Two Tired Traveler
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Bikes: Miyata 15-speed
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I've toured with an ocarina (it's a lot easier to carry than a fiddle or banjo), and it's usually a good way to meet people. In Italy I've been invited in for coffee and sometimes dinner. Most people are more fascinated by the bike, but your fiddle should have more appeal than an ocarina, especially if you run across other fiddlers.
As far as learning music, I've never met a fellow ocarina player this way but I've met a lot of musicians who pulled out their banjo/fiddle/clarinet and shared their stuff with me. I even have a page in my journal where an old Greek folk singer wrote the words and notation for a song from his island--in Greek.
On one tour I stumbled upon a national banjo festival and met a lot of fascinating people, even though I don't play the banjo. (This was in 1993 so I don't know where or whether this festival still happens.) If you know of any fiddle/bluegrass festivals, show up on your bike and you'll definitely get a warm welcome!
Wherever you go, you'll always meet musicians. And it seems like the smaller the town, the more friendly and interesting the musicians are.