Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Dr Ajeeb

My Ayurvedic doctor in India, with his mother.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The island getaway

http://theislandretreat.in/ Recommended if you're looking for somewhere to unwind. There's nothing else to do here!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

A donation of chillies

Fishes

Local businesses donate most of the food. Twice a week a collection is taken from 5 local fish shops who all contribute something.

My iPad is very popular here

Tea time for the assistants

Joshy with his son

Joshy runs the centre, looking after over 150 children from a few months old right up to late teens. He's been doing it 12 years and has never had a holiday. The Foundation is two big buildings built on land his father used to farm, next to their home. He has 9 brothers and sisters, who also help out at the orphanage and also a home for the mentally handicapped that they also run. What a family!

Lunch for 300 people

Band practice

Mother and Child foundation

I visited Mother and Child again at the weekend. It was great to see the kids again.

Vimal

Manager of the island resort.

Sunrise on the island

I wake around 4am for yoga and meditation with the crows before the suns up at 6. Then early to bed as there's little to do. I'm the only guest and two locals work here taking care of me.

Entrance to the island

Island life

I've settled on an island in the backwaters of Kerala, near kollam. It's very beautiful and very quiet. Shrimp nets surround the tiny island (200m long and 150m wide) and fisherman work the waters from early evening to late morning. The water is very shallow, less than a meter. I swam around the island once but it was tough going and the bottom is very slimey and cold.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Big catch

Strong guys to pull in this net. It's huge. Half the men in the village are involved it seems. Varkala is really beautiful with the cliff tops and the black sands. A great place to kick back.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Back in India

Back in the craziness. Waste deep and wading. Great to be back in the land of Ayurveda. I'm having a much different experience this time - last time was cushioned in a resort. Now I'm starting to understand the place because I'm staying with locals. Meeting people from the north and the tiny expat community here, so get lots of different perspectives. Already been hiking in the jungle with newfound friends. Haven't left Travandum yet. Need some wheels and a phone. It takes a long time here - especially because there's a festival on. Got to get used to Indian ways.

Monday, 22 July 2013

New album in the pipeline

I've been doing a few days a month on the new album. It's slow going here in the Cilento. The studio owner is quite booked up, especially in the summer as he does live sound. But that suits me fine. There's no hurry.

I've happy with the sound of the songs. It's quite a creamy sound. It's mostly analogue equipment and multi-tracked vocals. These layers give it a very rich quality

Five will be 'produced' this way with other musicians on them, and seven will be just me solo. It's too expensive and would be even more time-consuming to do them all. Not that there needs to be 12 songs anymore. The concept of the album is a loose one in these digital days.

The songs are all about my time here in the Cilento. I've been here two years now. It's hard for a rolling stone to settle down. My girlfriend's father was very sick for over a year until he died a few months ago, from leukemia and that was one of the reasons I stayed as long. Now I'm not so sure what to do. It's very idyllic here in the summer, with lots of visitors and things to do... cycling, beach volley, jamming with friends, festivals, beautiful fruit and food... but the winters are long, in cold houses, with deserted towns

I fly to India on September 11th (cheap flight!) and will stay there for a few months. The plan is no plan. Hopefully Maria can come and visit me. The reason for India is to learn more about Ayurveda, which I'm fascinated by. A largely ignored science of life.

Maria's family wanted to turn the house here into a B&B, but after a very inspiring yoga festival in the north of Italy a few weeks ago, we had the idea to turn it into a yoga centre, come cycling centre, or retreat for group holidays basically... even a dance studio. And then in the summer run some mini-festivals of music and yoga and the suchlike. Only a few in-the-know Germans come this far down Italy, most people stay up in Tuscany, and this would be a good way to get some tourist euros. The locals don't have much money, and even if they did they aren't much interested in alternative festivals and so you need tourists.

So maybe half the year in India and half in Italy. Wouldn't be too bad.

No plans to tour for the moment. It's just not profitable. Takes a huge amount of time to organise the shows, then few people actually come to them, and those that do don't buy CDs anymore. It's really tough for musicians to make money anymore.

I'll do the best I can with the new album. Make some nice videos. Try for a record deal this time with some smaller labels around the world, and maybe that leads to something.

We'll see.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Jamming with Klaus

Thanks for the music lesson

Bliss beat festival

Just had a truly inspiring weekend at a yoga festival in the north of Italy. Wonderful people and teachers.

Yoga stars

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Studio

Another session in the studio in Ascea. Slowly getting the album together. Drums today with Denis Citera. Top stuff.

Dog food never tasted so good

Garden fresh

Sunday afternoon

Jamming with friends in Perdifumo. A lovely lazy Sunday.

Dog food

Cooking for the carne. Even the dogs in Italy live on pasta.

Mozzarella machines

Hanging with the Buffalo. My friend Anthony from Australia is making his own mozzarella brand - Belmosa.

Back in Italy

My friend Piera Lombardi played a great concert in Valo last week. Check her out.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Organisation

Check out motherandchildindia.org they need donations and more volunteers.

If you want to come and stay too you can sleep in the centre and help out with the kids teaching or just talking to them. They also need people who can sew clothes and make furniture in the workshop. They're trying to become self-sufficient.

If you can't come and still would like to help, send clothes, books, food or money. Or try fundraising. Or write to businesses asking to send donations, like mattresses, paint, chairs, etc.

Workshop in the words

The orphan's founder built this factory/large workshop in his back garden. Importing all the equipment from Italy. It's fully equipped and two years in the making. A beautiful location in the jungle, so peaceful. They've invested a lot from foreign donations but it needs a kickstart to get going. There's only one volunteer working here at the moment. I tried to help out a bit but they need someone with knowhow.

If you are handy they would dearly love someone to come over and help make things. And teach the locals.

Some of the students

It's like trying to herd cats! Very challenging but I'm getting the hang of it. A teacher friend recommended some learning games and they're working much better than my initial efforts.

Mother and Child Foundation

I'm staying at an orphanage near Thoropuza for a week teaching English to the kids. Pity them. A bit of karma balancing after the Ayurvedic treatment I received.

Rice for breakfast...

...lunch and dinner

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Shiva

Not sure of this one

Front view

There were five elephants in the parade. They didn't look to happy, particularly walking down the steep steps out of the temple. How they made it I don't know

Waiting for elephants

One god

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Back view

Peacock man

33,000,000 gods

They have millions of gods in the Hindi religion, and most were represented in the parade

Festival season

Festival season is coming to an end. I saw a massive parade leaving the temple on Saturday.

Varkala beach

A famous holy site in India is just along the beach from where I'm staying. You can have all your sins washed away in a short 5 minute ceremony

Back treatment

Got some relief from back pain yesterday. Hot medicinal oil soaks in. I have a vertebra out of place, for a long time now. Seen many chiropractors in europe but none could fix it. The doctor here can do it but it takes 41 days - preparation, adjustment, wrapping, etc. Something for next time!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Ayurveda treatment

Ready for daily Ayurveda therapy with Deva, my masseur. The doctor said I wasn't strong enough to do a panchakarma so I'm having a 2 week rejuvenation therapy instead. (I'd had a fever after the typhoid vaccine). It's good treatment, medicine before and after food (revolting liquids), and daily massages (great but I'm stained yellow and staining everything yellow). Today's treatment was clearer the blocked sinuses, which was the reason for my headaches.

Quay in Cochin

The day's tuna catch

Kerala

A beautiful state in the south west of India. Very very warm. 33 degrees, but with the humidity it feels like 43! Kerala is a socialist state and voted in communist government in 1957, the first in the world. The people are really nice and there's a great vibe.

First view of India

Landed in Delhi and had almost a week battling the mass of people and traffic and noise and pollution and a fever brought on by my vaccinations. Delhi was too much for me.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Amsterdam > India

I'm finally going to India for a month next week - it's been a long time wishing but now at last. I'll be heading to Kerala in the south, staying at the Mother and Child Foundation for two weeks helping out where I can, and then doing a Panchakarma, ayurvedic treatment for the rest of the time. 

 But before that I have a house concert in Amsterdam this coming Friday (8th March) and you are invited. 86 Haarlemmerstraat. Welcome from 8pm - start at 9pm. Please RSVP to jackstafford[at]thejackstaffordfoundation.com so I know numbers - you're welcome to bring others. Bring your own booze. Suggested donation is €10 if you can afford it, to help pay for my flight back from India, otherwise I have to stay.

On the port in Agropoli


Singing by the port in Agropoli, Campagna. Filmed by Vincenzo Iroutua. Apologies for the dodgy lip-syncing.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Show in Delicatessen, Amsterdam Saturday February 23rd

There's going to be a nice roundtable of music at Delicatessen on Saturday night in Amsterdam... a group of random musicians getting together to play songs from one another as an impromptu band. Come down early for indian food or the music around 10pm.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Riviera gig

I'm delighted to be playing in Agropoli again Saturday night in Riviera Rock. Come on down! More info