The Californian coast: inspiring musicians and artists since 1906

The Californian coast: inspiring musicians and artists since 1906
Copyright euronews
By Sarah Dean & Euronews
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After an earthquake hit San Francisco in 1906, artists were called to populate the Californian coast, transforming it into an artistic mecca for those who like to surf.


Just two hours drive south of San Francisco, Carmel-by-the-Sea is one the country’s most stunning small Cities.

Famed for its music, arts and distinct character. 

And with Big Sur’s rugged stretch of ocean vistas and redwood forests just 25 miles down the road, music here is unique.

My first stop is Carmel’s white-sand beaches to catch some waves with surf instructor, Zane Reed.

The music of the ocean, the music of the waves

Surf instructor Zane Reed says that music and surfing go hand in hand.

He stresses that surfers hear the music of the waves and the ocean and that he even tells his students to think of tunes while they surf, to create a "soundtrack to your surf."

He says that many great artists live the area and that "a lot of people who come out are very passionate."

But it's not just the beach life that attracts visitors to Carmel, as the city has been a mecca for artists, writers and musicians since the 19th century.

Today, more than 100 studios, galleries and stores represent the works of artists from all around the world.

Artists take over the streets

In the Cypress Inn hotel, local music legend Andrea Carter says that "there is no place like this in the United States."

And, that the reason there are so many artists is due to the earthquake in San Francisco in 1906. 

"There was an ad in this paper telling artists, musicians, and writers, all of these people to come to town. And that's why Carmel has the character that it has."

"If you walk around town, every detail is artistic on the houses. Everything is with care and quality. And that's what makes this town so beautiful to walk around. "

"Make sure you go see some music!", she adds.

The Sunset Center is a 700 seat venue that is stunning, and gets touring musicians from all over the world.

Ancient future music

Another historical venue is the Henry Miller Memorial Library.

An art centre bookstore, and performance venue that documents the life of late writer and artist, Henry Miller.

Jake Padorr, a local musician who works at the foundation says that Big Sur has motivated his sound.


 "I try and draw inspiration from this place as much as possible," he says. But also adds that nature has a big place to play inspiring local and travelling musicians.

"Everyone's kind of out here to dive into the nature and to find their little slice of paradise."

"There's a sweetness in the air, and I haven't found it anywhere else. Big Sur deeply influenced my sound. I didn't express this style of music until coming here, and it just kind of bubbled out of me, those sounds."

He calls it ancient future music.

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