Palma .—American musician Stephen Franckevich flew in to Majorca last week to play at a benefit concert in his honour, but no sooner did his feet touch terra firma than the case carrying his precious trumpet was stolen.

Stephen, from his base at The Hotel Son Caliu relates the story: “I got off the plane from North Carolina after twenty hours and changing planes four times. My trumpet never left my hand until I disembarked here, I got a push cart, piled my trumpet case, and laptop and medication bag on and went outside the concourse, all my friends came to hug and kiss me and suddenly we're in this moment and there's this guy with a camera doing a video of this whole event for a television documentary, so they want me to go and sit in the back seat of the car with my friend Meja so that they can film us talking… blah, blah, blah. “I heard someone, a very close friend; say “We'll take your baggage to the hotel.” I said OK except for the top one which had my medication; this for me is the most important, even more important than my trumpet these days, because without my drugs - my pain killers, medication, it would be terrible. And this one time, with all the love in the air, I said OK. The trumpet case and the other baggage were handed over to my friends and whether the case was put on the ground or whatever, someone just walked off with it.” — When did they notice that it had gone? “Ah, well this is the problem; I noticed when I walked into my room. Don't forget that this was Friday afternoon and at 3 o'clock the lost and found at the airport closed. “By the time I discovered the case was missing everyone was going home for the weekend, so we hit a bad moment; the police report was filed, over $3'400 worth of instruments, there were two horns in that case. “My horn that I'd played since I was 17 years old which was the first one I'd played professionally plus a specially modified Yamaha cornet…they were my babies. “ I slept very badly that night, I kept waking up, haunted by what had happened.” Stephen recalls how events took a turn for the better the following day. “I was introduced to the gentleman at Musicasa in Palma, he was the sweetest man and he lent me a trumpet which was absolutely my choice… whatever I wanted in the store he said was mine to use for the concert. “I chose a Yamaha trumpet which felt very, very, good to me. As a trumpet player, I have a preferred mouthpiece, a mouthpiece is almost more important than a trumpet: this is what really freaked me out because when you play a mouthpiece for more or less your whole life your facial muscles, as minimal as it may seem, adapt to a specific circumference and depth. “Well it just so happens that the mouthpiece that I chose… well, let's just say that I'm gonna play it for the rest of my life, however long that may be. I got really lucky here, and the horn worked and I didn't have to sweat you know…and I've been through changing horns before, believe me, when it's taken ages to adapt, so I got really lucky and as far as I was concerned I was channelling Gabriel the night of the concert! “ I haven't played ten times during the last year with the operations and such. I know when I play and I know when I don't play and that night I played!” Stephen is grateful for the support he's experiencing whilst spending time on his beloved island. “People have been wonderful, one person turned up and gave me the equivalent of 80% of what it's gonna cost me to replace the trumpet, people have been donating money left and right and my friend Karin here gave me medication money because I'm staying an extra week.” Swedish artist Karin Kullersten and Stephen have been friends since they met on the island twenty five years ago and it was Karin who funded his trip.
Steve remarks: “This is the one woman I've never slept with - and you of course! We are just big buddies, bumped our heads hard and loved each another…we're bound by fate. I've been told I'm gonna die…and I have a road ahead of me if that's the case. I'm totally okay with the dying part, I really am… “I came to terms with that very quickly, but it doesn't hurt to feed my soul of some of the things which have mattered most to me and one of the things in my life that mattered most to me was the time I spent on this island, and if it rains for seven days I couldn't give a s'**, that's okay with me, just being here breathing the air… there's something about this place just lets me get loose”.

There's a rumour that Stephen may be giving his new trumpet another outing on Monday evening at the Hotel Saratoga in Palma before he leaves for the States.