So, we got in Saturday morning, and Sunday was church. Ilya woke up early complaining that his stomach hurt, and we ignored him because he cries wolf a lot. But then he started puking. So Art went to church with Sashka and I stayed home with Ilya. Of COURSE as soon as everyone left Ilya was fine, and I was bummed I didn’t get to go and meet people. But it was good, it gave me a chance to sterilize the kitchen. This place is really clean, but the kitchen was gross. I had to degrease everything. The landlord left a bunch of dishes and pots and pans, and rather than throw them out and buy new ones I figured I’d save Art a trip and just decontaminate everything. Some things were beyond saving, but after some bleach, dishsoap, and a wearying amount of scrubbing I had a passable amount of pots and plates.
After church Art came home with Ilya, and his wife Ira and two boys. I’d never met Ilya’s family so that was cool. We had tea and yummies, and hung out for awhile. Then I was informed that I was going to be playing some of my songs at “Music Club” that night. Apparently Ilya had asked Art to ask me to do this weeks ago, and Art forgot to tell me. Hmmm. I was not amused. But I am trying to be game for whatever God wants me to do, so I did my best to put together a few songs and practice them a bit. Ilya came and got me and we headed down to the place where the club meets. On the way down I asked him what it was all about, and he shared with me the idea behind a lot of the things they’re doing here. The gist of it is (to the best of my understanding) that they want to meet people where they are, befriend them and be there for them, and just let their light shine I guess. Sort of the opposite of the standard Calvary Chapel spiel of big outreaches on street corners and lots of foreigners shoving tracts in people’s faces. I’m all on board for the opposite of that. So the music club is just a venue for hanging out, bringing in unbelievers and having a chance to be a witness without all the needless propaganda.
Well it wasn’t what I expected. There was a room decorated like a mini-disco (flashing colored lights and everything) and quite a few people were there. I’d expected there to be something like a few guys with guitars or something, but it was set up like a little concert hall and there were about twenty people sitting in an audience type format. There was another band there, called Gjorningar, and they were like the main event. I wasn’t sure what to expect looking at them. Most of them looked like average Russians, and then one girl who looked…I don’t know. Incredibly cool. She had hair in two massive black braids, down past her butt, weird goth sort of dress with combat boots and very nice piercings. I met them all before they started and we figured out the way things would go. Ilya asked me to do three songs instead of the two I’d planned, and I tried not to panic. Gjorningar went first, and they were awesome. They do weird Celtic and Norwegian music with violins and whistles and that Irish drum thing. They were really good. You can see their MySpace here: http://www.myspace.com/gjorningar .
Then I went. Huh. I messed up. The third unpracticed song I totally got distracted, lost my place, and just started making stuff up. Fortunately I don’t think anybody really got it. The other two were fine I suppose, but I sounded pretty…unplugged compared to the other guys. Then Ilya played a few songs with Lyosha on the jembe, and that went well. Then Gjorningar went again and we were done. I got to meet a bunch of people, and I was strangely unself-conscious about my Russian language abilities (or the lack thereof). It’s strange because this is like a whole new experience of Russia for me. Before I was always with my family, always with Russians who spoke English, and always had them to use as a crutch when I didn’t understand something. But now it’s like…sink or swim I guess. So I just gave up on feeling weird or paranoid about my accent or grammar and I just talk to people. It’s fun. The girls from the band said they want to sing some stuff with me (fun!) and now I feel inspired for the first time in a long time to write more music.