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Michael Holt

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Last login about 1 month ago

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Overview

  • 11 Positive References
  • Fluent in English; learning Spanish
  • 47, Male
  • Member since 2011
  • Musician/troubadour/author/activist
  • BA from NYU, and lots more from life
  • From New York City, NY, USA
  • Profile 100% complete

About Me

CURRENT MISSION

To tour North America and Europe, bringing people together with intimate and inspiring music-conversation-and-food gatherings.

ABOUT ME

Hi!

I'm a piano-guitar-player-singer-songwriter-troubadour and have been doing music all my life.

I've done many tours of Europe and North America, playing most of my shows for small gatherings in people's living rooms. Here's what I'm offering/requesting: I'll come to your home, and play a lovely set of music for you and a small group of your friends and neighbours.

House concerts are fun and easy:
- You don't need a large living room (an audience of 5-10 is enough)
- You don't need to supply food or alcohol (though you can if you want, and a potluck is nice too)
- It works well on weeknights, being all done by 930PM.

There's no need for microphones - it will all be at a nice quiet volume. A real piano would be amazing, but not necessary - I'll have my acoustic guitar, kazoo, tambourine, fez, clown nose, bunny ears, etc. to put on a funny, serious, sad, happy, and entertaining variety show ranging from original classical pieces and beatlesy pop songs to covers of everything from Ravel to Miles Davis to Prince to Fela Kuti.

If we like, the show can be a starting point for a conversation between everyone who's come. On my last tour, we talked about climate change and what people can do to build sustainability in their communities. On this "The Slow Culture Tour", I'm interested in talking about the Slow movement - how we can slow down and enjoy life more. We can also add a meal, pot-luck or otherwise. Or we can just have a merry little concert! When it's done, I'll pass a hat for voluntary contributions from your guests, and YOU will get a free CD.

House concerts and other live videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJkwCCiHeNg&list=PL5D54885E00F119F9
New album sneak preview : https://soundcloud.com/michael-holt/sets/music
What's Slow Culture? http://www.michaelholtmusic.com/apps/blog/slow-culture-1

"€œMichael'€™s Scriabin-influenced piano playing is so exciting, I can'€™t get enough of it." -- Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy/Arcade Fire)

"Michael Holt is a diamond among too many rhinestones. He brings empathy, ingenuity and raw dignity to his lexicon of heartfelt songs." -- Bob Wiseman, Toronto songwriter

"Michael Holt writes an all-too-rare kind of music, in which sophistication is in the service of emotion. His personal, powerful songs are really smart, but you realize that only after you first experience them as intimate, direct, and deeply meaningful."€ -- David Garland, WNYC, America's most-listened-to public radio station

"It'€™s a powerful gift Holt is using, and he wields it well." -- thefourfour.com

PHILOSOPHY

Follow inspiration (tao)! Here are the rules for living which I have been actively and diligently pursuing for about 3 years: when I am inspired to do something, I do it. When I am not inspired to do anything, I do nothing (meditate, listen, wait, etc.) I believe if everyone followed those simple rules, we would have a much better, and more peaceful and fun world.

Why I'm on Couchsurfing

HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING

I am interested in exploring CS because I feel a real sense of kinship with all the CSers I've met so far, because my favourite shows are house concerts, and because I am also totally interested in grass roots, do-it-yourself, community building.

COUCHSURFING EXPERIENCE

So far I've had two great experiences of staying with people in Iceland and putting on concerts in their homes for them and their friends and families, and one great experience hosting a couch surfer. I've also slept on many, many couches over the years as a touring musician!

Interests

I am a touring musician, song writer, author, recording artist, teacher, explorer of Taoism and other spiritualities, piano player, singer, guitar player, foodie, and son of environmental/political activists. My mission is connecting myself and others to our own sources of inspiration - living and doing as we really want to! I love nature, cooking, improvisation in all things, sustainable/alternative/noncorporate living, and all kinds of music, especially classical, and within that, especially Ravel, Scriabin, and Bach. I mainly eat vegetarian and vegan, and love to indulge in the occasional ethically sourced meat. On the the one hand I am short-haired, organized, focused, ambitious, hardworking, and competitive. I don´t drink, smoke anything, or do drugs. On the other I am a free-spirited, spontaneous, hippy-at-heart who is into spreading love on this planet, which includes talking and processing honestly and openly through any conflicts, giving backrubs to strangers, cuddling with people of all genders, and maintaining close friendships even when they get challenging, requiring work and communication. And for the first time in my life, I'm discovering the fun of sports and exercise. I particularly like badminton, volleyball, biking, swimming. Want to try soccer. In recent years, I am discovering a passion for learning, and for giving.

Music, Movies & Books

Books:
- The Book On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts. (and who you really are is God).
- The History Of Love by Nicole Krauss. (a novel)
- Tao, The Watercourse Way by Alan Watts.
- Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein

Movies:
- Wings Of Desire
- Juliette of the Spirits
- The Motorcyle Diaries
- Moonrise Kingdom
- DIva
- The Man Who Fell to Earth

Music: Ravel, Scriabin, Bach, Beatles, Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Fela Kuti, Captain Beefheart, XTC, King Crimson, early Genesis, traditional musics from around the world, Thelonius Monk, Bob Marley, and much, much more.

One Amazing Thing I've Done

Just finished an album of 24 Preludes for Piano - classical piano pieces I wrote over 14 years! I'll play some of them for you if I stay at your house!

Teach, Learn, Share

Music improvisation, songwriting, music theory, piano, ear training, how to improvise with food, meditation, following tao, inspiration as a way of life.

Countries I've Visited

Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States

Countries I've Lived In

Canada, United States

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