Democratic Women’s Caucus gig

March 29, 2009

Just got back from the Kaia gig at the Democratic Women’s Caucus and am still flying high. We performed Not One More Day and got our first full standing ovation! It stopped the show!

Angela called it a “timeless anthem” and said we’ve got to get it on record somehow. I agree! I’ve been thinking lately that that and some of our other post-Get Down, Rise Up! material really needs to get video’d so we can put it on YouTube. We hope to use her camera and get something put together in the next couple weeks.

That song is a non-stop combination of punches to the gut. People are so moved by it but then can’t clap along for fear they’ll miss the next set of lyrics. There’s virtually no dead space musically or lyrically — it just keeps going!

The tune is based on a spiritual that comes from that treasure trove of the civil rights songs, Voices Of The Civil Rights Movement. The lyrics are all mine. I remember having many combinations of lyrics and just working and working until they seem distilled to their essence. The words are my truth. They come straight from my heart. They are what I think and what I believe.

(I also can’t help but think of the Doonesbury cartoon I carried around with the draft lyric sheet. It showed two characters discussing the toxic Bush legacy. Not One More Day hits on almost every topic.)

It is so hard to believe that the Bush presidency even happened. So much has changed so quickly. President Obama has been moving like a chipmunk on speed to turn things around on all fronts. He listens and changes strategy based on what he hears so he can be more successful. It’s 180 degrees from the Bush arrogance and single-minded drumbeat of terror, terror, terror. 

There may come a time when Not One More Day isn’t needed anymore. For me, it’s inextricably linked with the Bush presidency, even though it deals with much larger themes. It speaks to who we are as America, and who we want to be.

I think that’s what people respond to — not just the critique of the war, but of the clear message that “we are better than this.” We want to be better. We want to be called to be better. Bush failed utterly in that regard. Obama has made great strides in the big picture (“Yes, we can”) but it remains to be seen if he’ll make this song obsolete.

I’m still trembling slightly from all the excitement and the feeling of all that energy rushing from the crowd to us at the end of the song. I wish there were some way to thank every person for hearing and responding. Dear Lois Sabo-Skelton just came right up at the end of the show and gave me a huge hug — bless her! It’s a way of closing the loop, of not just acknowledging applause and praise but of giving it back and saying thank you.

I wish I could have stayed late and hobnobbed with the crowd afterwards. They are incredible people — on their own merit in addition to their achievements — and it’s an honor to be invited to share that common ground that music creates. Thank you, Democratic Women’s Caucus!

Not One More Day lyrics

March 29, 2009


By Cairril Adaire
© 2008

Oh, freedom (2x)
Oh, freedom from bein’ ignored
We don’t want no more
Of this endless, pointless war
Not one more dollar
Not one more death
Not one more day

No more sufferin’
No more killin’
No more pain in my name (in my name)
Can you look me in the eye
And say all those people deserve to die
Not one more dollar
Not one more death
Not one more day

No more sendin’ our poor
To fight a rich man’s war
No more blood, blood for oil (no more blood for oil)
I’d rather be poor
Than see my country fight this war
Not one more dollar
Not one more death
Not one more day

No more spyin’
No more lyin’
No more secrets
No more shame (we are better than this)
We take to the streets and say
We are standing in your way
Not one more dollar
Not one more death
Not one more day

Not one more dollar
Not one more day
Not one cent of my money
Spent in this wicked way
Not one more death
Not one more death
Not one more of our children
Not one more of theirs

No more torture
We’re forced to pay for
No more torture
In my name (we are better than this)
I still believe
In the land of liberty
Not one more dollar
Not one more death
Not one more day


March 16, 2009

Today I noticed that someone had tagged my front fence with bright red paint. It was like fresh blood, blindingly contrasting with the white of my PVC. I had that familiar sick feeling in my stomach as I wondered how long it had been there. No more than two days, surely. But while easily visible from the street, it’s not easy to see from the house.

I scrubbed off the paint using special graffiti remover, all the time thinking furiously about how much I’ve put into my house and wondering why the hell so many idiots keep vandalizing it. Someone breaks or tags the fence about every other month or so. It’s not the same people—just drunk idiots.

I always think of the warding and blessing Don and I did of the house in February after I moved in. It was so cold! We had to keep going back into the house to thaw before we could finish outside. But we were determined to walk the perimeter and declare the boundaries to the Elements, creating a safety barrier.

I think of how my nightmares have changed. Growing up, it was usually nuclear war or monsters. Later it was men, bad men, who were inexorably gaining ground on me no matter what I did. Then it became small gangs of people who were trying to break down the door of my apartment. Now it’s throngs of people who tear up all my beautiful trees and rape the good green earth around my house. 

Every morning I wake up and am loathe to look outside. I do a visual sweep of the fence to see what damage has been done. Most mornings there’s none. But every morning I visualize it.

Oberon Ravenheart is putting together a compendium of “Wizards of the World” through the ages. As a previously prominent Witch, he invited me to submit a bio. I sent it in yesterday. It was pathetically brief, and focused on activities from the ’90s. 

I have been told I’m a powerful Witch. I know that I go places many people are too reserved or too afraid to tread. Perhaps they find that powerful. I just follow the thread down to wherever it starts.

With all that “power,” you’d think some kick-ass warding spells would work. You’d think there’d be some way to keep me safe, to protect my land, and to banish these dismal dreams. 

I’ve been promising myself that I’ll do another warding now that the fence and gate are completed. But logically I know that I will continue to have people cross my boundaries. I have fantasies of violence against them, but I know that violence only begets more violence. They see my fence as a threat for some reason, as if I’m spitting in their eyes simply by existing.

What I need to come to terms with is the nature of magic and its limits. Oberon has the best definition of magic that I’ve heard: “probability enhancement.” I can enhance the probability of safety but I cannot be 100% safe. There are too many threads in the tapestry of life for that. Too many people able to make too many choices. 

It’s like in New York in’04 when I was between the police and the protesters, directing the energy of both sides down into the Earth. The longer it went on, the more difficult it became, partly because there were so many people choosing to get increasingly agitated. I Called on every ancestor I could think of to lend me strength, but in the end I was losing my hold when a new protest was announced in another area of the city and everyone dispersed. I could not have held all those threads indefinitely; I was already slipping.

Feeling safe is one of my deepest cravings. Of course my life is the exact opposite of that. Perhaps I have so many hard edges because I’ve knocked up against brick walls too many times. I wish I had the magic to create true safety for myself. Instead I need to live in this world, in this time, and learn to create a larger safe haven within my self. Let them break the fence—just don’t let them break me.

Kaia’s CD Release Party

March 8, 2009

It seems several years ago, but it was only a week ago that Kaia held our CD Release/Rent Party for Get Down, Rise Up!. We were at the Waldron Auditorium, one of our favorite spaces.

We’d decided, after the grueling and (literally) almost killing pace of last year’s show, that this year we’d do something different. And so we did!

To start with, it was an acoustic show, so there was no big hairy deal, messing with mics and monitors. The flipside is that we had a tendency to over-sing a bit and to push tempo.

We sang two short sets  of music, liberally sprinkled the show with small ensembles and audience sing-alongs, and spent the rest of the time talking and having fun.

The best part for everyone was probably the community art project we did with Joe LaMantia. Everyone had 5′-long ribbons to write a message of hope on. We then tied the ribbons to strings hanging down from a structure suspended over the stage. It was heartwarming to see everyone take it so seriously, and the finished piece was practically glowing with magical energy. The process truly helped bring us all together.

The audience was smaller than I wanted, but as usual I set the seating to make it look as much as possible like a full house. We had about 80 people. It didn’t help that it was ArtsWeek and there were five million other things going on, or that we didn’t have the benefit of BAAC promotions this year, or that everyone in town seemed to be ill!

But for all that, people had a great time. The goodwill was overflowing and the smiles were glowing. It was similar to the effect we achieved with the céilidhs, but not to their degree. It was deeply satisfying to create an event that people enjoyed so deeply and felt so moved by. Plus we raised nearly $500 for Rhino’s, our landlords!

When is it enough?

March 1, 2009

Kevin and I finally made a recording of “Redbird” (AKA “Deadbird”). Actually, we made four recordings, the third of which I immediately thought might be “it.”

He sent me a copy a week or so ago and I’ve been listening to it. This is a mistake. The more you listen, the more imperfections you hear. I’m now at the point where I’d like to record it again but it’s really up to him, since he’s managing it all as a favor to me. 

I keep remembering my recording session with Sam Lowry, where he was reluctant to re-record any of my lines. His belief was that recordings should carry a little of the imperfections of live performance. You obviously don’t want to include clinkers, but a little waver here and there adds texture and personality. Otherwise you run the risk of sounding like the Robert Shaw Chorale.

I get that on an intellectual level, but what happens if (gasp) people think I can’t do any better than what’s on the recording? What if they think that I can’t hear what’s not perfect? When is enough enough?

I have no answers. Just a song that I love and that I want to share with people who might actually care.