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#250498 - 18 February 16 6:03 am - America/Chicago Awkward situation at The Shak
Ken_Wilford Offline


Registered: 03 June 12
Posts: 206
Loc: Millville, NJ USA
My wife and I have a special place in our heart for The Shak, the small eatery at the end of the Placencia sidewalk in the village. It was one of the first places we visited upon first coming to Belize 5 years ago. I was the first person to review it on Trip Adviser before it even had a listing. So we always try to visit there at least once while we are in Belize.

This year the place was more packed than normal for a lunch during the week. That was good, as it means the business is good. We were just finishing up our lunch when a couple came in. The guy had a guitar slung over his shoulder. He went to the management and asked them if he could perform and they turned off their music. I thought, "This might be interesting." I was so wrong. The guy could play the guitar and sing OK, but his girlfriend was terrible so mix the two together and you have a bunch of noise that was supposed to be music. Then the songs were all in Spanish so I could not understand them, that just made it worse. It was difficult to know how to react to this. I have been playing in enjoying music ever since I was 8 years old and my wife also plays and we both sing. This is a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because when you hear good music, well performed, it is more meaningful to you because you can appreciate the talent and time it took to get it to that level. But when music is terrible, it makes it worse because it is like fingernails scratching a black board while cats tails are getting caught under rocking chairs.

After the first song I sat there, avoiding eye contact, and tried to finish my meal. My wife was cringing and we were both wishing we could be somewhere else at that moment. After about 4 songs, we were done with our meal the singers were also done with what they were doing. I went to reach for my wallet to pay my bill and the guitarist came up to me smiling. I would have felt less awkward if he were wearing a mask and had a gun trained on me. I feel like the music game is best left to survival of the fittest rules. If you are good you make it. If you are awful, better to find out early so that you can move on with your life. I paid my bill and we left, feeling somewhat awkward and a little guilty for not giving them anything. I just didn't want to feel like I had to pay for something that I didn't ask for, and then didn't want. It is like you are being held hostage by the terrible music and you pay to make it go away. What do you folks think? Have you had a similar experience?

I want to hear good live music in Placencia. I think it is a great venue for it and it would be a boon to all of the eating places in the village. I am still waiting to hear anything more than a good Garfuna drum recital. Something you can sing along to would be nice.
Ken Wilford
John 3:16

#250499 - 18 February 16 9:39 am - America/Chicago Re: Awkward situation at The Shak [Re: Ken_Wilford]
Osprey Offline


Registered: 22 March 04
Posts: 174
Loc: Placencia, Cape Cod, MA
I was in Wendy's a week or so ago when the same roving musician hove to on Wendy's veranda. He had asked Wendy if it was OK if he sang a few songs.

Everyone at the north end of the sidewalk had been driven to the south end of town by the painfully loud electronic music at Fusion. Wendy's was more packed than I had ever seen before. We got the penultimate table and a couple of neighbors got the last table right after we sat down. From then on there were people milling around outside waiting.

As the guitar player tuned up, my wife and I gave each other the "hairy eyeball" and I emitted an audible groan: is there no peace in Placencia tonight? With that the guitarist started playing. I was arrested mid-chew: this guy could play guitar really well! He was playing rhythm but also embellishing it with the melody at the same time. He started singing in Spanish and it immediately became clear that he had a strong and pleasant voice as he sang the melody, but more interesting he was filling in the typical Spanish backup between melody lines. He was singing both melody and chorus. It became clear that this was no typical busker: he was a professional musician.

After three songs with enthusiastic applause between them, he said “goodnight and thanks for listening.” There was an immediate mutiny amongst the diners: “you only played three songs,” “we thought you would be here all night,” “play a few more songs, at least.” He passed the hat and my wife gave him a generous gratuity and thanked him for his performance. But the crowd was not going to let him leave, so he launched into one more song before thanking us again for our enthusiastic response.

As the minstrel descended Wendy’s stairs with his guitar strung across his back, wandering off in the night to his next spontaneous gig, I couldn’t but help reflect on the irony of the situation. Here a couple of dozen people driven from their homes by an offensive and raucous electronic noise were placated and soothed by the unamplified human voice with acoustic guitar accompaniment.

#250500 - 18 February 16 9:58 am - America/Chicago Re: Awkward situation at The Shak [Re: Ken_Wilford]
GZboat Offline


Registered: 18 June 06
Posts: 2527
Loc: Tarpon Springs, Fl./Copper Ban...
So it sounds like you want to catch this guy when he's alone. I bet he's aware of the problem but she is his girlfriend,so......... Ken, I understand your problem. Bad music is especially grating if you know and understand good music. If Hell really exists (and if I've been bad enough to end up there), my own personal Hell would be to be trapped in a karaoke bar for all eternity while horrible, drunk "singers" butchered all my favorite songs.


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