Monday, September 11, 2017. Copenhagen.
It’s been a whirlwind past few days here in Copenhagen and I’ve finally found a little time to write of the adventures thus far.
My tour of Europe is officially complete and I couldn't be happier and more honoured to have collaborated with the amazing women I’ve been privileged enough to work with.
I have to especially thank my dear friend and poet-in-arms Rosemary Kikon for her assistance in making my trip here possible. She is a dynamic force of nature and I am constantly in awe of her unfailing pizazz, tenacity and creative strength. She hails from the Eastern Himalayas and grew up in the Indian town of Dimapur. From a young age she knew she was different and not content to toe the line as an obedient woman within her traditional culture so she busted out and has gone on to become a formidable poet and performance artist. You can read a wonderful interview with her HERE
So Rosie and I started up a conversation earlier this year about putting on a show for me to perform at as part of my European tour. I hadn't originally planned on going to Copenhagen, and was trying to organise something with her in Berlin, but it just wasn't coming together. Eventually she suggested I would be better off coming to Copenhagen where she had built for herself a wonderful community who would certainly attend a concert of VCV poets and performers. “VCV” stands for “Very Confident Vagina” and it was the touchstone phrase in one of Rosie’s poems that founded the movement of which I am a proud member and administrator.
So to recap the past few days. I arrived into Copenhagen early Friday evening after an uneventful bus and ferry ride. I took a taxi over to Rosie’s apartment and met her and we enjoyed some her delicious dahl soup for dinner and had a good catch up and briefing for Saturday’s concert.
After lunch the next day we headed over to Atelier Vincent Galleri, situated in Fiskerhavnen (fishing harbour) to meet Rosie’s friends Lu and Vincent. They are both artists in their own right and they kindly opened their studio space for us to use for the concert. The pieces and portraits on display were incredible and really added to the dynamic atmosphere we created with our show.
We managed to set up in time and were well met by the fantastic Joan Anderson, a fellow Tokyo-ite who’d come over to perform her original poems for the show. Along with Rosie and Joan were local poets Edit Nielsen, Juliana Appel and Miriam Goldkuhl who all performed amazing, poignant poems. Lizzie Wilson and her partner Søren Tarding Rasmussen gave us some sultry songs and I opened and closed the concert with my original songs from “Hymns”. I closed with “Brave Bold Woman” and Joan and her friend Ulrika joined me on stage to sing the three parts. It was the perfect segue-way into the next part of the evening: the “VCV Sacrament”. Those of us who wanted to participate assembled into the studio annex and received a purification and blessing from the “VCV Priestesses”. Rosie presided as the “Holy VCV” Herself. Her ceremonial dress was especially stunning. Overall it was a powerful experience and everyone who participated seemed to be filled with joy and ecstasy - especially the menfolk who’d joined in.
Afterwards we enjoyed a mellow winding down and I played a few cover songs that got the womenfolk singing along with gusto.
Rosie had done an amazing job of bringing everything together and for organising such an amazing event. It was a cold and rainy day and it was impressive to see such a great turnout considering the inclement weather.
Many thanks to the VCV collaborators and performers who brought their A-game to this event, to Vincent and Lu for providing the wonderful space, to Steve for the sound setup and to the audience who were more than gracious and generous! The biggest hug goes to Rosemary - without whom it wouldn't have been possible.
Yesterday a gaggle of us ventured into the anarchist-district of Christiania where we were taken around on a tour of the infamous town that has essentially “gone off the grid” and declared itself independent from Copenhagen and the EU for that matter. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the colourful sights and sounds of a town that felt like Utopia. Joan and I stuck around into the evening and hit up the jam session they had going. I played a few songs on the piano with some of the local cats and we had a genuinely great time.
Today I went to visit “The Little Mermaid” statue of Hans Christian Andersen fame and reminisced of my childhood and how obsessed with mermaids I’d been. I certainly got a taste of what the Danes call “hygge” (hoo-gah) which is a feeling or philosophy of warmth and coziness that is generated by things like candles, furry blankets and soft music. For a country that spends a long time wintering in the dark, I can understand how an approach to life such as “hygge” would be comforting.
So here I am, enjoying my final hours here in Denmark, reflecting on my virgin tour to the Old Country. I head back to Amsterdam tomorrow before I return to Tokyo I am attending Tori Amos live in concert! Can’t wait to see the woman who started it all for me - she was certainly the catalyst for my wanting to become a singer songwriter musician. It’s been an incredible journey and a very rewarding experience. I feel stronger and more capable and keen to continue to make music and share it with the world.
Thank you for reading these touring tales and much love to you for your support.