Kate Power & Steve Einhorn

We packed to leave our Portland, Oregon home just after dawn on Thursday, October 1.   With two hours of sleep barely under our belts, a full double tank of gas in the Econoline Airstream and the dark fragrant elixir of Brazilian coffee (thank you, Nossa Familia!) wafting from our substantial Cycle Oregon mugs in hand, we stepped into our seats, buckled up and started the engine.

Leading up to exit was no small feat.  Friends and neighbors kept a close eye on events transpiring on our front steps over the past few weeks.  Steve almost single-handedly condensed fifteen years of family living from the two floors of our northeast Portland bungalow into one small basement apartment, the art studio and the Quality Folk office.  Leftovers from our past funneled into one large yard sale and many trips to Goodwill.  Friends and neighbors stopped by the yard sale to bring good wishes and hug us full of luck and promise.  Our venture out to circumnavigate the country with our new Ukalaliens Songbook to harmonize community on the road was upon us.  It was time to go.

We had just returned from a week of managing the entertainment and main stage for Cycle Oregon.  Home from the ride, we had a short ten days to empty and fine-tune the house to receive its three new tenants.  They were scheduled to arrive to their new nest just hours after our exit east, not to return until Christmas.

The van was packed.  Over the course of the last week home, friends came by bearing gifts of their drawings, poems, handmade journals for us to fill and artifacts of nourishment and protection for the ride ahead.  Each item mixes goodwill with our intention to go out and harmonize community from the core of our own.  We had a great summer of singing on Tuesday nights with our Portland crowd in the little Airplay Cafe.  It brought us together in special ways.  People began to donate money to the cause, fueling our gas and tour fund online. Rose took buttons off and fixed my Fillson vest.  Mary brought a mobile clothesline and Hazel gave us blank journals and made us promise to come back safe.  Judi cut off a tiny trio of red protection bundles from a cotton string she had prayed over.  Carl brought his wife, Jenny’s beautiful guitar tree house print to hang in the van.  Mary & Nancy brought their favorite camp light for our mobile dinner table with a poem freshly penciled in Mary’s hand:

Unfurl…
Take the musical medicine show
And like thistle0-down
Before the wind
Fly…
You carry with you as you go
Those of us grounded here.
We wish you naught but the best
Of journeys
Of adventure
Of roads
Of sharings.
We love you…
Unfurl.

Assurance grows with her poem words and the trinkets ground us with the love we feel pouring in from our community.  We brace ourselves to flex between our Portland home that has housed us in its 2400 square feet of comfort to 72 square feet on wheels.  It’s a good thing we get along.

The Econoline Airstream 160 is packed to the gills with 500 Ukalaliens Songbooks & CDs, 500 CD’s from Kate & Steve titles, 28 loaner Kala travel tenor ukuleles, 30 electronic tuners for the ukes, three guitars, a banjo, harmonica and cables and gear to plug in for a show.  Oh yes, and then the clothes, kitchenware, tools, towels, Advil.  The rigging is set.  Wheels are ready to roll.

How did we get to this place?  It all started with an invitation last summer to play at a little free five-hour fundraising festival this coming October with Pete Seeger on the other side of the country.  From that one invitation to come play the Pumpkin Festival in Beacon, New York, a dream unfolded.   Steve and I were getting ready to publish our first teaching method book & CD, the Ukalaliens Songbook.  It seemed like the perfect time to walk the talk we learned so long ago from Pete Seeger that taught us how to make beautiful music with everybody.  We would go out and harmonize communities we visit the way we have always done here at home in Portland with our music, teaching and harmony.   Since we would travel across the country to play the Pumpkin Festival, we might as well bring the rest of what we do with us!

The Quality Folk Ukalaliens Fall Tour USA has officially begun!