For a late-winter afternoon in West Seattle, Alki Beach offers a quiet and breezy respite from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area which as the cityscape (and the presence of the Space Needle) shows is only a few miles away. The differences come as no surprise: the pace is slower, the sensibility is uncomplicated, outlook and livelihood directed by the adjacent waters of the Salish Sea (Puget Sound).
Perhaps it’s the latter what the indigenous Duwamish and Coast Salish people were pondering when a group of white settlers in the Denny party came ashore in November 1851. With his own group, Chief Seathl (siʔaɫ, Si’ahl, Sealth) of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes arrived to meet the strangers from the sea. Today, a monument and various plaques around Alki Beach Park highlight how the Denny party attempted to start their new life in what is now West Seattle, before they pulled up stakes and moved the following April onto the high ground next to the muddy flats of what is now the Pioneer Square District.
In its place, the city might have once been called “New York Alki” by early white settlers, but eventually, the growing city would take the name of the indigenous chief. The intervening decades would see competing views of “place-stories” to fit future dreams and mourn the apparent loss of the “pristine past” without any acknowledgment of responsibility; both could and would be used to sell the image of the city.
I acknowledge my visit to the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish (Dxʷdəwʔabš) People past and present, and honour with gratitude the land itself and the Duwamish Tribe (src). I made the photo above on 6 March 2020 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the following settings: 1/60-sec, f/11, ISO 800, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-h9L.
Pilgrimage is a noun, defined as “a journey to a place of particular interest or significance.”
There are three things you need to know about a personal music pilgrimage.
One, the music that’s stayed with me came about because I was tuned to `70s radio; I learned I liked the sonic combination of guitars and drums.
Two, on a recent visit to Seattle, I decided to spend the morning in a recording studio outside the city.
Three, at the studio’s location, little outside suggests some important music history was made here.
The two-storey building looks like a cross between a warehouse and ordinary office space. The surroundings include a small commercial complex and a storage-unit facility. Within a quarter-mile, there’s a gas station, some fast-food joints, and a shopping mall. This is the modest setting where London Bridge Studio resides in the city of Shoreline, WA, about 14 km north of downtown Seattle.
It’s unassuming and it’s also important to note how out of the way this location is from other popular places to visit. To visit this place of living music history, you’ll have to make a little more effort.
I’m more than curious, but there’s music that’s meant a great deal and stayed with me over the decades. Recorded in this studio are two important albums on personal playlist and timeline: Temple of the Dog’s 1991 self-titled album as tribute to Mother Love Bone’s Andrew Wood; and “Ten”, Pearl Jam’s 1991 debut album. Much of the credit goes to Rakesh “Rick” Parashar: born and raised in Seattle, first owner and co-founder of the studio, and producer for “Ten” and “Temple of the Dog”.