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Audio: Birdfoot Musicians Taking Flight: “This thing is as big as I am”

Editor’s Note: When it comes to traveling with a musical instrument, there can be turbulence, tragedy, comedy, and magical wonderment. In honor of the Birdfoot Festival–a chamber music festival that is sweeping through New Orleans this week–we are asking musicians to share their stories when it comes to travel and their instruments. 

Birdfoot Musician 4

Eli Lara on the infamous Birdfoot lounging couch

“Every time I seem to go out with my instrument, but especially when I go to an airport where there are a lot of people who don’t usually see large instruments, I always get told, ‘That thing is as big as you are,’ or ‘That thing is bigger than you are,’ as if I’ve never heard that before. And people say it like it’s the most original thing they could possibly say.

And, just for the record, I am five-foot flat, so my cello is pretty much as big as I am, especially when it’s on my back. That’s when the top of it sticks out over my head. It’s just that I’ve gotten so sick of it that I’m actually thinking about designing a bumper sticker, which I’m going to show you a picture of right now. The sticker is literally going to say this: ‘This thing is as big as I am.’

And I’ll just have that on my cello case, so if anybody still says that to me I can just literally turn around. I don’t think I’d even point to the sticker. I would just turn around so they could see it and then walk away. I can make this sticker and then distribute it to other small cellists around the world. It could be for anyone who has an instrument bigger than them…bassists.”

You can hear cellist Eli Lara, as well as fellow Birdfoot musicians, play on Tuesday, May 24 in the main lobby of the Pan American Life Center (601 Poydras Avenue). This free lunchtime concert begins at 12:15 P.M. You can also hear more from the Birdfoot musicians on Tuesday, May 24 for the Musical Feast Dinner Concert at Jones Walker (201 St. Charles Ave, 52nd floor). The 2016 Birdfoot Festival concerts will be running from May 23 – May 28. For a full schedule of the concerts, visit the Birdfoot Festival website.


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