The king’s highway

December 18, 2010

This is too fun not to post:

In about 1200 King John proposed building a hunting lodge near the city of Nottingham. The residents of Gotham [not the denizens of Batman’s domain] realized the implications of this—he would pass through the village on the way to his lodge, making it a king’s highway and thus making them liable to new taxes.

So what did they do? The entire village pretended to be mad. It is said that the villagers built a fence around a cuckoo bush to prevent the cuckoo escaping, tried to drown an eel, set about pulling the moon out of a pond with a rake and rolled cheeses down a hill to make them round. Since madness was considered contagious the idea of a whole village of lunatics was perfectly feasible, and apparently the ploy worked.

~Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives

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Vow may be happening

December 18, 2010

I’ve been corresponding with the fabulous Toby Strout of Middleway House and she has a vision for two concerts in October called “Voices Against Violence.” All the usual suspects would be performing, including Kaia (yay yay yay).

The exciting news is that we may be able to do Vow. I need to get a demo recording made (I’m waiting to hear back from Kevin and Lara on the use of their studio). I’m dithering whether to make it an “experienced singers only” group or an open call for any women. The latter would be more powerful but presents more scheduling and space challenges.

I’m so excited. I think about it all the time, especially at night when visions of Vow-plum fairies dance in my head. The bummer is that it’s too late to get funding, so I’d have to pay out of my own pocket for all the rehearsal expenses and such, unless Toby can help me find some angels to help.

Oh, I hope it comes off! It would be a wonderful gift to the community. The first step is to get that demo made, so Toby can give it the thumbs-up or thumbs-down. I am so impatient! 🙂


A vision for Vow

December 4, 2010

Back in 1997 or ’98 I was driving home from a concert by the Indianapolis Women’s Chorus. The theme had been “silliness,” so I was still in good spirits as I recalled different tunes from the show.

“When suddenly…” this song was suddenly there. Like in Amadeus where Salieri said it was as if Mozart were taking dictation from God. Not that God had anything to do with it, since I don’t believe in the guy, but my POINT is that suddenly there was a song in my brain and heart that hadn’t been there before.

The piece was built around a central chorus: “I hold this body holy/I hold this body sacred/I hold this body inviolate/I reject your violence, your hatred, your story.” It was a piece about domestic violence and I felt the passion rise in my being as more of the song unveiled itself to me: “This is gonna stop, I take this vow:/I swear by the Earth and all I hold dear,/I will not stand by and watch this slaughter/I will intervene, I’ll stand in your way,/You will not strike your sistah, your wife, your daughter.”

This was like no domestic violence piece I’d heard before or since. It crackled with passion and rage. Not like some lily-livered singer-songwriter lament that just seems to say “it’s too bad men beat women but <sigh> that’s the way it is.”

I worked on the song for some time. The sections with “Hey, hey hey hey” were actually inspired by some John Mellencamp work.

I first sang the piece for my soul-sister Cam while she was on a creative retreat. She was in awe of the piece but rightly pointed out that the Mellencamp influence was out of keeping with the rest of the song. 🙂 I worked on it more until it was ready to be born.

The piece has been performed by the Bloomington Feminist Chorus and by the Indianapolis Women’s Chorus. It’s on the IWC’s CD To Sing Is To Fly. (I have  to be honest, I don’t find the IWC version to be as kick-ass as the Bloomington version—it lacks the intensity of our version. But I loved that they did it.) The piece has received a standing ovation every time it’s been done. I can barely take credit for it. It’s a transformational piece, both to hear and to perform. It’s explosive.

Since those days I have long wanted to form a community choir and do the piece as part of a larger benefit for Middle Way House, our local women’s shelter and life transformer. It’s too good a song to have it mouldering away in my music cabinet. It really needs to be a choral piece—a lot of women singing it—so the intent is that much more powerful.

There are grants through the City that I could apply for in order to bring this to life, but I feel like I need a partner in crime. It’s too big to pull off by myself, plus I need someone else to organize that benefit!

Hurm…now that the vision has resurfaced I don’t know if I’ll be able to let it go. I have a few people in mind that I could contact. I wonder if now is the time to bring this to life.

I claim my life, my love, my rage!


Vow lyrics

December 4, 2010

Vow

© Cairril Adaire 1998

Broken Bruised Shattered And torn (You’re sorry)

Scarred Blistered Battered Unborn (Always sorry)

Incest Rape No more trust (You’re sorry)

You call it love You call it lust (Always sorry)

Terrorized Hypnotized Rooted to the spot (So sorry)

Eyes wide open Soul is cut (Always sorry)

Fear Nightmares Numbness Pain (So sorry)

Betrayal Violence Terror Flame

Our children are watching

Our children are watching

Our children are learning

Our children are dying

I try to make it better

I try to do it right

I try not to make you mad

I try to stop the fights

But what can I do when it’s too late

When the hands of love

Become the hands of hate

 

I heard on the news the other day

Yet another story ’bout a sistah blown away

I’m tellin’ you, the fire, it stops here

Listen to me, brothers, let’s make it very clear:

I hold this body holy

I hold this body sacred

I hold this body inviolate

I reject your violence, your hatred, your story!

Hey, hey hey hey

It stops here

Hey, hey hey hey

It stops today

Hey, hey hey hey

Your little game

Hey, hey hey hey

I won’t play

How long can this go on,

Father to son, we are broken,

Hey, we are broken

When will you face the truth,

Give up your abuse,

Broken, yes, you are broken

I’m tellin’ you today

I’m not gonna stay

In the place you’ve set for me

I’m stronger and I’m ready now

This is gonna stop, I take this vow:

I swear by the Earth and all I hold dear,

I will not stand by and watch this slaughter,

I will intervene, I’ll stand in your way,

You will not strike your sistah, your wife, your daughter

Hold this body holy

I hold this body sacred

I hold this body inviolate

I reject your violence, your hatred, your story!

Hey, hey hey hey

It stops here

Hey, hey hey hey

It stops today

Hey, hey hey hey

No more victims

Hey, hey hey hey

Because I say:

I hold this body holy

I hold this body sacred

I hold this body inviolate

I claim my life, my love, my rage!