18 September 2006

Self Titled

We need magic, and bliss, and power, myth, and celebration and religion in our lives, and music is a good way to encapsulate a lot of it.
~ Jerry Garcia

Last night I got together with some friends to jam, compose and rehearse music for my CD project: Michael P. on guitar, Timothy D. on hammered dulcimer and Cindi K. on cello. Sullivan came over as well to act as sound man and recorded our musical shenanigans.

I had already played with all three of them individually. But none of them had played with each other before. I was praying they would “play nice” in more ways than one! Music isn’t just about hitting the right notes and getting the rhythm.

Music is about balance. Give and take. It’s about relationships and vulnerability. It’s about sharing your inner self. And you cannot be comfortable doing that without trust, acceptance, humour and a little repartee.

We had all of the above in abundance last night. Michael and Cindi played dueling strings and yes, fans, it was all caught in audio files and some of it will end up on the final product. When talented musicians duel, it’s sure to be a great show ~ both musically and conversationally!

Then Michael and Timothy decided to have a jam, with Cindi and I jumping in at different times. Three chords. That’s it. And the Muse whispered in my ear. I grabbed my notebook and began writing. Two verses and a chorus later, I asked them to play those chords again. This time I added two extra chords and some layering and a new song was born.
I love jam sessions!!! :-)

The song that received the most work and the most attention from the group was the Fado-esque piece. Part of our getting together was to get a feel for things and see which instruments sounded better on which songs and there were a couple where we didn’t use all of them. For this one, the interplay between all of us was just incredible. It’s a passionate piece and the cello is a passionate instrument, so it was a given. But the guitar and dulcimer really added texture and layers that made the song just blossom.

Not bad for our first (almost) full rehearsal. I cannot wait to hear what adding viola and violin will do.

Oremus pro invicem,

11 September 2006

Requiescat in Pace

To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy power which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

My father remembers being liberated from a Nazi labor camp by the American Allies on Easter Sunday. My mother remembers being in class when the news that JFK had been assassinated filtered through her high school. I remember watching the Challenger explode when I was in middle school. And I remember hearing that a plane had run into the World Trade Center five years ago and thinking ~ what a terrible accident. And then hearing that a second one had struck and thinking ~ this is no accident, this is a terrorist attack.

I watched in horror as Tower Two collapsed. I sat glued to the television that night, watching every news show. In shock that yet another plane had slammed into the Pentagon no more than a five minute drive from my house and a fourth’s destructive path had been thwarted by its doomed but brave passengers. My feelings of grief for the families, fear for the souls of those not ready to go, shock at the audacity and the sheer magnitude of what had happened, anger at the terrorists and the religion that spawned them, and pride in the bravery, tenacity and will power of the troops, the president and my fellow Americans who banded together in grief and found hope amidst the pain and destruction.

Five years later, the memory that day is still as surreal as the day itself. Some say that true forgiveness lies in forgetting the wound. And I would agree that that is something to strive for in our personal relationships. But a nation cannot afford to forget. It is responsible for the safety of her citizens. And to forget ~ to pretend that it did not happen or to try to assign blame as to who knew what and when is to gift wrap victory to the enemy. And to disrespect the memory of those who lost their lives that day.

Remember…grieve…forgive. But remain vigilant.

Requiescat in pace.

Oremus pro invicem,

06 September 2006

Drop of Rain, Drop of Ink

The gathering in of the clouds with the last rush and dying breath of the wind, and then the regular dripping of twigs and leaves the country over, the impression of inward comfort…
~ Henry David Thoreau

It has been raining since Friday. Some days, a torrential downpour, its intensity scrubbing everything and everyone clean. Others, a playful light rain that places random, baby kisses on your face and then dances away. I like both kinds ~ the kettle drum and the violin. The sound of it as it pounds at the roof is thrilling. The peaceful tap-tap as it caresses the windows is soothing.

I was sitting at my desk, with the window open, the rain playing a sweet melody on the leaves of the oaks and maples, when I became aware of it. A light breeze that smelled like a memory: wet leaves, corn husks and hay. And pumpkins. The sensation was gone in an instant, but my senses were piqued. I had smelled autumn.

Each of the four seasons has a special place in my heart and my senses. Spring is hopeful, bringing color and new life to the spirit and to the ground; Summer is open, her laid back weather perfect for sweet tea and evenings on the porch with family and friends; but Autumn and Winter. Ah ~ they are extra special. Autumn is magical and full of promise and Winter is intimate and giving and mysterious.

I tucked my feet up under me and wrapped a light shawl around my shoulders as a delightful shiver ran through me. Definitely autumn in the air. It being Virginia, the weather is a bit of a tease and I am sure we will see an Indian Summer into October. For now, I would enjoy the moment, this first breath of fall. I took a sip of my tea, its warm, milky sweetness a foretaste of my favorite season.

In the past I have said that anywhere is a good place to write or compose or dream. But I think I said that when I was under the influence of a city summer. Oh no, my dears. Anywhere is a good place to write or dream, but autumn in the rain is the best place.

Oremus pro invicem,