Nowadays with time in such short supply we leave less to chance. So imagine getting an invitation to a House Concert (a what?) in Luxembourg (where?) with a musician from Seattle (who?) for Sunday night, June 19 (during end of school year/I need a vacation crazy?) You might be understandably counting the hours (and cost) and politely take a rain check. I might have too had I not been the co-host.
In retrospect, I probably wasn’t the most qualified co-host. I had never been to a House Concert. I don’t even know that many people in Luxembourg. I’m not in music circles (except in my own head.) And though I’d spent a cherished 3 hours with the way cool Camille Bloom on a layover in Luxembourg last summer thanks to a mutual friend who connected us (Cindy Randles Hagen), I had never heard her perform.
I had of course listened to her gorgeous, lyrically rich music and was a fan. I also stumbled on an April article the Seattle Times wrote about her recently released album “Pieces of Me” entitled "Camille Bloom May be the Next Great Seattle Singer-Songwriter.” (Wowza! – as Seattle is kind of proud about their music) but not even that high praise can capture the surprise it is to listen to Camille perform live. They say that your first concert is always the best and the chances of having your mind blown decreases with every concert because you’ve had more experiences. Whoever said that is wrong because they haven’t heard Camille perform 10 feet in front of them yet.
John O’Donohue, the Irish Poet, said, “I would like to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” For twenty of us on Sunday, June 19th at Eugénie Jactat Krampe's house in Luxembourg, we were carried by the goodness of Camille Bloom’s talent through a set of acoustic songs that touched on big dreams, cell phones, friend crushes, gluten, long term love and garden TV.
Her voice is soaring, her lyrics poetic, and her storytelling between songs so genuinely real and funny. In a previous life Camille used to be a high school English teacher which means she knows both the power of words and wit and how to command a stage. She also knows how to rock the polyester shirt. You might say that after performing for more than 20 years Camille knows how to connect with an audience but it’s more than that. Camille, full of a radiating joy, knows how to open up a room of strangers and make them feel like family.
Though Camille can and does play bigger venues she says that House Concerts remain her favorite because of the intimacy she can create with her audience. I doubt an artist with only talent would say that. You have to be an artist with both talent AND a spirit of generosity to give yourself over in that way. As Camille says her songs aren’t really sad or really happy, they are somewhere in between - where most of us spend our time and energy. So … imagine getting an invitation to sit on someone’s couch to listen to the stories of life performed with way more poetic language and potentially, because you are in the company of others who seem to be nodding in affirmation, an incremental shard of hope or cathartic chuckle.
Some of you reading this may have that invitation in your inbox for her last concert on this European Tour this June 24 in Haarlem, The Netherlands – so my good word to you is this: Don’t miss it! (And hopefully it’s not sold out.)
For my Luxembourg friends, thank you for coming! AND good news is that Camille is hoping to come back to Luxembourg again next summer. Eugenie has made Camille promise to let her host again.
For everyone else, do that thing you do when you want to support local musicians doing their thing and doing it their own way. Buy and listen and share and say thank you!