Monday, February 11, 2013

Guitar Slim and his Band, The Cascade Lounge, Cleveland, Ohio, February 9th, 2013


Guitar Slim from Halim Ina on Vimeo.

On this magnificent night what was promised to me was delivered in abundance.

Happenstance is the best way to describe it. A friend of a friend told me about these musicians and with these two friends we arrived at a local blues lounge. From the first note played by Guitar Slim it became quite obvious to me that this was going to be a very special night.

As we entered the place a man came over and greeted me as if we had been friends for decades. He smiled from ear to ear, and was just happy to see us. It was unclear to me at that moment that this was the man we came to see, but something about him spoke royalty to me. A few minutes later my friend took me to meet the man we came to see and there he was, smiling as much as before in seeing my surprise.

He shook my hand countless times as the night progressed, always with warmth. Whatever we needed as we were setting up our equipment he was more than willing to provide. When we asked him where he normally stands, he walked over to show us. When we asked about the lights, he introduced us to the owner who happened to be as cordial and helpful. This was a man with experiences beyond my imagination, yet a man going out of his way for a stranger nonetheless.

The owner of the Cascade Lounge came back with a small floodlight, and helped us set it up with an extension chord. In this way we would have the minimal light needed for my camera. The rest of the band came in one at a time and set up their equipment, never once questioning our purpose. These wonderful musicians reminded me of the people in my photography from around the world, giving of themselves without asking for anything in return.

After thirty minutes or so the band began to warm up, without Guitar Slim. The music swam through my veins, made my skin crawl with excitement. It had been some time since my last concert, and I was already feeling incredibly satisfied. These were seasoned professionals and played seamlessly with each other. Respect was clearly visible, with nobody playing over anyone else.

Then the man himself strapped the guitar over his shoulders and struck the strings with his bare fingers. This was the moment when my spine began to tingle. Sure I have heard plenty of musicians, but have never stopped reacting a certain way when true talent speaks to me. This incredibly soft man spoke to me all night, and continues to do so through this recording. As these words are being typed the music is playing and taking me back to this past weekend.

We spoke after the performance about recording under different circumstances, and he agreed even before the words passed my lips. Everything we presented to him was accepted with love. So we look forward to honoring Guitar Slim and his Band next week in our studio, and to recording his talent. It seems that few have ever done so and this is our chance to do something for the man who had done in only one evening so much for us.

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Halim Ina Photography