Monday, April 19, 2010

Big Road Blues

Al Buraimi & Muscat, Oman

Robbie Mack practices ping pong diplomacy
We left the Intercontinental Hotel at 10:30 in the morning on Sunday for our 3.5 hour car trip to the town of al-Buraimi, on the border between Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The journey took us through many small towns and past an in country border checkpoint to the mountains bordering the UAE. The desert mountains were magnificent, rising up from the near flat surface of the desert to almost touch the sky. We arrived at al-Buraimi University at midday and the temperature was almost 100 degrees. When we were asked if the hot weather had a negative effect on us, we stated that the temperatures in Tulsa often hover at the 100 degree mark in July and August, but not in April. We were introduced to the faculty at the University and had a nice meal. The dining room at the school had a ping pong table at the back and soon Robbie was involved in a little ping pong diplomacy. We had a lot of laughs and were soon off to join some new friends from the school’s English club. Three girls presented an interesting power point demonstration on ''Western Culture''. After our meeting we posed for a photo and I taught the girls how to say ''I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream For Ice Cream.” It was good fun.

We set up to play in a large hall linked to a nearby school for special needs kids. One of the students created many super cool king size posters for the performance and he gave us prints as souvenirs. The show was well attended and well received. Once again Little Joe was a big hit with the crowd of younger,college age students, who really enjoyed the music. We then packed up for the long return journey back to Muscat. On our return drive, Dan suggested we stop at a deluxe new hotel located high atop a hill for dinner. We dined outside under a beautiful crescent moon and enjoyed good conversations all the way back to our hotel. We arrived around 1am and I felt happy, but very stiff and tired from our long and fruitful day on the Rhythm Road.

Getting ready to play Al Buraimi University College
Monday morning started with a visit to Azzan bin Qais Private School for an all school assembly and some small group breakout sessions to teach our friends about guitar, drums and harmonica. The assembly was hosted in the large entry hall of the school. As soon as we arrived, students, from K-12 began filing into the performance area. Needless to say, the students all enthusiastically enjoyed Joey's music. At one point, two young elementary aged boys were led to the front by their teacher to provide a spirited dance demonstration for everyone. When I'm working with young people, I derive my greatest satisfaction in life. It's a delight to see Robbie, Ronnie and Joe in this setting, enjoying themselves and feeling the reward and energy that you get from working with kids. At one point, during a break in a song, Ronnie cracked a big smile, clowned with his drum sticks, and the kids went wild. We also did some breakout sessions, attended by about a dozen students in each group. My harmonica group was full of quick learners and when we joined Joe's guitar group for a jam on the "I'm a Man" riff, it was apparent that we had successfully shared some basic Blues elements with these kids. It was a great morning.
Robbie Mack working with students on guitar and bass
The harmonica students
Demonstrating fine dance moves!
Playing to large group of students at Azzan bin Qais Private School

We're resting now, before our big, big show tonight. We’re scheduled to play a free, public concert on the grand lawn at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. There have already been 400 RSVPs for the event and we're looking forward to a great evening of Blues under the stars.

1 comment:

  1. Dave, Just talked to my hubby in Doha, Qatar and mentioned you visiting the area. He said he heard you interviewed and playing harmonica on the radio last week!! He couldn't believe he heard the word "Tulsa" on local radio. How crazy is that?? It indeed is a small world. Travel safe. Loretta