Sunday, December 2, 2007

This One's for Uncle Bill: Onechan's First Concert

While I've been sequestering recent onechan and imoto updates, particularly those having to do with language, storytelling, and teaching, over at Citizen of Somewhere Else--at least when I've been awake and free on Fridays to do so--this story is too Mostly Harmless to wait. It shows that between Uncle Bill, the storytelling lady at the library, one of her sensei at her Fredonia hoikuen, and My Melody, onechan may be developing something neither her dad nor her mom (who's now going by Full Metal Archivist in these here parts, but that's another story) ever had the inclination or opportunity, respectively, to cultivate: musical talent.

Although we've all known for more than half a year that onechan would be getting a bike for her 4th birthday, in the past couple of months she's been gravitating to the instrument sections of the toy areas we've make the mistake of getting too near while doing other shopping, looking longingly at the most realistic of the elementary-school-age guitars on display (no pre-school imitations for onechan!), and asking for a guitar for her birthday. So now she knows what she's getting for her 5th. Guess that set of kids' golf clubs will have to wait for her 6th! Anyway, as part of her fall rhetorical campaign, onechan has insisted she already knows how to play the guitar. I've taken this sally with a grain of salt, treating it about the same as her belief that she beat me when we played croquet-style golf together near that onsen just outside Fukuoka this past spring. But last night at a friend's place, onechan treated us to some pre-dinner jamming, some musical accompaniment to the meal, and a post-dessert concert, all on a guitar with a missing string.

While she played some classics--the Alphabet Song was a big hit, plus she came about as close as she ever has to differentiating X from S in it--it was her original material that really got the audience going. With imoto on the sound system (the Full Metal Archivist and I were holding our breaths all night because it was made up of really nice radio/turntable/CD components [and others I, uh, don't know the names of], with only the turntable out of imoto's reach), onechan treated us to a series of variations on "x is everywhere," along with strumming, picking, and even slapping. Highlights: twice she ended a song with a classic move, first by turning the "where" in "everywhere" into two syllables and later by throwing off a final power chord after closing out the lyrics and main melody; the line "Bunnies are everywhere" coming out of nowhere in the middle of a non-"x is everywhere" composition (which prompted me to wonder aloud if it's true that bunnies can be found on every continent); her whispering into my ear at one point, "Chicchi plays the guitar!"; and her turning over lead singer duties to me, accompanying me on a truly terrible rendition of a song I used to sing to her a lot when she was a baby, the Presidents of the United States of America's "Peaches." She even got her first guitar blister (with apologies to Mark Knopfler, it was not on her little finger), which, thanks to me, she confused with a splinter (hey, when a little girl shows you her finger after doing "exercise" on the bottom of the bannister, says it "feels like wood," yet you can't see or feel anything wrong with it, what are you going to do? I sent her to her mom, the family expert at splinter removal, who promptly identified the blister). And to top it off, she and imoto got to stay up long past their bed time.

So thanks for leading the way on onechan and imoto's musical education, Uncle Bill!


Bill Benzon said...

Just be careful when she starts putting on black eye shadow and dressing in black.

Though, you know, maybe she could really rock the Loligoth look.

Bill Benzon said...

Oh, now I remember, Chichi, the young Japanese guitar player.

What about Chichi Rodriguez?

The Constructivist said...

Ah, his swing was a bit too abrupt to be a role model for little girls.

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