August 10, 2010
I hoped we could explore the Canadian School of Lutherie with George Ryzsani, builder of Voyageur, a Six String Nation guitar built from 63 pieces of Canadian wood "representing many different cultures, communities and characters from all across the country", "including a piece of decking from the Bluenosoe II, a piece of Wayne Gretzky's hockey stick and wood from Pier 21". One of goals for the Six String Nation project is "to tell the story of a country from the roots to the trunk rather than the other way around; and to encourage us to tell that story to ourselves and the world through music".
George ran luthier workshops at the Canadian School of Lutherie, a centre for studying guitar building that specializes in building hand-made, custom guitars. He has made guitars for James Taylor, Keith Richards, Sting, Peter Gabriel and more. However, George is on his last guitar building project for the centre and will retire from his line of guitars. I believe his last is the only with a built in vile of ashes--the ashes of a beloved friend and musician. The upright guitar on the far right:
George put me in touch with Jeremy. Jeremy et al were fine hosts, happy to explain their projects and processes, answer all of our questions, and allow Jay to try out their wares.
The Faireses left feeling like they could finally tackle the guitar kit they have back home.
We left the school for waterfront Halifax and found a Buskers Festival we didn't expect. Normally, the waterfront makes for nice strolling grounds peppered with the occasional musician or painter, but festival goers crowded the wharfs.
We watched boats cruise by in the harbour and wandered the wharf for a bit.
We found some local music, but, tired of crowds, we broke away for a seat and a drink ...
at The Old Triangle, one of several great pubs in Halifax.
Jay had another chance to say goodbye to Carmel Mikol; she was just outside on the pub patio.
We had been working up to dinner since morning, when we decided we wanted good Indian food for supper. The private circle room was a perfect fit at Taj Mahal, open just two days following a six-month closure due to fire:
We feasted and waddled away.
Of course, we could spend a week or more in the city, but with just one night's stay we had time for just a few highlights.
We also highly recommend the maritime museum, Neptune Theatre, Paper Chase cafe, The Wooden Monkey restaurant, Opa! restaurant, Maxwell's Plum English pub, Pogue Fado pub, Split Crow pub, The Economy Shoe Shop cafe/bar and any live music you can find.