Castles and Cobblestones

Our "Castles and Cobblestones" presentation is a multi-media adventure through the castles and cobblestone streets of Denmark from our vantage point as traveling musicians.

Note: This will be the last presentation of the 2010 Traveler’s Journal series. It has been an enjoyable and varied season with one of the most diverse programs ever. Its success is due entirely to your outstanding and continuing support. Thanks!

Now it’s time to go tour the world. Bring back great stories and fantastic pictures to share as part of the 2011 Traveler’s Journal series. In the meanwhile, enjoy our Olympic Discovery Trail.

— Dave Shreffler, Traveler’s Journal coordinator

Our "Castles and Cobblestones" presentation is a multi-media adventure through the castles and cobblestone streets of Denmark from our vantage point as traveling musicians.

My husband, Celtic harpist David Michael, is a veteran of four previous summers of Scandinavian street performing adventures long ago. He was well-known as the ferryboat harpist on the Port Townsend to Keystone run for 17 years but found himself without a ferry to play on in 2007 when security concerns got him tossed off the boat. Despite protests from thousands of fans, he was unable to return to playing on the ferry.

‘Happiest’ country

I was already in love with Denmark, which recently was voted once again as the world’s "happiest" country. David had taken me there in 2005 on a brief pleasure trip and I’d been dreaming of playing music there on cobblestone streets and in castles ever since.

The end of David’s ferryboat gig seemed like a good opportunity to make this dream a reality and, after a certain amount of applied persuasion, he agreed that we could go together in the summer of 2008.

I took my medieval bowed psaltery and David took his small Celtic harp. Traveling with luggage, our instruments and our busking gear, we got about exclusively by public transportation.

We were based primarily in Copenhagen but also visited Jutland (mainland Denmark) and the island of Funen. We had wondrous adventures in Svendborg, Faaborg, Aarhus, Ebeltoft, Helsingor and the Swedish city of Malmo, which now is considered part of greater Copenhagen with the completion of a new 10-mile bridge connecting the two countries.

Music and video

More than a slide show, short videos and live music accompany our tales of competing with a host of other interesting musicians for the good spots in the walking streets, sweet-talking our way onto castle grounds and into throne rooms where we had no competition, and even getting filmed by CNN International for a program about Copenhagen hosted by actress Connie Nielsen.

Beyond our personal experiences, we present sociological discussions about Danish bicycle culture and offer a view into the "free city" of Christiania. The basic theme of our story is about manifesting dreams.

The entire summer was filled with "grace notes," those magical connections we made with folks that made all the difficulties worthwhile. We found Denmark an enchanting country and love to share the images and stories and the music that was the soundtrack for our journey.

About the presenters

Port Townsend Celtic harpist David Michael is a multi-instrumentalist, World Fusion composer, producer, international performer and recording artist with 22 CDs of his original music published. He is well-known for his 17-year stint performing on the Port Townsend to Whidbey Island ferry.

He recently finished his first book, with the working title "True Adventures of a Modern Day Bard." The book is about 20 years of adventures as a traveling musician. He’s seeking a publisher.

Dari Michael, David’s wife, is a prolific composer and is proficient on hammered-dulcimer, bowed-psaltery and piano. She has released a CD of her original compositions. She owns a massage school in Port Townsend that specializes in training for massage therapists moving to Washington who lack the credentials to get licensed here (Ananda Massage Training).