No Place Special in Mashpee, MA
My last two posts have been about house concerts. In case you are new to this column, I want to reiterate that house concerts are the bread and butter of the modern troubadour. They’re a truly intimate way to experience independent musicians in a warm environment. I have known of married couples that have met at house concerts, and a long-lasting relationship was sparked all because of their shared love of songs.
I want to tell you about a house concert called No Place Special. This moniker is anything but true. No Place Special is out on beautiful Cape Cod, in a gorgeous old house that has been renovated with old boat parts in order to put on live music.
Hosts Mama Sue and Papa Ricci Furlani are two long-married music lovers with the warmth and generosity of the summer sun. I was told prior to playing NPS, that I should be prepared to be family from the first moment, and that doesn’t even come close to the energy and vibrancy in that house.
Sue and Ricci started hosting house concerts because they couldn’t leave their house. These two bright souls cared for their two lovely daughters, Liza and Emi, until recently when both girls succumbed to a terminal illness called Sanfilipo syndrome. Music had such a positive impact on their daughters and was such a source of joy for their family, when it became clear that leaving the girls for the evening to see a show wasn’t a possibility, Sue and Ricci decided to bring the show to them.
I have played at NPS many times and each show is like a reunion. Papa Ricci has some delicious concoction on the stove – like, say, Jamaican jerk chicken – and cousin David is behind the bar. Mama Sue is quick to deeply welcome any human being into her home, no matter how different they might seem. She says everyone has a place at No Place Special.
The music room is their converted living room, which feels like the belly of a large sailboat. Their house is full of secret passageways, ship accoutrements, wild art, sea-faring memorabilia, and love. They have a sound system that not only pipes out the show but also blares their favorite NPS alumni between sets. Once Papa Ricci found out I liked whiskey, they always made sure they had some when I came back. Each show that I’ve played here has ended with a wild, drunken dance party sing-a-long – one of my favorite things in the world.
No Place Special is special. It is a truly unique secret club of passionate music lovers who are living life to its fullest.
Each year, Sue and Ricci also host Lemifest, a music festival that honors the memory of their two angels, Emi and Liza. The Flyin’ Furlanis are like family to me and all the musicians they host. No Place Special House Concerts is a thing that cannot exist at a traditional club; it is the true heart and soul of folk music.