Travellin’ Light

Rhodri Davies
Answers 20 Questions About Life on the Road

Rhodri Davies
Rhodri Davies                                                                                                            Rhodri Davies©2009

Rhodri Davies has been engaged with improvised music since the mid 1990s. In addition to playing harp, electric harp, and live electronics, he builds wind, water and fire harp installations. Davies performs regularly in a duo with John Butcher, a trio with David Toop and Lee Patterson, and ensembles including Apartment House, Branches, Broken Consort, Common Objects, Cranc, Portable and The Sealed Knot. In 2008, he collaborated with visual artist Gustav Metzger on Self-Cancellation, a large-scale audio-visual work in London and Glasgow. He also performs and researches contemporary music, commissioning new works for the harp from Ben Patterson, Yasunao Tone, and others. Davies recently took part in Ben Patterson’s 75th birthday celebration, performing in a trio with the composer and Keith Rowe. Davies’ recent recordings include valved strings calculator (Hibari) with Robin Hayward and Taku Unami, and two duo albums on Another Timbre: kravis rhonn project with Annette Krebs, and dark architecture with Max Eastley. Forthcoming CDs include music from Self-Cancellation, a duo album with Butcher and quintet performances with Michel Doneda, Louisa Martin, Phil Minton and Lee Patterson. For more information, visit:

What is the most difficult airline to deal with in terms of instruments and equipment?

Japan Airlines as they tried to charge me more than the cost of the flight for excess on my harp. I paid up half the original fee after an hour of wrangling when they threatened to call the police.

Which airline has the worst economy seating and food?

Ryan Air

Which airport is craziest for making connecting flights?

What is the most important thing you ever forgot to pack?

Nothing forgotten to date, but Mark Wastell and I missed our flight when we drove to Luton instead of Stanstead and then had a ten-hour wait in Stanstead for the next flight.

What is your worst lost baggage story?

Thankfully it has not happened yet but I was once looking out of the plane window before take-off and saw the baggage handlers throw my harp onto the plane.
What country hassles musicians the most at customs and passport checks?


Which city has the worst cab drivers?

I was left in the snow in Copenhagen with my harp after a concert and no taxi driver would pick me up. I was saved by the saxophonist Sture Ericsson who came on his Cargo bicycle and cycled my harp back to the hotel. As we passed Tivoli Gardens some drunk Danes threw snowballs at us. Again a similar story in Barcelona but without the snow. Mark Wastell and I ended up carrying a harp, cello and luggage for miles as taxi drivers refused to pick us up.

What is the best hotel that a presenter has provided for you?

The best food and hospitality was at the Cave 12 squat in Geneva.

The most luxurious hotels have been when I toured with Charlotte Church. A notable experience was being at the Sunset Marquis hotel, West Hollywood and sitting opposite Tricky at breakfast who was there recording.

Do you travel with a laptop or a PDA? If so, how many times a day do you check your e-mail?

No but I do lookout for internet cafés.

Do you listen to music on the road? If so, what device do you use?

Do you do your own laundry on the road?


What is your most nightmarish sound check to date?

There have been so many, but a couple that come to mind are Bangor New Music Festival. And a Stevie Wishart group concert at the Review of Live Art, at the Arches, Glasgow, where the sound guy must have been introduced to a mixing desk for the first time in his life.
What is the scariest food that has been laid out for you backstage?
Hairy Crab in Hong Kong

What are your three favorite venues?

Café Oto, London; Kid Ailack Hall, Tokyo; Off Site, Tokyo
Which cities have the best restaurants for late after-gig meals?

Madrid, Tokyo

Which cities have the best after-hours sessions?

I don’t do after-hours jam sessions though I was just sent a recording of probably the only occasion I did - in Budapest, with me on double bass and Villo Turcsany on plastic piano and playing along to a sampler left running in the room.

What is the best city that closes down too early?


What is the best locale to have a day off?

Shinjuku, Tokyo; Szechenyi Baths, Budapest

What is your cure for jet lag?

What is your best tip for the novice?

Don’t drink homemade spirits given to you by friendly audience members in Budapest. I lost my sense of smell and taste for six years.

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