Sunday, August 21, 2011

Oh, Yeah!

By the by, new album out!
At the ever-amazing Elderly Instruments
And coming soon to the Old 97 Wrecords website.
And coming soon to Amazon.

...there is a bonus track. It's a secret!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

So To Speak

Well kids, I'm on the internet!

This kind of rambling is the stuff I would normally reserve for this very blog. But this time, it's on someone else's blog. If you want to know more about how I feel about MUSIC and FEMINISM and stuff, give it a look-see.

This online magazine, So To Speak, is pretty neat. It's really nice of them to do a long long email interview with me.

Here is the link:

Gratuitous picture of my life:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

So in reality the beautiful places I saw in the Republic of Georgia made me appreciate my beautiful home even more.

Below is the region of Svaneti, and the little little bumps on the ridge-line are "Tamar's Castles"--King Tamar was a big dang deal. Since the twelfth century. Tamar was head of a company of warrior women, and that company always rode at the front of the army. When enemies saw them coming, their hair unbound, shrieking, they took fright and ran. Our teacher Ketevan told me this while she was teaching us a song about Tamar. "You are the eye of the world. You are so beautiful--all we can say is that you are like the sun."

...She also told me "Don't sing with your nose! Stop that!"

The Gelati Monastery, at dusk. I wish you could see the swooping swallows in this picture.
This was the first monastery we stopped at, and nothing could have prepared me for the effect of the space. I didn't take any pictures inside--I was too overwhelmed, by the twilight, the incense, the candles, the arched ceiling, the frescoes, and the way the chants arched and grew and traveled in the room. It actually made me stumble as I walked in. I saw other women kneel and kiss the icons, and I understood perfectly why. I wanted to do the same.

It was a place of learning, with a library, flourishing arts. A priest took us up into the observatory (small tower room with a ladder). He showed us a ladder going down, down, into what was once a deep deep well--sometime the monks there had discovered that if you stood in something deep like a well, you could see stars even in the daytime.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Compare and Contrast

the Republic of Georgia, versus:

...the States.

That's not really the whole size of it, of course. But sometimes it seems like Georgia was a dream. Indeed, even while I was there it often seemed like a dream. Moments when I was drinking wine and watching old men drink wine and my heart started to race; when I climbed mountains higher and higher and yet higher; when a woman with a gold tooth got up to dance while she played the accordion one night; as I petted the soft warm bellies of stray puppies who never seemed sad; when I looked over my shoulder to see a tiny woman with a red bandana giving me the thumbs-up over a church wall; listening to ancient chants in ancient churches and noticing the resemblance between the face of my teachers and the face of Mary on the wall.

I found out about the death of Arwen Morgan about halfway through the trip. I had two ways of thinking about this: the first was completely forgetting it because it wasn't real, and the second was crying in public. I cried so much on the plane coming home, because I wasn't distracted anymore, because I wasn't ready leave that gold place, because I didn't want to leave my new friends, because I needed so badly to be back with my family, and because I knew that I was coming closer to everyone who knew Arwen, and then the real grieving would start.

She was beautiful, and she was young. Someone asked me, "was she a musician?" Yes. Yes, yes, yes.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Georgia, Starting Abstract

One image I saw often, and like to describe, is this:
The beige stone of a round, pointed church tower, probably built in the sixteenth century. It's laid flat against a hot summer-blue sky. The windows are tall slits, but they don't provide much contrast to the picture. What holds the patient eye is actually motion--little dark birds are whirling and swooping around the tower, seemingly ceaselessly.

So, I spent three weeks in the Republic of Georgia last month, at Village Harmony Music Camp. Many wonderful and interesting things happened there, and one tragic thing happened here in the States during that time.

Instead of stories right now, a few pictures, I think.