Venice Beach – Jam Session

Beach view from Cliff House

This past Fall we spent an afternoon walking between Venice and Santa Monica Beach.  If you’ve never been I recommend it. My sweetheart was taking care of business in Southern California and I was doing research on the 60’s rock band The Doors, who, coincidentally, can trace their beginnings to this exact area.  The atmosphere is certainly conducive to creativity.

While canvassing the area for colorful characters and goings-on, we would occasionally pause at the more interesting vendor booths, spreads or loose assortment of goods offered for sale.  At one spread, along a fence between two buildings, was a space occupied by an old man surrounded by an assortment of beautiful hand-made percussion instruments.  Lacking the skill-set to make music even when provided the best of instruments, I was fighting a losing battle to not purchase something that would inevitably spend eternity as a very expensive knick-knack residing in the corner of my living room.  The drums in particular were gorgeous, obviously constructed by the hands of a master craftsman with extraordinarily good taste.

The old man was explaining the impromptu drum sessions that sprang up spontaneously along the beach.  I asked how one might become involved, to which the old man explained that the only requirement is to “show up with something to drum.”  And, lacking that, just show up to sing or chant. “Cool” I replied because, well, I thought it was, and suddenly felt overcome with envy of the locals for having access to something that is, well, very cool, and right in their front yard along the Pacific Ocean.

Mustering the strength to pull myself away from the expensive knick-knacks, we began walking north towards Santa Monica Beach.  Just then, behind us and not too far away, it began, the gradual crescendo of percussion instruments. The impromptu session was beginning.  Alas, this group was good.  It’s probably best that I not purchase my drum……..just yet.

~ Castaway

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