Cruise Musicians – what a bore

15 May

During the last embarkation in Hamburg we picked up a bunch of new musicians, among them one German couple who plays party music, and even one Folk man, with guitar, and tambourine, and harmonica. Being a folk musician myself his set-up actually got me really excited, but after listening to him for nearly one week I am now ready to push him overboard.

piano in the cruise ship atrium

Every evening there are some five musical acts playing aboard the ABC RypMeOff. Some are much better than others.

The Folk Boy seems to have monopolized the stage next to the Photo Gallery, so I needlessly have to audit the daily demonstrations of his rather limited repertoire. Sometimes I have the urge to just walk over before he starts playing, and tell him: “it won’t be easy. In fact, it will be pretty hard.” But I doubt that he is intelligent enough to catch my drift, and still would not leave that particularly bad song bound in his notebook.

Years ago my friend Marc announced that he wanted to become a cruise musician, and that the company required him to learn a repertoire of at least one hundred songs, in order to even apply for the position. I don’t recall which company he had in mind, but ABC Cruises seems to reject such scrutiny; Folk Boy repeats almost his exact set list three times every evening. And every single song is taken from the lists of top ten popular songs from the past three decades. Annual Top Ten Pop charts, mind you – we wouldn’t want to include a song that anyone could enjoy as refreshingly new.

I never liked commercial radio, because it only plays the charts, instead of exploring interesting music alternatives. Folk Boy is worse than radio, because he is not only playing the charts, but playing all of it in the same Rock’n’Roll voice. On first listening it sounds interesting and new, but after two tracks his Rock’n’Pop album becomes rather repetitive. Neither the tambourine taps, nor the harmonica riffs, and not even the great guitar solos can mask the fact that his music is tremendously boring. Same style, same songs, three hours. Kill me already!

Goemon5 - The Fire Within CD cover

There are more songs on my debut album “The Fire Within” than ABC’s Folk Boy has in his entire repertoire.

There are more songs on my solo album than in his standardised set list. (Fourteen beautiful songs, available now on almost any electronic music platform.) Not to mention my variation in vocalisation, and originality in style and musicianship. On top of that I can play another eighty or so cover songs and traditionals. On banjo, guitar, and ukulele. That should be plenty for an ABC Cruise musician. Once I get fired as photographer I can immediately reapply, as cruise musician. Playing three sets each night is a challenge, but if I play it soft, I should be able to manage. Most of the time the musicians only provide background music anyway, so I would not need to exhaust myself with a concert-level performance.

So there it is. Out of audiovisual necessity I have birthed plan B for my cruise career. I will be a cruise musician. Now I just need to get myself fired.

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