Have guitar, must travel – Zurich


Have guitar, must travel – Switzerland mini-tour

Day 1 – Zurich

I’m just on the train to Luzern. Am filled with love from the kindness of the many people who looked after me in Zurich, my lovely CS hosts, Alexa and Heather, especially – making sure that I was fed, occupied, even lending me a bike and detailed instructions for a trip up the Limmat River – and stop at a really cool café, the Bucher cafe. They even have little sheep skins to sit on… and of course, loads of books and cultural events.

Nicholas, who I met on a bridge selling the local homeless newspaper, Surprise. I met him on my first day in Switzerland, walking over the bridge. I bought a newspaper and we chatted about music, about life, about travel. He gave me a long list of musicians to check out and some really valuable tips about music – he composes music in his head when he’s selling his papers on a beautiful bridge in Zurich. Niko, a fellow couchsurfer, came to rehearse the melodies to a few songs.

I arrived in Basel at 10am and when the pilot announced that it was 6 degrees outside, I thought to myself “youre taking the piss right?” But it was cold, and my host was at work, and we’d agreed that I would come round at 8.30… So, I had the day free till 8 pm to explore Zurich – so I checked out the Kunsthaus, which is free on Wednesdays. Also Café Zähringer, which Nicholas had told me about, he said I should ask about gigging there another time… At 5pm I was a bit cold and seen enough pretty doll’s houses and views on the East side of the Limmat, so I went to sit down in Langstars Hostel which is situated bang in the middle of Zurich’s red light and alternative district.

Every Wednesday, the owner, Lukas, organises a jam from 8pm in his café attached to the hostel. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay but I caught the beginning of the jam session. Normally jam sessions start off slow and awkward, but within minutes Lukas was on the piano, with a full band and a rapper. (video)

It is on my to do list for Zurich next time for sure!

At 8.30 I walked round the corner to Alexa’s house – I couldn’t have stayed any closer if I’d planned it! I had written Alex a request but didn’t realise how close it was to where I was playing on the Thursday.

When I arrived in Alex’s beautiful apartment, we spent the evening chatting, eating and drinking wine. It was so cosy and so cold and rainy out, that we just chilled.

Have guitar, must travel – Switzerland mini-tour

Day 2 – Langstars gig supporting Awaken Tales

Today I spent the day cycling up the Limmat and to Zurich lake (pics) taking pics of the contrasts of Zurich’s landscape, graffiti, banks, nature, expensive boutiques, artist’s galleries, picturesque doll’s houses and churches – the Chagall window in the Frauenmünster is a must see.

At 6pm Niko arrived to rehearse a bit and eat noodles with my hosts, Alexa and Heather (indomie of course (    !). It’s a kind of CS tradition to provide at least one meal for your hosts (apart from doing the washing up).

We were enjoying the talk and food that it was 9 before we left to go to Langstars. When I arrived, my old friend, Bang Agun was there – who I know from Bukit Lawang and Alex, the drummer from Alex, is not only a fantastic drummer but also makes films and is an awesome person, and by some new twist of synchronicity made a documentary about an Indonesian guitarist from Medan of all places.

Awaken Tales

Unfortunately the video of my performance at Langstars – especially the jams with Alex and Nico didn’t work L so that will be only in my memory. Here are some pics though x

Smell the Roses Gallery

KtoK Radio ft. Kate Thomas and The Dream Souls

KTOK Radio presents Pandora’s Living Room
Tune in to KtoK Radio from 2pm this afternoon.

This time featuring the fabulous jazzy folkstress, Kate Thomas.
Experienced vocalist, semi-finalist at Battle of the Bands Canary Wharf 2013, Kate Thomas, writes punchy lyrics for her guitar and deliciously smooth jazzy vocals and will be joining me on KtoK to talk about her newest solo project. In case you can’t wait for her live set…
Here’s a little taster:

Also joining me on the waves, Shaun Cronin, bassist/songwriter for international trippy experimental soul group, who will be performing at The Good Ship in Kilburn TONIGHT!

The gig is tonight the 14th of May at the Good Ship, doors at 7.30pm.
Link for tickets and information here.

Asabi Hawah and Raggo Zulu Rebel Live on Pandora’s Living Room (KtoKRadio)

Asabi Hawah – warm vocals combined with powerful spoken word, crafted lyrics and acoustic guitar – vocalist in Seven Suns
Raggo Zulu Rebel- also known as Jah Messenger – London spoken word poet, and hip hop artist. Long long discography – Recently released album “The Champ”

The two have recently hooked up to form You and Me for more information follow on https://twitter.com/YouAndMe_2014

Interview with Asabi and further live sets

Pandora’s Living Room on KtoK ft. Asabi Hawah and Raggo Zulu Rebel by Pandora S Diary on Mixcloud

London’s Yasmine Latkowski Album Launch – Sometimes it’s Simple

Yasmine Latkowski, piano songstress and one of my fellow travellers in the living room tour, will be performing at St. Mary’s Church in Hendon.
If you need more persuading:
– See 3 fantastic piano songwriters- Julia Mosley, Hazel Jane MacLaurin and Yasmine in one night
– Yasmine will perform in a beautiful church setting with strings
– it’s free
– there will be booze on donation (but unfortunately you shouldn’t get drunk in churches) but it’s ok because…
– we’re going to the pub afterwards

Pandora’s Living Room I: ft. Thom Byles, Annee Patrice and Pandorasdiary

Pandora’s Living Room Episode 1 ft. Thom Byles and Annee Patrice by Sarah Kate Michel on Mixcloud

On 2nd and 3rd Wednesdays from 2-3pm, Pandora turns the KtoK Radio studio into her living room, inviting lovely new, exciting musicians to share their favourite tracks and play a live intimate set.

The first show in the series showcased Thom Byles, with his throaty yet smooth vocals and extraordinary guitar and ukelele techniques. His guitar playing included beating out a rhythm simultaneously; hard to believe that only one person played those songs.
Annee Patrice, of Global Island Groove, performed an acapella rendition of her current single “Catch me”. She is one of the few performers I know who sounds equally good with or without other instruments.


Day 21: More Twitter Love

Our pledgers:

Thank you to hosts for living room concerts, couches

Cindy Peress in Amsterdam, Ischa in Nieuwegein, Dina and Daniel in Basel and Anna Ots in Munich.
(still waiting for a photo of your lovely mugs) xxx

Thank you to Miri, Lesley from Heartstring and Annee for retweets.

All my fearless femmes for encouragement, support, sharing, caring, listening: Leonheart, Carmel Morrissey, Annee Patrice, Kate Wreford and Gilly Spencer

Why I like having random people to stay

Couchsurfing means having strangers come stay at your house, or staying at the house of a stranger.

Why would you do that?

Ok, they are not complete strangers- I always check the profiles of the CSers who want to stay, and tend to follow my gut feeling about them. Also if they write me a nice request which shows that they have read my profile and are genuinely interested in staying with another human, not just looking for a free place to crash (requests like “Hi, I’m coming to London, and I need a bed. You look really nice and friendly. Can I stay with you?“).

I have had some really wonderful dinners and conversations with my guests, and generally learn something new, maybe a new place on the map, how to cook a new dish, how to say good night… every time.

But I think the most important thing (and it makes me go all warm and gooey inside): is that it shows that trust, sharing and giving are what it’s all about. I think this is one of the reasons I am alive.

Couchsurfing   Sarah Michel2