Or, ‘Thou must always be grateful for good accompanists.’
This is a Mr Ron appreciation post.
If you have attended one of my shows in then last two years, you would have spotted the absolute master of the keys playing right by my side. Yes, it’s only been two years since we started collaborating, and I am super grateful that I have had the opportunity to work with someone so talented.
At Burlesque Bar, March 2012, pre-Ron.
Before I met Mr Ron, I was self-accompanying at gigs. This is not a bad thing, but my piano playing (yes, that’s the instrument I grew up learning from the age of twelve, not the ukulele, surprise surprise!) is basic at best, and to be honest, something I prefer to use just for songwriting as opposed to for a full-blown performance. As well as this, I am interested in the stories of my songs, in the presentation, in the performance, and sitting down behind a piano seemed a little limiting.
Enter Mr Ron.
Courtesy of a mutual friend (forever grateful, Lenny!) Ron managed to find his way to one of my gigs at Burlesque Bar coming on two years ago. Lenny thought we would hit it off musically, so I invited Ron over to my house and we had our first ever jam session, playing a song I had written called ‘Decide’, which I wasn’t quite happy with. Turns out the missing magic ingredient was a little bit of Ron.
Since then, we have played more than thirty shows together, collaborated on a LOT of original material, and generally had a grand old time. As someone who has never studied music at a tertiary level, I feel very comfortable arranging music with Ron, as our shared language consists of sentences such as, ‘Which part of your body do you want to be moving during this song?’, ‘I want to feel like I’ve just walked in to a smoky, dingy jazz club and I can hear this coming from the far corner’, and ‘This sounds like it’s coming from a deep dark cave. A jazzy cave’.
So next time you come to one of my shows, however much I go by the name ‘Ilana Charnelle’, please know that I could not be doing what I do without the very very talented musician on the keys, who is also a great co-arranger, collaborator and friend. He’s a songwriter and occasional busker himself, so you might see him around town!
Thanks for everything Ron, here’s to many more collaborations in the future.
Speakeasy Nuevo, March 8th, 2014. Photography by Anita G.