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!

Céilidh line-ups

January 11, 2009







Céilidh 1996

Salaam:  Middle Eastern music

Vida:  Balkan and African music

Rhythm Quest:  world percussion

Windfall Dancers:  modern dance

Last Minute Productions:  audio theatre

Society for Creative Anachronism:  medieval dance
Bloomington Feminist Chorus:  world music

Wolodymyr Smishkewych:  early music

Bloomington Storytellers’ Guild members

Andrea Leed : hammer dulcimer

Katherine Wiley:  Scottish fiddling

Steve Volan:  interpretive poetry

Amandla Ugetsi:  African music

Nan Brooks:  storytelling

Alain Barker:  balafon and open jam guide

Jolet [Joe Lee]:  clowning

Cairril Adaire, Denise Travers, Hanna McDeavitt:  folk music 


Céilidh 1998
Vida:  Balkan and African music

Rhythm Quest:  world percussion

Windfall Dancers:  modern dance

Malcolm Dalglish & family:  hammer dulcimer & storytelling

Bloomington Feminist Chorus:  world music

Caravan Serai:  flamenco and belly dancing

Bloomington Storytellers’ Guild members

Angela Berzins, Janice Bagwell, Cairril Adaire, Rebecca Keith, Gerry Bayne:  world songs

No Boxes Workshop:  jazz

Tony Brewer:  spoken word

Chris Smith:  Celtic music

Tonia Matthew:  poetry

Alain Barker:  balafon and open jam guide

Terra:  world songs

The Ceilidhs

January 11, 2009






Ask anyone in the know about the céilidhs we held in 1996 and 1998 and they get a dreamy look in their eyes. 

The céilidhs are hard to categorize. They were based on “authentic” céilidhs I’d attended in Scotland. Our version was like a mini-Lotus, only focused entirely on local talent. The explanation we gave was “world music, poetry, dance, and storytelling.”

My role was organizer, producer, marketer, creative director, vocalist, and more. I participated in the collective planning/producing brain with the outstanding Daniel McDeavitt and Denise Travers. I believe Hanna McDeavitt helped produce the ’98 one.

The 1996 edition was focused on audience participation, so we saw a lot of artists breaking the fourth wall. Many of our acts performed in the audience space rather than onstage. 

In 1998, artists focused more on collaborating with each other, so we ended up with the Trifecta Of Bliss: Vida, Rhythm Quest, and Windfall Dancers all performing together.

All of the artists were outstanding. Planned to last about 3 hours, both céilidhs went overtime but the audience never left. After 4 hours in ’96 and 5 hours in ’97, people still hung out afterwards to soak in the bliss. Alain Barker ended both céilidhs by leading everybody in a group jam with instruments he brought and shared among the crowd.

Somewhere in the CATS vault is a recording of the 1998 céilidh. If you want a real treat, ring them at 812-349-3111 and request that they play it. After more than 10 years, it still holds up!

These “events” were sacred for me and remain dear to my heart. I will always feel bonded to Denise and Daniel for co-manifesting a night to remember.

The line-ups for 1996 and 1998