13 June 2016

Post 402: THE WORLD'S MOST BEAUTIFUL MUSICIAN

About three years ago, on YouTube, I first spotted Dizzy, playing with Yes Ma'am, the string band, and also deputising for Robin with Tuba Skinny. Immediately I could tell I was watching a young lady who was not only a great washboard player but also the world's most beautiful musician.
I wrote a Blog Post about her and noted from my sitemeter that it had thousands of readers in the weeks that followed.

When I travelled the 4,500 miles from my home to New Orleans for the French Quarter Festival in April 2015, I was disappointed that I did not come across Dizzy, though I heard later that she had been busking in the streets when I was there.

However, visiting again in April 2016, I bumped into the great video-maker codenamed RaoulDuke504 and he gave me a tip-off that the band Yes Ma'am was playing at that very moment in The French Market. I hurried over and sure enough there they were. They were brilliant - even better in person than in their many YouTube videos.

I introduced myself to Dizzy and had a lovely chat with her. As I had expected, she turned out to be a very articulate, good-humoured and warm-hearted person. An important piece of information she gave me was that she would be touring in Europe during the Summer of 2016. Arrangements were still vague. She did not know what the Band would be called or who the other musicians would be, though one of them was certainly Ryan Baer (a truly great player of the banjo and other instruments, and a former member of Tuba Skinny) and she knew they would be performing at some stage in Ghent, Belgium.

I told Dizzy I had once written a blog article, illustrated with photos, telling everyone she was the world's most beautiful musician, and I jokingly said I had no idea why so many thousands of readers had been attracted to that post. She replied, equally joking, that it must be because of my good writing!

This young lady has now been settled in New Orleans for several years. She plays sublimely and prolifically with a number of bands. Mostly, she is with Yes Ma'am. You can find plenty of their videos on YouTube.
If you think playing the washboard is easy, you are wrong. It takes some doing to maintain the strict tempo and to decorate properly the music being played by the rest of your group. You have to know the tunes really well, especially to be aware of 'breaks' and rhythmic changes. It's hard work on the fingers and wrists, too. You need a lot of energy.

Dizzy is a brilliant player of the washboard. My favourite video of her is this one. Click on to watch:

Isn't Dizzy sensational (as well as beautiful)? Incidentally, that great song - Caffeine - was composed by the gentleman singing it - Aaron Gunn.

But if you would like to see Dizzy playing in a more conventional traditional jazz band, here's one of her in Mexico with Tuba Skinny. Watch out for her enjoying a solo chorus at 2 minutes 41 seconds: CLICK HERE.

And to see her playing a super solo (at 1 minute 45 seconds) with Tuba Skinny on Dallas RagCLICK HERE.

Since April 2015, Dizzy has frequently turned up in The Sluetown StruttersClick here to view.

Dizzy has a Turkish background and speaks both English and Turkish fluently. As a child she had piano lessons and also started to play the saxophone. (She told me she is still playing the piano quite a lot.) She went on to be a high-flying graduate in English and American Literature and Creative Writing at New York University. Then in 2009 she chose to go to New Orleans to 'collect material' to write about. It seems she is still collecting it!

What she obviously did collect was washboards and she chose this happy if unconventional busking life-style. I made a video of her playing in Yes Ma'am on 7 April 2016 - the date when at last I met her. I hope you will watch it. To do so, CLICK HERE.

For a bit of fun from Dizzy's earliest days in New Orleans (showing she can sing well too!) click here.

And on 10 June 2016, Dizzy took part in the first performance ever by the amazing all-female EQP Band (Equal Pay) that performed at The Dragon's Den in New Orleans (photo courtesy of a New Orleans-based friend, who wishes to remain anonymous). What a group of stars!