.

On the way back downhill, I saw Julian’s wind machine powering two lights on a simple installation. Art and renewable energy, he told me, was his interest. A few days later, he erected another wind-powered chain of lights which we could see from the village at night.

Julian Scaff and his wind machine on Paleohora, Crete
Julian Scaff and his wind machine on Paleohora, Crete. Photo by Julian H. Scaff

…. to be continued….

Cocktail conversation at sunset in Paleochora, Crete

Five minutes before sundown, a lean man in his early fifties approached our table. Our conversation moved slowly much like the sun before it touched the earth. Until it actually skimmed the top of the mountain, the sunset seemed to take forever. The pace quickened as soon as it intersected the dark silhouette of the distant slope.

Five minutes before sundown, a lean man in his early fifties approached our table in the corner cafe at the far southeastern end of the sandy beach of Paleochora. [Note: sometimes the village is spelled without a c, i.e. Paleohora.]

“Hello, do you mind if I sit here?”

Paleochora, Crete at sunset
Paleochora, Crete at sunset

The evenly tanned man gently pulled out the empty plastic chair next to Robert.

“I just want to see the sunset for a few minutes,” he added politely.

“Sure, please go ahead,” gestured Robert. “We saw you yesterday. We were sitting over there. But all the tables on that side have been taken.”

The fair haired man nodded and explained that he was here with his girlfriend and her family. “It’s open evening tonight, so we’re free to do as we please. She is with her sister, and I am alone.”

He ordered a glass of fresh orange juice while I sipped the special house cocktail containing creme de cacao, Bailey’s, and some exotic ingredients.

“Orange juice is so cheap here. Squeeze two oranges and it’s only two euros! But cappucino is the same price as in Germany.” He gave the waiter two euro fifty.

“Where are you from in Germany?” I asked.

“Freiburg.” It sounded vaguely familiar though I had not been there in any of my dozen visits to his country.

Our casual conversation moved slowly, much like the sun before it touched the earth. Until it actually skimmed the top of the mountain, the sunset seemed to take forever. The pace quickened as soon as it intersected the dark silhouette of the distant slope.

The German had come to Paleochora (pronounced with a silent “c”) some 30 years ago when it was full of hippies living in wooden huts. “You can still run into a few of those ageing hippies.  There weren’t apartments or hotels dotting the landscape then.”

He was here on a two week holiday, and sunset was a precious moment.

“Where are you from?” he asked us.

“I’m from Holland,” said Robert and turned to me. “Well, Anne is sort of also. But she can explain.”

As usual, to avoid a difficult question, I  tried to summarise it all in one sentence. “I consider myself Chinese although I grew up on an American air base in Okinawa.”

Robert introduced ourselves as a piano guitar duo from the Netherlands.

“Oh?” he seemed interested. “And which instrument do you play?”

“Guitar,” said Robert. “Anne plays the piano. But there’s no piano here.”

“So I didn’t bring my music.”

“Nor your piano, I see. Was it too heavy to carry?”

Robert chuckled.  “She would have to be Horowitz to get her piano here!”

The man smiled and volunteered, “I used to play the piano when I was young and then I studied to become a professional violinist.”

He grimaced, “I had to stop because it was hurting my ears. Thankfully I was forced to discontinue. I wouldn’t want to work so hard for so little pay.”

He complained that traveling in a string quartet got boring and playing in an orchestra grew tedious.

“So did you switch to something else that was easy but more rewarding?” I asked.

“Yes,” he leaned back in his chair. “I became a psychologist.”

“How interesting!” I told him about my busy teenage years on Okinawa. I accompanied choirs in school and church, played keyboards in bands, played organ for five weekly church services, and taught 20 private piano students, all before I turned 18. “It was too easy to earn money in music. That’s why I went to study engineering at college.”

“But you’re a professional musician now?” he was puzzled.

“Yes, after working in various non-music fields in different countries, I returned to music, lured by the idea of being paid to do what I loved and not having to follow other people’s agenda or operate to tight deadlines like my previous job as magazine editor.”

Sunset at Paleochora, Crete
Sunset at Paleochora, Crete

The sun had nearly disappeared by then. But we had only just begun the interesting part of our conversation. What kind of psychologist was he? Why did he choose to return to Paleochora after such a long time? Why didn’t he visit other parts of Crete?

We told him that we were actually jealous of musicians who could audition and play in an orchestra. 

“It’s hard to get hired as a guitarist,” said Robert. “Even harder as a classical guitarist.”

“And there are so many great pianists out there,” I added. “So here we are — a piano and guitar duo, possibly one of the hardest combinations of instruments. Unlike the violin, the piano and the guitar can’t ease into each other to gradually blend into a single sound. The piano hammers. The guitar plucks. We don’t sustain easily on a single note, like string, wind, or brass instruments.”

“Once we play our note, there’s no turning back,” said Robert. “We have to be exactly synchronised if we’re playing the same note otherwise you’ll hear two instead of one.”

The German psychologist shook his head. It did not make sense anyone would invest in such an impossible feat: to play such seemingly incompatible instruments with steep acoustical challenges and actively having to arrange and commission new music for the duo. Like so many others before him, he was skeptical.

“Perhaps we can continue this conversation tomorrow at sunset?” he suggested.

Yes, of course, we replied.

Meanwhile, he has 24 hours to figure out how we could afford to miss a week of teaching, rehearsing, and performing to come to this island.

Panoramic preview in Paleochora, Crete

Any mention of the Greek islands conjures up unforgettable images of clear blue skies, deep Mediterranean waters, and sunbathing on the sandy beaches. Half a lifetime later, I return to Greece once again, no longer alone but with a Dutch guitarist, an American photographer, and an American film maker to the largest of all Greek islands: Crete. Joining us from Belgium is a Norwegian artist, also curious and brave enough to make something creative in the one week we have together. The theme of this year’s project is WIND. What can you do with an acoustic classical guitar without amplification?

Any mention of the Greek islands conjures up unforgettable images of clear blue skies,  deep Mediterranean waters, and sunbathing on the sandy beaches. That was my memory of Mykonos, Naxos, and Corfu when I first ventured here as a college student.

Half a lifetime later, I return to Greece once again, no longer alone but with a Dutch guitarist, an American photographer, and an American film maker to the largest of all Greek islands: Crete. Joining us from Belgium is a Norwegian artist, also curious and brave enough to create something in the one week we have together for a possible exhibition in a museum in Brugges early next year.

Panoramic view from top of Paleochora Crete
Panoramic view from top of Paleochora Crete

Months ago when we as a duo first decided to participate in the Levka Ori project, we had sought in vain to find a venue with a piano in the ancient village of Paleochora, sometimes spelled Paleohora. Without it, any concert (if at all) would be solo guitar. And so I left my music behind in Utrecht but brought my laptop to record this journey and enjoy the last days of summer with the 2,000 inhabitants of this peninsular paradise.

On Saturday 22 August 2009, Fernand, the founder of the Levka Ori project in its 14th continuous year, introduced us to several high altitude areas in this southwestern part of Crete. We scaled various mountain tops to embrace the breathtaking panoramic views and test the acoustics only to be blown away by the strong and deafening Cretan wind. [For current conditions of temperature, wind direction and speed, check the real-time updates.]

The theme of this year’s project is WIND. What can you do with an acoustic classical guitar without amplification? We brainstormed numerous ideas: concert for guitar and wind, mosaic of guitar with wind, the wind playing the guitar, and fantasia for guitar with wind. While the other participants walked around the “Magnesia” site formulating their plans for the rest of the week, the guitarist walked from stone to stone, peak to peak, experimenting with his guitar and that fierce and unpredictable entity called the Cretan wind.

By late afternoon, we conceded that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to compete against the wind. We drove downhill and stopped at a lone Cretan church for a rest.

Cretan church above Paleochora, Crete
Cretan church above Paleochora, Crete

While inhaling the 360-degree view from this plateau, I heard the beautiful sound of solo guitar floating from the church. I posed for a memory and joined the others in the small white-washed building.

Anne Ku next to church above Paleochora, Crete
Anne Ku next to church above Paleochora, Crete

The romantic sound of nylon strings plucked against wood free from the wind welcomed us into that small space. Natural light acted as spot lights on the old mosaic floor. The guitarist stopped. He was only experimenting with chords and harmonics.

“Please play something I like,” I requested.

Outside the wind continued its roar. But inside the clean space of the Cretan church, I enjoyed a private concert of solo guitar.

Robert Bekkers in a Cretan church above Paleochora, Crete
Robert Bekkers in a Cretan church above Paleochora, Crete