Travels With My Cello
Jan 06, 2013
It was spring and I had been playing for almost a year when my friend Tanya came to me with the most amazing news, as well as a proposition. She had been asked to play her violin at a Yemeni wedding—10 minutes of playing for $100! However, she did not want to go alone so she asked me if I would be willing to go along and accompany her on the cello, for the very same fee. I was completely dumbstruck. 10 minutes of playing for $100? Of course I would do it. Then I began to ponder the...
Dec 30, 2012
Marianne Ide December in Yemen can be a strangely disconcerting experience for Westerners. Not that it’s a regular experience the other eleven months, but December can be a little surreal. In the west, Christmas madness begins before the Thanksgiving leftovers have even started to pick up refrigerator chill, and continues relentlessly until well into the new year. Now, imagine if you will, a world where none of glitz and tinsel of the Yuletide exists, and you will have a pretty good idea of what Sana’a feels like in December. I didn't mind; it’s not like I didn't know that I was living in...
Dec 21, 2012
Marianne Ide My neighbor had a friend, Stephen, who had started a small orchestra in Sana’a several years back. He was a missionary with two daughters who played instruments and felt like they needed musical companionship, so he rounded up anyone who could play a western instrument. Aid workers, teachers, government employees: whoever had a little extra time joined. Usually he wanted musicians to be at least 12 and have played for two years. While I more than met the age limit, I was quite a bit below the experience requirement. Stephen didn't care: there were no cellos in Yemen, and he...
Dec 14, 2012
Marianne Ide Warning! The following story is not for the faint-hearted: It involves the graphic description of cello maiming by amateurs! Before I begin, I feel you should know two things: First, the story ends well. Second, from the moment of my very first bow stroke across my old Cremona, all I ever wanted was to play the cello well—not brilliantly, just well—and my long-suffering husband has only ever wanted to support me. I think it’s important you know these things, because in this story we appear to have a little less sense than Laurel and Hardy. That year, summer...
Dec 07, 2012
By Marianne Ide I knew that having a cello in Yemen was going to be complicated. Before making the purchase, I had thought over every likely scenario and decided that it was well worth the risk. However, of all the problems I anticipated, the one that proved my undoing was one I had truly not foreseen. I had thought about the fact that Yemen had no national orchestra, no local orchestras, no other cellists, no cello repair shops, no cello teachers, and still I decided it would all work out. Some might consider me delusional to the point of insanity;...
Nov 24, 2012
Receiving mail at the international school where I worked in Yemen was always a good time. If a package managed to arrive, chances were that it was from Amazon, or a friend sending you highly coveted items from the States. So when the campus PA system called us to the office to pick up mail, we hustled to retrieve our highly anticipated packages. The fact that I had recently ordered a cello from Stringworks significantly ratcheted up the excitement quota. The very idea of something as large yet as fragile being shipped to Yemen was so outlandish that a campus...