As a child, I travelled quite a bit to the Caribbean and to Florida with my family. I have great memories of those trips as it always seemed like an exciting adventure. I was fascinated by marine life and having the opportunity to go snorkelling in the ocean was an amazing experience. I also soaked in the music, especially from places like Barbados and Nassau. In addition, I enjoyed the sandy beaches, making sandcastles, eating tropical fruits and taking in a very different atmosphere than the one I knew growing up in Toronto, Canada. Oh, and how could I forget about popping those purple balloons on the beach? More about this later.
One piece on my new album called “Sand Buckets”, is whimsical and nostalgic and strives to encapsulate my memories of those trips and especially of being a child there. Played on piano and acoustic guitar, it’s gentle and in 6/8 time. I don’t know what you will think of it when you hear it, but it is like a time machine for me. The beauty of instrumental music is that you can bring your own personal experiences to it. You’re given a framework but the details and memories that you put into that frame are all your own.
Setting aside my piece and idyllic tropical memories, I also have an unusual memory from some of those trips. I recall being in Miami Beach and seeing all of these dead, purple, balloon-like things on the shore. They were everywhere! I soon found out that they were called Portuguese Man O’ Wars. My Dad taught me to bury them in the sand with my shoes and jump on the sand to “pop” them. Little did we know how dangerous these things were—even when they are dead. The fact that they were covering the beach obviously meant that they were in the water as well. And we swam in the ocean A LOT. To understand how lucky I was, do an online search about them if you are curious—yikes!