Putting aside for a moment the strangeness of being on a massive floating city and fraught politics of global capitalism inherent in pretty much everything we do, Jamcruise 16 was amazing and along with going to Cuba and Benin, probably the richest musical experiences of my life.
Five days, nights and morning of performing, listening, collaborating and creating with some of my most favorite and esteemed musicians, people I listened to and adored well before I ever imagined myself playing music: Maceo Parker, George Porter if the Meters, Steel Pulse, John Scofield, to make just a few.
I am truly grateful to have been a part of this and in awe of the tremendous amount of work it took to put together such a magical event. It was transformational and I want to see this happen again and that far more people- musicians and fans can experience this.
I am fascinated by the concept of modifying the concept of a cruise ship into something more sustainable. How could it run with a zero carbon footprint, with equitable labor practices, cooperative ownership, healthier connections with the people in the different port cities to build systems which promote economic self determination and cultural understanding and appreciation.
The cruise ships are sophisticated, well oiled machines and I wonder how much of this is possible only because of all the social and environmental costs and externalities that are hidden from us. Having several friends from Nicaragua who have spent decades working on and off ship, it is a mixed bag. It does offer new possibilities, relationships and income not possible at home. At the same time, the work is intense and demanding and full of assaults to ones dignity. And the price of being separated from ones family and community for periods of nine months at a time over several years.
All that to say that in addition to my gratitude to the people who organized the event, I am even deeper indebted to the people on the ship grinding tirelessly to create a space for other people to experience such an intensely joyful event. Til next time.