Sweet Music

When I first laid eyes on Tom, he was playing the drums in a band.  I stalked him between sets and found out he also played a handful of other instruments and wrote songs.  Sold!  By date #2 we were singing together, and in the blink of an eye we had three musical kids and were embarking on a trip across the world with a small guitar and a small violin in tow.  Traveling with instruments is as important to us as traveling with shoes.  

Since violin is not competing with homework, she has time to really focus on it.

This journey provides us with three things that make the sweet music flourish:

  1. TIME – Big, fat chunks of unscheduled hours.
  2. EDUCATIONAL FREEDOM – We decide together whether the afternoon is best spent learning a new song or long division.
  3. INSPIRATION – Can we imitate the rhythms of the gamelan?  How is the violin similar to the ancient rebab?  Theater, music, and art are at the heart of daily culture.  The inspiration to sing and dance also comes from spending so much time together. (Go ahead, roll your eyes, it’s true.)


  1. We are not professional musicians.
  2. Our recordings resemble amateur hour in the living room, except we’re not in our living room, we’re all over SE Asia.
  3. We’re as moody as most musically-inclined people.  Some of these recordings were made with sweat, tears, and tantrums.


hey brotherIMG_2051

“Hey Brother” by Avicii was a special request of Grandpop’s (from whom we inherited our singing voices – thank you very much).  Big-sis, Bro and Lil-sis are incredibly lucky to have a team of loving grandparents who wish we weren’t so far away right now.  They were our fan club long before we were Far Away Five.  

living in the moment

As a special message for our Student Stage Camps friends back in Philly, we’re covering one of our favorite feel-good songs by Jason Mraz.

Balinese boys can dance

Legong is a traditional form of theater dance that most children learn in Bali.  Lil-sis was riveted when we stumbled into this rehearsal taking place at the palace temple in Ubud.

the sound of gamelan

Gamelan is a xylophone-type instrument that can be heard anywhere and everywhere in Bali: religious ceremonies, dance performances, museums, schools, markets, you name it.  The rhythms are complicated, and the tone sequences can sound a bit monotonous to our western ears.  The sound of gamelan has become a familiar and comforting musical backdrop for the first leg of our journey.

improv:fall down

One night recently in our rental house in Chiang Mai, all three stooges (I mean kids) started an improv jam while they were playing a game of “recording studio”.  It’s probably self-absorbed to post all 3+ minutes of the jam, but I just couldn’t edit this, and hey, it’s my blog so I’ll do what I want to.  Big-Sis on violin, Bro on guitar, Lil-Sis on lead vocals.


6 thoughts on “Sweet Music

  1. I listened to theses songs with cousin Eden about 55 times this morning! She kept saying “more”… or her version of more anyway. She danced and swayed 🙂

    Would love to have the song files so that we can play them in the house. No rush!!! LOVE hearing these songs! We’d like to commission a work too – when you have some free time. Do you know “Twinkle Twinkle”,”Somewhere Over the Rainbow”?

    Liked by 1 person

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