Lotus 2010

September 26, 2010

This year’s Lotus Fest was a special treat: Not only did my sister come down for the festivities, but she brought her two daughters, too. We had a blast.

I could write for hours about our whole weekend together, but I want to focus more on the acts we saw. We kicked it off Friday with Barbara Fortuna at the First Presbyterian Church. They are a four-man a cappella group from Corsica singing Serious Music. Their voices were perfectly suited for the setting. Gorgeous and rich. They huddled close together, almost shutting the audience out entirely with an almost circular formation.

The Main Guy (I couldn’t tell what part he was singing) had his hand on the shoulder of the guy next to him, and occasionally would lift that hand and make this sort of shaking motion. I thought it was kind of cool but it drove my sister nuts. She found it pretentious.

As good as they were, we left after three songs. To my sympathetic dismay, the bass singer could not nail his line down. He consistently floated sharp. So there we were with this rich, transportive sound, and one voice kept marring it. It was painful. Was it jet lag? Just an off night? I’m not sure. But it was enough to drive us off.

And on we went, into the arms of Chicha Libre! They were billed as Peruvian surf cumbia, but I didn’t hear any surf influence at all. I just heard what sounded like the thousands of songs my sister has played for me on Mexican radio stations over the last 10 years. Which I can’t stand. So disappointing. We stayed for three songs or so until I couldn’t take it any more, then headed over to the tent by the Waldron where Nation Beat was up.

Nation Beat is “Brazil maracatu meets Americana.” How in the world does anyone write about music? Words can’t convey sound. Or at least, I’ve not seen a successful instance of it.

Anyway, Nation Beat had a great lead singer with huge hair sporting a lime green flower. The music was more danceable than Chicha Libre. The teenagers were kicking it off down by the front of the stage. It was still early in the night and it didn’t seem like many people were around, so the energy of the band was higher than the energy of the crowd. We left in search of food after 20 minutes or so.

Food took longer than I’d expected (my nieces are the pickiest eaters on the planet), but we finally got back on track over at the Buskirk-Chumley with Cimarrón, billed as “muscular” music from the plains of Colombia.

We entered on a song where the lead singer was a woman. I believe it was a slow song. I wasn’t blown away by her voice but the sound was decent. She left the stage after her piece and the band kicked into some “muscular” music indeed. They had that great Gipsy Kings sound where the guitars are treated almost as rhythm instruments. Great harmonies, interesting rhythms. Plus the most gorgeous front man we’d seen. My 13-year-old niece was swooning. Hell, I was swooning. It was hard to leave that one!

On we went to the surprise hit of the festival: Red Baraat, an “Indian bhangra brass band.” By now the festival had heated up and the tent was filled with dancing people. The band was fantastic — very high energy with a great set list. Their music had lots of changes in tempo, which made it highly danceable. You’d go from a moderate “I’m writhing” move into a “get down” funk groove” to a punk “go nuts” melee all in one tune. The lead singer was on a drum (can’t remember the name of it) and did a phenomenal job of interacting with the audience and grooving with the beat. We had a blast.

During the second break we went over to the arts village to hang out with my friend Jeanne, who was managing the area. My sister took the opportunity to set down while my nieces and I added to the street art. I added a pink ankh, niece #2 added a flower, and niece #1 added a cow. Go figure.

This break became yet another search for food, this time to Greek’s for their pizza by the slice, which was just outstanding. We were revving up for the primo act of the festival, Funkadesi. But first! We went by Moscow Nights over at the First Presbyterian. I really wish we could’ve stayed longer. My sister and the girls were jonesin’ to see Funkadesi and we entered Moscow Nights just as they decided to do a teach-in on the different instruments. I would’ve been much more interested in just hearing them play. We’d heard a few tunes out in the hallway while we waited to get in and they sounded fantastic. Great traditional Russian music played on three instruments, including my beloved balalaika.

So after not-enough-time, we finally ran back to the Lifecycle tent (by Monroe Bank) and entered the world of love that is Funkadesi. It’s been several years since they’ve been to the festival and they were very welcome! I think they were playing some reggae tune when we entered, much to my dismay, since I can’t dance to reggae to save my life. It’s too mellow. I’m just not that cool.

But they soon went on to their mixed repertoire of funk, Afro-pop, reggae, and Indian influences. Their female lead singer is so talented—and this time we got to hear her rap! It was great. We lamented that she was wearing a headscarf, because she has beautiful long black hair. And then the male lead singer is like some shining beacon of pure love. He’s great! It was a real pleasure to rock out with them.

One of the things that I noticed about several of the bands over the weekend was their focus on “peace—love—unity!” I kept thinking it’s something we should incorporate into Kaia shows.

Saturday we stumbled to the Farmers Market for kettle corn and a poesy for my sister (who treacherously chose to sleep in while the rest of us wandered around bleary-eyed). We went back to fetch her and hit Runcible Spoon for a yummy brekkie. Then it was down to Third Street Park for Lotus in the Park, an event my business sponsors each year.

First up was Hudsucker Posse, the only local act playing at Lotus this year. I was disappointed in their show. I’d seen them at the Fourth of July parade and thought they were tighter and more high energy. They consist of a three-piece ensemble and numerous hoola hoop dancers. After a while it became impossible to see because so many people were wandering in front of us. So we went over to the tent where niece #1 made a noisemaker.

Both nieces said they wanted to try hula hooping but they chickened out. Who knows if they will regret it in years to come! Regardless, our next stop was the Oreka TX workshop at the IU Global Pavilion tent. Their set-up was wooden boards set on a flat surface. They then used mallets to bang on the boards to create this great percussive sound. But the twist is that there are two players on the same board, and all the music is improvised. It was fascinating. The players were great musicians. I couldn’t tell that the music was improvised because it was so tight. Really great stuff.

We weren’t interested in the other acts so we spent the afternoon resting, shopping, and doing a quick tour of the IU campus, where my sister and I confessed our dreadful college stories.

Then it was on to night #2. We didn’t have anyone we wanted especially to see that night except Red Baraat, so we knew it would be a low-key night of wandering around. We started with Crooked Still at the Lifecycle tent, who were supposed to be playing old-time music. None of us cared for it very much. We stayed for the requisite three songs and moved on. To…I cant remember. None of the bands I’m looking at on the schedule next to me here looks familiar.

So! I do recall that we took part in the parade. Or rather, niece #1 and I did. My sis and my other niece were knackered by that time and decided to sit it out. We saw a fire eater and a magician in the street, accompanied by a boy (about 10 years old) who was doing a surprisingly competent job of drumming along. (Other street performances included drummers by the Athena store, Dark Side Tribal doing belly dance in front of the Bus-Chum, an accordion player wearing a formal dress and a mask, a punk band inside the skateboard shop Rise, and a troupe of dancers who acted out Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. Classic Lotus.)

After much standing about in confusion, Red Baraat showed up and off we went. I shouldn’t have gone. I was in tremendous pain already from so much time on my feet, and a slow walk for 87 blocks just made it worse. Niece #1 was formidable, however, whenever we decided we’d fallen too far behind Red Baraat. She’s tall and built like a football player. She’d go first and clear the way while I’d slip in after her. It was fun.

I believe we once again went for food, so were late heading into the second set of the night. We passed by the tent at the courthouse where Emeline Michel was singing Haitian songs (not our cup of tea) and headed over to the First United Methodist Church for Mariam Martossian singing Armenian folk songs.

She had an outstanding voice. As Jane put it, a cross between Amy and Ardas. The ability to stay right in the center of the pitch matched with a sweet brightness that fit perfectly. The songs were beautiful. Her stage show, however, could use a little work. Her intros were very long and overly dramatic, with long pauses while her band just stared at the floor. She spent most of her time singing with her eyes closed, which left me feeling cut off from her. She did have extremely sparkly bracelets on, which was a major plus for me. 😉

Niece #2 signalled us to leave but then could offer no explanation why. I would’ve been happy to sit (sit! blessed word!) around a while longer, but off we went to the Lifecycle tent yet again for the Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars. They did indeed play a “reggae African mix.” I was so disappointed not to like them.

The band members really are refugees from Sierra Leone. They met in a refugee camp and began playing music there. They’d been forced to do terrible things in the war, the worst of which was being forced to kill their families. From those horrors came the call for peace, love, and unity.

Unfortunately, as mentioned above, I can’t dance to reggae. And I detest Afro-pop. The songs just go on for way too long and are way too repetitive for my taste. I tried to like them, I really did, but after our three songs (which felt like an hour), we decided to leave. Their stage show had been high energy but there were some dance moves going on up there that struck this non-prude as just plain vulgar. “The Dancing Butt” is how it shall forever be remembered in my mind.

We had the second break to get through, and then went back to the Lifecycle tent (I swear, we spent the whole festival there) to hear Red Baraat. What a show! My sister and the girls lasted about 3 or 4 songs before needing to set down. I stayed on the floor and danced my tail off. The sound was tremendous—very percussive and in your face. It was loud enough to deafen anyone within a five-mile radius. I kept checking my cell phone to see if my sister was ringing me off the floor, but it was clear sailing. I was in terrible pain but determined to have a great time. And so I did!

We wrapped up the night with a trip to Taco Hell and then my sis and I stayed up late talking. We could have gone to the World Spirit Concert on Sunday, but everyone agreed we’d had enough. We all just wanted to laze around.

Kaia had rehearsal Sunday afternoon, so I brought my posse along for the ride. It’s the closest they’ll get to seeing us perform (we’re running sets in prep for our People’s Park gig Tuesday), so all they had to do was stay awake. Which proved to be a challenge for them, but they made it through. We then sat around and swapped stories about Lotus, where I regretted our not making it over to hear more of Cimarrón and a little of The India Enterprise (Indian classical music).

Sunday night and Monday were “quality time with the couch” days as I tried  to recover. I greatly enjoyed the 17th annual Lotus Festival and look forward to #18. Sis is already talking about bringing the girls again, this time with friends in tow. We’ll see!

(I was going to go back through and add links to all these band names, but am too lazy. Google them if you want to find out more. :-))

Lotus 2009

October 7, 2009

I’ve been oddly reluctant to blog about Lotus, maybe because it’s such a whirligig of brightly colored memories in my head, but here goes.

Our debut show was a 45-minute set starting at 8pm. What a long day Friday was! After the excitement of the night before (see previous post), I made sure I got plenty of downtime on Friday and rested my voice.

This was a challenge to do, since we had soundcheck at 2. Or 3. Or 4. It went on for a long time. I think they may have gotten started late and Cara Dillon’s gang wasn’t getting quite the sound they wanted.

Since Lara had brilliantly had us working with our Sound Guy Chip for weeks beforehand, we had little trouble when it came our turn. Kaia is a very difficult group to mic because there are so many of us and we don’t stay on the same mic. So you can’t just designate one mic as “the low mic” for someone singing in the basement; the Sound Guy has to adjust each mic depending on the song. Chip had a diagram for every piece in our show and studied photos of us so he’d know exactly who needed what!

We did a quick cue-to-cue, which is where we move to each place in the set, start that piece, then jump to the end of the piece. It can look pretty funny because the singers are dashing back for percussion, pretending to sing on the mic, and then running to put the percussion back. All while we switch around to different mics. Kind of like musical chairs. But cue-to-cues help build muscle memory so transitions are “smooth and fluid.”

I came home and rested, then did a quick warm-up before it was time to go back. Actually, I spent most of my time double-checking what I was going to wear and putting on more and more hairspray! The weather was dreary, misty, rainy. Perfect English weather (where’s a good chippie??) but not so good for an outdoor festival.

Anyway, I wasn’t as nervous as I expected to be. I attribute that mostly to the meds I’m on! But it also helped that we were as prepared as we could be & that I’d spent the whole week working out my personal demons so I’d be ready to perform.

I arrived early at the venue and found some of the Kaiasistahs already there, putting on make-up and chatting. We passed around body glitter and kept the tone light.

We had just enough time to do some quick warm-ups, then Jane led us in the “golden thread” meditation that we do before all our important shows and when we need to tune in to each other. The golden thread comes up from the earth and rises through us, connecting us via our hearts and ears. We open our eyes and look into the eyes of each sistah, finding the golden thread there. Then we dashed the hell out of the room!

Quick setup of our percussion and waters, then out into the house. I was in the center aisle, waiting for Lara. I remember seeing her leaning against a doorjamb while Mike The Stage Manager read thru the sponsor list and such. It was great to have her come to me and get her pitch—I just felt like we were in command of a terrific situation and were going to sing our hearts out. I gave the pitch, her strong voice rang out with “Soooooo glad I’m here!”, and we were off!

From before that first note, we were connected to the audience. They were live that night—absolutely hot. The kind of audience every musician dreams of. When we all joined in with Lara’s voice, we all went to the next level.

The 45-minute set went by in a blur, but there are little flashes that stand out for me. One was noticing that people were coming in and not leaving! Another was Malcolm Abrams (of Bloom Magazine fame). He’s a big fan and he & his wife sat near the center of the church on the aisle. Whenever I needed a touchstone with the audience, I just looked at him.

I have no idea if we made any flubs that night—I know nothing major came up–but I do know that we were in a love affair with the audience. Amy says that, during Arise, three separate women in the audience stood up in response to the repeated call, “Arise!”

Of course the major thing that stood out for me was the audience response to Not One More Day, the song I wrote during the Bush-Cheney administration about the Iraq war. People called out in response to particular lines. They started to clap along but stopped so they could hear the lyrics. And at the end, we got a partial standing ovation. It was a deeply gratifying experience. I felt like a true artist.

Oddly enough, now that I think about it, we did not get a full standing ovation on Friday night. I think. I can’t quite remember. But it was a love-fest. A luuurve-fest. And I want more!

After the show I ran by the art pavilion, which was drenched in the pouring rain. My friend Jeanne was volunteering and I spent my last hit points on her, as we went upstairs and talked art. After a while I simply had to go home and rest. Plus I felt slightly ill from the pizza I’d eaten. 🙂

Saturday afternoon
We met under a tree at Third Street Park on Saturday to prep for our workshop. We were sans Tristra, who was home resting her (very) pregnant self.

We did a quick warm-up and then got to talk a bit with the “shaman” of the stiltwalking performers. Talk about brilliant make-up and costumes! They were gorgeous! And the woman we chatted with was very nice indeed.

Went out to do our workshop and found that the setup was different from what we expected, but hey!, this is live performance, so you adapt and move on. The workshop started with an abbreviated version of So Glad I’m Here. Then I did some blah-blah on what shapes world music and how to get more from the Lotus experience with supa-secret knowledge.

Then we opened it up with more singing. Some of it was just us, but most of it included audience participation. That was really lovely. We had great weather under this sunny blue sky (which we’d weather-witched beforehand, of course!) and everyone in the tent was singing lustily, as They Say. It went by in another 45-minute flash. Then I ran out of there and came home! I slept from the time I walked in to the time I had to put make-up on. The drink that refreshes!

Saturday night
Saturday night was a more worrisome set because it was longer, we had a success under our belt (I didn’t want us too cocky), and I thought some of the sistahs were tired.

I put on more hairspray Saturday night because our beautiful day had been replaced with flat-out rain. We shared body glitter again and a very quick Golden Thread before scooting out to set up.

Oh! I should mention the Kaia cheer! We have done this before every performance (save one where we forgot and of course performed badly ;-)). We put one hand in the center of the circle and yell, “Gooooooo, Kaia!” while raising our arm over our heads. It is an elaborate ritual. Passed down through generations.

Anyway! Saturday night’s audience was different from the outset. I’ve noticed before that Friday night audiences tend to be more live than Saturday’s. I chalk this up to the fact that everyone’s been running around all day Saturday, out of their workaday routine, and they’re ready for a little rest once they get to the show. Add to that the fact that our audience was sodden from the rain and you understand why the energy was down.

However! We still built a good rapport and performed a great set. We didn’t get the outward level of excitement that we got on Friday night, but we did have a good lovin’ vibe going with our wet friends. Amy says she was aware of more flubs on Saturday, but nothing major. I, of course, am kicking myself for not getting a recording of the set from either night so I can hear audience response.

Oh! I forgot—Saturday I arrived early to try to catch the toy piano virtuoso but couldn’t get in, so I ran over and caught 4 tunes by Cara Dillon (lovely voice, lovely lovely lovely). One of my clear memories from Friday night is of Cara and Angela swapping parenting stories backstage.

After the show
I was determined to see some other acts after our show, so the night became a marathon. Amy and I decided to hang out, so we ran to my car to drop my Pointy Goth Boots off. Then on to That One Guy, whose instrument and musicianship is—well, it’s very hard to describe. It’s a must-see show because it will blow your mind.

We bopped up to the hospitality suite for some water and homemade cookies. Lara showed up with Dena from Salaam and we chatted while Lara got a caffeine fix.

Then we were off and running again, trying to catch up with Jenny. I steered us to the wrong tent, which meant we got to hear a band from Argentina (???) for five minutes before I realized my mistake.

We slogged through the rain towards our True Destination and basked in the love we kept receiving from people who’d seen our show and kept giving us shout-outs. We finally arrived to hear the EE Marching Band (name?? help??) do a scorching version of St James Infirmary Blues. There was hardly anyone in the tent, which just meant we had that much more room to dance! It was getting late and I was losing steam, but kept going, determined to make it to the after-party.

The doldrums
There was this space of time that was interminably long: picking up our remaining CDs and cashing out. I ended up by myself for almost an hour, standing around and waiting for one thing or another. They only had one person doing cash-out and it was all done by hand (!), which seemed to take far longer than it needed to. During that time I got very tired and also started to get a little spacey from being up so late and past The Hour Of Taking Meds.

The high point of standing in the rain waiting around was the drum jam that was going on across the street. Soon a guy came over to my side of the street and checked out some big blue steel drums (like barrels that you’d keep crude oil in). He practiced slamming the tops and sides. Before I knew it, a whole other group of people was on my side of the street, using the drums and trash cans as a mini-version of Stomp. It was cool.

I must also give a shout-out to Mike Redman, who came over and talked to me for a while before shooting some incriminating photographs.

Eventually I had our fabulous check in my hot little hands and struggled with the merch back to my car. As Fate would have it, cell phones were totally on  the blink, so I couldn’t connect with Amy or Lara via voice or text. As far as I knew, they’d hit the party and were back home! It was a frustrating experience.

The after-party
One of the best things about Lotus was being treated like a rock star. We each had a yellow tag with the glorious words “Artist: All Access” (cue angelic music).

The best experience of this was showing up at Tall Steve’s for the after-party. There was a whole gaggle of people outside the door, waiting/trying to get in. (I ran into Mike Price and discovered yet another factor that contributes to his charisma, but I shall keep that secret for now!) I just walked up to the doorman and flashed my pass. “Go right in,” he said. Open sesame! I’m lovin’ this!

The place was packed and loud, of course—not my favorite scene. But I was still on the hunt for Lara and Amy and determined to milk the Lotus experience. I wish I’d gotten some food and drink, but foolishly didn’t.

I ended up at the top of some stairs, sitting with Tall Steve and Amy Roche. This ended up being the “coolest” spot in the house (if one cares about such things), since everyone was going up to the roof or coming down and everyone wanted to talk with Steve. My sister went a little drooly when I told her that I was setting there while one of the guys from Los de Abajo was talking to Steve.

After some time Amy and Lara miraculously arrived and we were reunited. Amy Roche wanted to get a singing jam going, so we wandered around in search of the best place. Everywhere we went was packed, and of course everyone had to talk to everyone else, so the “search” ended up as some sort of tribal initiation into the mysteries of Shangri-La.

We were joined by Lara’s fabulous friend Kate (Lara got her in by throwing her (Lara’s) pass down to Kate from the rooftop) and hung out on the roof, where a Celtic jam was going on. I was so cold that I started to lose the feeling in my jaw. Amy J saved the day by saying either we sing or she was going home. So our little party shuffled over to a corner of the roof and then stared dumbly at each other with no idea what to sing.

Lara and Amy Roche have sung together for years, so kicked back with some Sweet Honey tunes. The rest of us struggled along. We did some call and response stuff but I was so out of it that I simply couldn’t improv. AMy J once again called it and she and I wandered off into the night.

I then came home (3 am) and couldn’t sleep! It wasn’t until 6 that I finally nodded off.

World Spirit Concert
Sunday afternoon marks the closing of Lotus. The World Spirit Concert is three acts in 3 hours, all for free if you’re wearing an ALL ACCESS pass! I thought about wearing my Lotus pin (a gift from Amy J) but decided I wanted to flaunt my artist status one last time.

Holy crap, I can’t even remember who I saw. Shoot. They were from northeastern Canada and played traditional Accadian music. And they were awesome! I was in the lobby when I ran into Jane, so she and I were able to hang out together for the duration. There was a point in the show where I began crying, feeling so deeply the absence of my sister Paula, who should have been with me if circumstance had permitted.

After the show was over, Jane and I wandered down the street. I didn’t want Lotus to end. I wanted to savor every last detail. And I didn’t want to surrender my pass. Okay, that last bit is a joke. But I felt sad that my Lotus experience was over.

The thing that struck me overall about the experience is how normal it felt. We’ve done gigs in churches before. We’ve sold CDs. We’ve had people tell us they loved the show. This was all that, just on steroids. And I felt most fortunate to realize that, for 15 years, I had been on the other side of the rope, so to speak. But now, in the 16th year, I was the receiving the praise and a little bit of hera-worship. I loved it, but I love all performance.

I didn’t ogle the other artists and they didn’t ogle me. The praise I received was all within the bounds of good taste. The shows themselves were really good shows. It was all good! I’d expected to feel much more intimidated and a little lost.

I have to say that part of my successful experience was due to the Lotus volunteers, who are the real champs of the festival! Unbelievable.

So, assuming anyone’s still reading, I close this account of What Happened When. I haven’t devoted much space to reflection but I think that’s part of what this Lotus has meant to me—to keep my experiences a little close to the vest so that I can savor them when I want to.

Lotus nerves

September 11, 2009

Bwah. Bwah!! My chest feels like someone grabbed all of my major organs and twisted them around into a viciously tight spiral. Voof!

I’m thinking about Lotus almost constantly. Well, I sorta have to, in order to prep. But to this degree??

I’m most worried about my performance on Gazapkhuli, this phenomenally gorgeous piece from Georgia (the country, not the state). It only goes to an F# or so but I’m trying to do it very quietly. I just don’t have the chops for this stuff anymore! I practice it most days, trying to imagine just how nervous I’ll be when performing, in order to help prep myself for the inevitable shifts in my range that come when I’m nervous.

I put the piece near the top of the set both nights in order to get it over with quickly. We performed it at Emeriti House the other night (what a great time we had!!) and, wouldn’t you know it, my damn recorder’s batteries died. All I know is that I performed the song with my eyes closed most of the time. I have no idea if that helped. 🙂

Totally off-topic, I just finished watching season 4 of Monarch of the Glen, this BBC series from the “early oughts (aughts??),” as Gabe would say. The first season was daffily brilliant, with eccentric characters and goofy situations. Good, clean fun. Then it all went downhill as it progressively turned into a draaaaamaaaa.

Anyway, my point is that I now have Lexie’s voice in my head constantly, with her Glaswegian brogue. And no way to reproduce it. And this is totally irrelevant. Except that that’s the background music to my Lotus life.

Part of me wants to encourage this anxious obsession with all things Lotus so that I’ll make myself sick of it by the time everything rolls around. Then I can just approach it like any other gig. I’m not sure that’s the best strategy, however, since I don’t think wandering around with your chest twisted into a spiral is the best plan. I’ll just have to pull up my pantyhose and walk on through!

Lotus—it’s real!

August 20, 2009

Today Kaia got the official word from Lee Williams–we are singing at Lotus! We have a Friday night gig from 8 to 8:45. Saturday night is a long set from 8:45 to 10pm.

On Saturday we’ll also be giving a workshop on world music at Lotus in the Park. The workshop is an interactive exploration of what shapes world music and what to listen for at Lotus. That sounds really dry but it won’t be.

So I’m avoiding the important bit—how does all this make me feel? Excited. Terrified. And deeply grateful. This is something I’ve wanted since I went to the first Lotus, lo those many years ago. I wanted to be a part of it, to sing, to perform—even if it were on some street corner! And now my chance has come. Funny how this old world keeps spinning around.

My terror is that something will go Horribly Awry. Like we’ll make some massive mistake or series of mistakes. That we won’t be able to stick together. That we’ll be too tired to pull off the Saturday night set. That I’ll make massive mistakes and everyone will know. That no one will come. That everyone will come.  That we won’t be able to reach the audience. That…that…oh, I don’t know, that a meteor will hit. See how many things could go wrong???

The joyful part is imagining feeling confident and excited and really connecting with the audience, no matter what the circumstances. I love that give and take. Anyone who thinks an audience is passive just isn’t paying attention! The “audience” is just as important as the “artists” in creating the overall experience. Lotus audiences are generous and loving. They’re having such a good time that they can’t help themselves!

I remember when my sister came to Lotus and observed, “This is what community is supposed to be like.” And I’ve always felt that there is no bad at Lotus—only good. I can only hope that we give back as much as we’ve taken over the years, so that we can be a wonderful part of that tapestry.

In the meantime, I’ve got some memorizing to do! 🙂


July 12, 2009

…so anxious I wait.”

That was the opening line from a bad poem I wrote in high school but it describes where I am now. Got a message from Lee Williams this week saying he may let me know as early as next week whether Kaia will be invited to sing at Lotus. We’ve been waiting for The Werd for almost a year, focusing all our rehearsals around the possibility, and it’s finally coming down to the wire.

I worked some more on the recording of Redbird and sent it off to Kevin for his approval. As soon as I get it, I’ll post it here for free. I’m anxious to get the recording complete and to be able to share it!

Tension is also the watchword (though to a lesser degree) for my pending callback audition for Cardinal Stage Company‘s production of The Sound of Music. I’ve been working with Janiece to prep and did some “research” last week by watching the movie and noting all the things I would do differently. 🙂 But really, there’s no substitute for Julie Andrews, is there? The most daunting challenge facing anyone playing the role is that most people have never seen or heard a different Maria. There is only “one way” to play the role and that is the way owned by Andrews. Sheesh. No pressure.

Hopefully next week will see some of this tense waiting resolved. I feel like I’m ready to explode out of the starting blocks but I’d settle for just knowing one way or the other.

Vocal workshops

November 22, 2008

1990s-present. Wide variety of vocal workshops, including those offered through the Lotus World Music Festival (Moira SmileyTim EriksenAsia Pacific Performers Exchange, etc) and the National Women’s Music Festival (Kay Gardner, Margot Adler, Ysaye M. Barnwell). In 2005, I attended a lovely women’s retreat/singing workshop with Sue and Marytha of Libana, with a follow-up Balkan singing workshop they created specifically for Kaia.

I always take a handheld digital recorder with me to workshops to capture cool songs, teaching tips, or ideas that come to me mid-stream. Workshops are a fantastic way to learn a large number of songs in a low-pressure environment. For me, they inevitably lead to hours of Web surfing (especially YouTube and Wikipedia) to find out ever more about the topic.