Posts Tagged ‘Sunapee Community CoffeeHouse’

A Small World Indeed


An email from some good folks in Sunapee NH
Dear Randy,
Bill and I just returned yesterday from an amazing trip to Ecuador (Galapagos Islands) and Peru (Lima, Cuzco, Machu Pichu).  Our tour group was treated to a performance by Chimu Inka at a local restaurant in Cuzco for our farewell lunch…we thoroughly enjoyed their music.

Chimu Inka photo shoot 2004

I purchased their CD but didn’t open it until we were back at our hotel.  Little did I know I’d see Sunapee, NH on the inside cover…the name Dexter didn’t ring a bell, but I suspected it was you as I recalled your last name.  Sure enough, I called Carol and she confirmed it.  Wish I’d opened the case while at the restaurant.  Our tour guide was an amazing guy, born and raised in Cuzco, G. Walter Rodriguez, in case you might know him.

They had a group of 4 dancers performing with them…I was privileged to be pulled into the dance with one of the guys…it wasn’t easy at that altitude!  But what a great memory! It was exciting to have that connection and a great memory of our trip.

My Response..

Hi Sharon,


Chimu Inka Album #3

Thanks for your email, and great to read your story! I do remember you both, and was thrilled to read of your experience in La Ratama restaurant with Chimu Inka. Yes…too bad you didn’t know about the connection while you were there, as the band  would have loved to know that you’re  from Sunapee, and would have given you a real local connection. They are like family to me. (more…)

Why We Need Live Music #6


Peter Merrigan graced the Sunapee Community CoffeeHouse last night, closing our 2009/10 season for the summer. When he started playing “It’s a Wonderful World” written by Robert Thiele and George David Weiss, I couldn’t resist catching it on my little camera. Nice job Peter, and thanks again for playing and contributing your energy to the Sunapee Community CoffeeHouse.  The audience loved it.

Richards to Play at CoffeeHouse


Randy Richards, founder of the Sunapee Community CoffeeHouse returns on February 19th
Sunapee, NH, USA

R. Richards

Singer songwriter Randy Richards returns to the Sunapee Community CoffeeHouse on February 19th at 7PM. Richards will play two different sets, one on guitar and the second on piano. Piano is his first instrument, which he learned as a child, and started playing professionally at age twenty-one in Austria. However, says Richards of his guitar playing, “I had advice when working in France, from the lead singer of The Rascals – to write music on something other than my first instrument.” He adds, “After years of playing guitar, (since college) I finally feel as comfortable on the guitar as on the piano”. He will also be playing a bit of Native American flute and a Zampona from Peru. (more…)

Why We Need Live Music – Part 1


By Randall Richards

Joel Cage prior to taking the stage

Joel Cage prior to taking the stage

Tonight, I just heard my good friend Joel Cage play an evening at our local Sunapee Community CoffeeHouse. This will be one of the harder posts to write because no words will justify the experience. You had to be there.  Nevertheless…

Joel played to a small audience tonight. He’s always been the consummate professional. When I first heard him during our early days, when the CoffeeHouse was just starting out in Sunapee Harbor, he blew us all away with his style and technical know how.  But hearing him tonight was like hearing a different person. He seems wise beyond his years, and presents an affable, grounded style.

Joel in action at SCC

Joel in action at SCC

Aside from his stunning guitar playing and vocals, he’s really made a major shift skyward. His whole energy, the way he takes the stage, the feeling put into every note, brings the audience, (at least those willing to go), to a new level of warmth and community.  It seems he’s been on a long journey in a short time. He’s making the most of his journey with the time he’s given – that is clear.

The first thing I noticed immediately, was his total commitment to the performance, right from the first note. The second thing I noticed about Joel, was his guitar.
At first I thought, “That’s an interesting sound hole placement for a *guitar”, and “what a cool finish and woodwork.”  Then I realized what I was seeing. It wasn’t a sound hole. Joel had actually worn away the finish, and then the wood just above the strings with his strumming, until he created the hole after years of playing .”  That in itself might be a curiosity, but it’s how he plays the thing, and how he and the guitar are one. The guitar is an extension of Joel. (*see image)

Joel Cage consciously creates a space, for himself, the audience, and each person in the room. He’s got the technical skills to pull off an amazing performance, but more importantly has put the heart behind his craft that puts him at the cutting edge, leading the way.

Read this book.

Read this book.

Often I talk about leadership in these posts, and the “Courage to Create” comes to mind (Read Rollo May’s book about this, with the same title). Joel is a true leader. It takes courage to present and show a new way, and break the mold of what we think music should or shouldn’t be. The gift that Joel brought to the audience tonight, was his ruthless walk to the edge and his skill in bringing us with him on his journey. Thanks Joel, we’ll be making the trip to see you tomorrow night, at The Mill. Keep up the good work.

This is why we need live music. Unplug the computer, the TV and get out to hear someone play this weekend, or pick up a guitar and play it. To be continued.

Living Close to the Land, A Lost Art?

Yoga at the Tipi, North Cascades, Leavenworth, WA

Yoga at the Tipi, North Cascades, Leavenworth, WA

By Randy Richards, Founder
Executive Director
Mountain Spirit Institute
Images: R Richards

Alternative structures are getting more attention these days, especially with the spector of dwindling non-renewable petroleum products for building and heating materials. Simple living is more than an idealist notion. Cody Michaels, a longtime  friend and solo pianist extradonaire, just swung by my town for a performance at our local CoffeeHouse. His performance is a reminder that we actually need to live and  breath outdoors more. He and I went for a walk to the top of a hill overlooking Lake Sunapee just before his gig. We wer just in time to catch the sunset too. It seemed bitterly cold,  (read, There is no bad weather, just bad clothes), but it was worth it. Cody shared his appreciation of the wind whipping through the bare branches, and the artist’s light that cuts through the landscape at an obtuse angle this time of year.
Living outside has become a lost art for the majority of Americans. In my tipi days, I always enjoyed the circular living structure. Occasionally, when a visitor might bring a dog, often times, the a dog would go walk nerveously round and round along the inner walls of the tipi looking for a corner in which to sit. To no avail. Even our domestic pets are used to the square structures in which we all live. 

Home base, warm yurt, Sunapee, NH

Home base, warm yurt, Sunapee, NH

My tipi has been put up every year though,  for the Sunapee SunFest, but I don’t live in it any more. My yurt, now that is a cool structure. It’s toasty warm, and clean living off the grid with solar panels, gravity feed shower, composting toilet and a hand dug well. I’ll write more on yurt living in another post.  I had it up for 5 years in Sunapee, NH on Ryder Corner Road. The different reactions I received from different neighors was worth noting. The old time locals, who grew up on local farms thought it was the best thing, a great addition to the neighborhood.  Ohers were less clear about their feelings of the thing.

Yurt interior w/loft

Yurt interior w/loft

Reactions varied from polite disdain, a blank stare, or possibly a somewhat condescending chuckle. It’s only worth mentioning because as illustrated in the movie “Escape from Suburbia” we may be headed for voluntary simplicity whether we want to or not.  I’m not a Chicken Little thinker, however, watching the aformentioned movie made me sit up and take more notice. It might be worth your time.

A confession is due here. I’m not living as close to the land as I’d like. I’m not growing my own food, (although I do eat from friend’s gardens once in a while.) And I’m not in my yurt. However I forsee my partner and I taking action on this. I’m glad I have the background I do, having lived in my tipi and yurt. As Richard Louv says in his lecture and book “Last Child in the Woods”, my past experiences give me a touchstone, a reference point that helps me know my place in the natural world. My life is still more green than most, but I’ve still got goals to reach. I suggest you do the same. 

Living closely to the earth not only makes sense, it can be much more fun than being in the rut of spending all those non-renewables.