Archive for music

Carl Orff – Music Composer

Posted in Biographies, Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Poems, Song Lyrics & Analysis, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2020 by Drogo

Music composer and educator Carl Orff was born in Munich, Germany in 1895. When Carl was 29 he co-founded a school of gymnastics, dance, and music in Munich. Carl Orff’s teaching work at the school reflected his interest in musical education for children. As with Wagner and Mascagni, Orff’s work was sponsored by Fascists for nationalist propaganda.

 

Carl Orff created major works for theater stages including operas (‘The Moon’) and musical plays. Carl also wrote chamber music. Three of his cantatas are called ‘Trionfi’ (Triumphs). The first composition, ‘Carmina Burana’ (Songs of Beuron) was written in 1937, and consists of songs set to medieval texts. Orff used poems by the Roman poet Catullus in the second cantata, ‘Catulli Carmina’ (Songs of Catullus, 1943). Finally in ‘Trionfo di Aphrodite’ (The Triumph of Aphrodite, 1953), Orff compiled texts by Catullus and the Greek writers Sappho and Euripides. Orff’s style in the ‘Trionfi’ was based on rhythmic propulsion; melodies and chants in changing meters of tempo and volume over the matching motor rhythms of instrumental ostinatos.

 

Orff’s obsession with rhythm led him to develop a method to train young children by means of percussion instruments. Carl Orff used asian and medieval scales, as well as texts in several languages sung simultaneously or in overlapping rounds. In his master-pieces Orff combines instrumental music, singing, gesture, syncopation, and dance into unified spectacles. Sometimes his music emphasizes folk music harmonies. However his powerful percussive rhythms drive a heavy orchestral signature; so like Richard Wagner before him, and Basil Poledouris after him, Orff’s unique sound stands out from less bombastic popular themes.

 

‘Carmina Burana’ has been used in modern films like ‘Excalibur’, ‘The Doors’, and ‘Shadow of the Wolf’. It is also even used for commercials for films, even when not actually in the sound-tracks (‘Ravenous’). If not for Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’, these movies would only be half as dramatic. Orff summed up his theories in an impressive 5-volume book called ‘Music For Children’ (1934). He revised his book in 1954, and died in 1982.

Pietro Mascagni – Opera Composer

Posted in Biographies, Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Recommendations & Tributes, Song Lyrics & Analysis, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2020 by Drogo

Pietro Mascagni the Italian composer was born in Leghorn, Italy. Pietro lived from 1863 to 1945. He studied in Leghorn and at the Milan Conservatory. In 1888 Mascagni entered a musical competition. Pietro presented his first one-act opera, ‘Cavelliers Rusticana’, and won first prize. Although he wrote many other operas, the other two most performed are ‘L’Amico Fritz’ (1891), and ‘Iris’ (1898). Not only did his other works lack the same enthusiasm, but they were pounded by critics. Mascagni suffered continual attacks from critics during his career, although he is one of the most famous composers. Mascagni and his beloved Italy fell under Fascist rule, duty bound to serve patriotically or be branded an enemy of the state.

 

The music of ‘Iris’ is the epitome of operatic atmosphere, as the dramatic sounds create emotional visuals. The last part of ‘Iris’ is perhaps the most sensual, as the dying body of the main character is dragged from the sewers and lies crippled; as slowly the magnificent Sun rises to meet and take her away from all this earthly suffering and discord. As the basses, violins, and horns combine to form emotional melodies; an undertone of raw passion and omnipotent renewal is created. Also the opera is filled with powerful, theatrical libretto (words). ‘Iris’ truly reflects the inspiration and cool flow of the Aesthetic movement.

 

When asked who were the greatest composers of all time, Mascagni replied “Wagner and I”, without hesitation. Pietro Mascagni was physically and socially impressive, and matched only by Toscanini on the podium. Operas flowed from Pietro’s pen, and he became the official composer for Fascist Italy. Mascagni had a fighting spirit, but became disgraced publicly by the critics; and was replaced by Giacomo Puccini. Looking back Mascagni said “It has been a bitter, relentless struggle; and I have surely not spared myself or succumbed to unworthy influences… I was not wanted; my best efforts were scorned; yet I went on writing for the sake of Italian opera, which is after all, one of the chief glories of our country”. Mascagni was a poetic nationalist to the end. Despite his critics, Mascagni is remembered as a sensitive artist, dramatic visionary, and musical poet.

Richard Wagner – Opera Composer

Posted in Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Recommendations & Tributes, Song Lyrics & Analysis, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 13, 2020 by Drogo

Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig, East Germany (a city of rich cultural influence), on May 22, 1813. His parents were officially Karl Friedrich and Johanna Wagner; although there was rumor that his real father was allegedly Ludwig Geyer (an intimate friend of the family). As a child Wagner attended the best schools, and showed extreme fondness of theater. Wagner was very interested in acting and stage performances. His mother, however, threatened to curse him if he tried to make a career on stage.

 

In time Wagner became one of the most famous composers of opera music. His musical sagas of spiritual, emotional, and moral power were fueled by his fierce urge to create. Wagner influenced philosophers, authors, actors, and musicians with his music. He even built his own theater, and founded the world’s oldest summer music festival. 

 

Wagner’s first opera was ‘The Fairies’, in German romantic style. From 1833 to 1839, Wagner worked as an opera conductor in a few German cities. Other early projects included: ‘The Ban On Love’, ‘Rienzi’, ‘The Flying Dutchman’, ‘Tannhauser’, and ‘Lohengrin’. Nietzsche was a huge fan of Wagner.

 

In 1849 due to his anger at the unjust treatment of musicians, and poor operation of the theaters, Wagner took part in a failed revolution (sparked by the French Revolution). A warrant was issued for his arrest, and he fled to Switzerland. Later Wagner lived in and out of Paris, France. From 1853 to 1874, Wagner developed the great ‘Ring Cycle’ of German folklore [Nibelung – ‘Ride of the Valkyries’] . His last work, ‘Parsifal’ was completed in 1882. Wagner died in 1883.

 

Wagner’s philosophy was to have various harmonious elements of musical composition in operas. Musical composition should have climaxes and goals, to move the audience. Although his work flowed with super-noble purpose, Wagner did not take many as many dramatic risks in his personal life. There is a distinction between Wagner the human, and his immortal compositions.

Music Theory Basics – Octave Paradox

Posted in Music Reviews, POB Audio, Science & Math, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2020 by Drogo

The Chromatic-Key Problem of Definition 

In music theory tone (note) scales are divided into ‘octaves’. Octave comes from the Latin root word for ‘eight’ (oct-). Octaves are 8 key notes labeled as 8 alphabet letters; A up to G repeated. The measuring of octaves is based on the ancient Greek geometrical distance method of double or half the frequency vibration of the other. Originally octave note measuring was based on strings, then tuning forks, and now modern Hz devices. Octave key notes are called ‘natural’, but notes are infinitely divisible; so there are major and minor scales with sharps (#) and flats (b). Sharps are higher than the natural note they are near, and flats are lower than their natural note; so A# is going to range higher than A until the mid-point between B where the tone becomes Bb. However B# is equal to C natural; thus begins the organic complexity of 12 note chromatic scale within an octave. Even with equal tempering, octave patterns can be more confusing than regular whole number arithmetic.   

Chromatic sharp scale (low to high) is A, A#, B, B#/C, C#, D, D#, E, E#/F, F#, G, G#. The chromatic flat scale is the reverse but with flats instead of sharps. These 12 chroma notes are similar to human voices because they do not divide the octaves equally. Voices are chromatic chords because they are not confined to natural or perfect key pitches, as the multiple sub-tones within a voice may bend sharps and flats, while the loudest sub-tone would be the note the voice registers as. What tones or chords we consider to be dissonant or harmonious are based on chromatic ratios and combinations. Pythagorean tuning was a Greek system where the frequency interval ratios are 3:2. The Pythagorean ratio is called the pure or ‘perfect fifth’, chosen because it is consonant for tuning by ear, and their cult obsession with the integer 3. The octave paradox can be explained as a chromatic-key math problem; where octave scale notes are based on multiples of 2 (such as 8 and 12), and note interval ratios are based on 3. Two is an even number, and Three is an odd number; therefore algebraic equations can express this issue of octave scales.  

Chromatic Ratio Equations:  F#/Fn = R x R x Fn = R^2 x Fn = G ; E#/Fn = R^12 ; R = 1.059

[SCOD theory by Drogo, written to understand his own confusion regarding basic music theory]

‘Math and Music 1’ youtube video

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AMM ALM – ‘All Lives Matter’ Album Series

Posted in Ethics & Morals, POB Audio, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Politics, Protests / Riots, Song Lyrics & Analysis, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2020 by Drogo

Skin color is surface, culture is deep.

ALM Album Related AMM (Appalatian Mountain Malitia) Music Sets –

‘ALM Black Light‘ & ‘Black Lives Matter Too; Not Just Rich Lives‘ & ‘No Lives Matter’

All lives matter (ALM), not only RICH lives; no matter the color. RAINBOW power. Black Lives matter (BLM) even during a ‘Trumpster Fire‘ when they are being treated like they don’t matter. All lives matter, even when they are not being respected. This AMM album series was recorded in West Virginia (under-ground) old school; and remixed as live sets during the Covid Crisis Protests, enjoy. The ALM and BLM movements are together (2016). Our current civil unrest is more about working rights for all citizens and races, which worries the 1%. No matter how you identify, here’s rainbow in your eye.

This album series is live FB DJ set recordings from AMM 2006 to 2020, past and present mix. It includes a variety of music styles and voices recorded in the Harpers Ferry, WV area (304). AMM was founded by JB CODIAK and friends. ALM Album themes range from MLK, Black Panther, to Death Rap. Besides being generally anti-racist, because members and associates can be any race combination and identify as whatever they want; AMM supports progressive politics like UBI, UHC, and zero tolerance for police aggression.

All Lives Matter‘ provocative phrase and word semantics regarding racist (human vs ethnic) perspectives:

“According to an August 2015 poll, 78% of likely American voters said that the statement ‘All Lives Matter’ was “closer to their own” point of view than was ‘Black Lives Matter’. Only 11% said that the statement Black Lives Matter was closer. Nine percent said that neither statement reflected their own point of view.” 

President Barack Obama spoke to the debate between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. Obama said, “I think that the reason that the organizers used the phrase Black Lives Matter was not because they were suggesting that no one else’s lives matter … rather what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities.” He also said “that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.”

MacHatfield on ALM – “No matter how “woke” a pc person thinks they are, this phrase is not offensive to say it; it is not an “either/or” it is inclusive of all human races (the term “race” being fake or artificial). If people want to say ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) to talk about people who appear or identify as black, they can; but BLM has been used to imply that black lives don’t matter currently (to who?), which is racist because black lives actually do matter, despite how racist the system or individuals are; and no matter how much it makes anyone feel like black lives dont matter, many of us have always felt black lives matter (audience is critical). Black lives do matter (speaking to anyone who thinks they don’t), and the BLM phrase does point out that law enforcement and corporate society treats most blacks (who also, no coincidence to the history of slavery, are often poor) terribly; most of these ‘black’ are people who cannot afford lawyers or the cost of living. There are statistics that show those identified as “blacks” suffer more than “whites”, no matter the actual “racial” mix of the person (see social-racial identity). The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has been a large part of the Covid Protests, but dividing ourselves by race is what the rich masters always want. The issues affecting “black americans” are class, not just surface racism but systemic economic working-class injustice too; which is sustained by race wars among workers. Minorities feel the oppression by corporate bosses the worst, because they are used as ‘scab-labor’ when the majority (whites) strike. To use the terms ‘black’ or ‘white’ to describe people can be called racist, since it is a surface description that assumes stereo-types belonging to most people who appear light or dark skinned should or should not have any number of cultural attributes which make them another race, other than human. I fucking hate Nazi racists, no matter their color.”

“While the immediate spark for this moment was the brutal murder of George Floyd, his killing was not an isolated event. It is not the first time a black man has called out “I can’t breathe” as he was choked or lynched. We can draw a straight line that runs from slavery, to Jim Crow, to legal segregation, to de facto segregation, to institutional racism, to the killings of so many in recent years – George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, and others.” – MD Senator Van Hollen

Most of us can agree that skin color is superficial. White and Black cultures are actually not as black-and-white as the labels might appear. Cultures are not bound by simplistic definitions of appearance; cultures are complex and overlap as they change. And change they do, despite conservative cores, cultures constantly evolve just as species do. Cultural depth includes problems of poverty, working class racism, public and private violence, wars, family, and plutocracy etc. Racism is used as a tool for warfare against other individuals or groups who appear different, and are blamed for problems; however as a cultural tool racism mainly benefits those in power over the majority, while the masses insult and harm each-other. It is easy to use racial labels to insult people we don’t like, because we want to use anything we can to hurt them; but the more people resort to judging by appearance, the more racism becomes a problem for everyone.

Law enforcement is a class struggle, where oligarchs wage war against the lower classes legally. Racial diversity on police forces has not stopped the war on the poor. Enforcing laws more aggressively against the poor, more than enforcing laws (at least those that exist) against the bigger rich thieves, benefits those running the show. History has shown that companies will break worker unions any way they can, and scab race wars is most effective to keep wages low. General strikes are most effective for equality, when most workers are willing to refuse to work for masters.

RIP M.F. and J.J. on this album. Special thanks to Donald Greene for donating the pre-AMM archives from his personal collection.

‘All Lives Matter’set 1 on FB

‘ALM Black Light – set 2 on FB

Black Lives Matter Too; Not Just Rich Lives – set 3 on FB

‘No Lives Matter’  – set 4 on FB

black lives matter

Trumpster Fire – AMM Rap

Posted in Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Song Lyrics & Analysis, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2020 by Drogo

written by AMM for their Album ‘Trouble Fer Trumpets’

Trumpster Fire – rap

Welcome to the Land of Trump

Ronald MacDonald took a dump

Joker is wild, a petulant child

Racists want poor against poor,

Idiots ferget we done did that before!

Fighting the rich will be the next war!

Trouble for Trumpets, Grumbling grumpets

Gummi Bears writing in blackberry ink,

In the Land of Trump we all stink.

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AMMAppalatian Mountain Malitia trip-hop rap band

My Violin Playing Memories

Posted in Music Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2020 by Drogo

I played susuki style classical violin for years in my early teens during the late 1980s (along with soccer and martial arts classes). I had a very good teacher who lived in an old school house down by the river in Millville. She taught us at the Methodist Church and her home filled with her husband’s car parts. We performed at Wolftrap and the Kennedy Center in large student groups. If i had learned fiddling it might have been more fun for me and i might have kept doing it, but the only fiddler i knew was Bruce Wilkin, but he was busy working a regular job; so i made Chance McCoy listen to Bruce on CD with me since we were both into Celtic music. i will never forget we were in Chance’s shed in the early 1990s, and i told him to listen for the imperfections, that is how you know it is real played lively without editing. i said Bruce is playing for the joy of it, and maybe in some moments for whatever reason he might sound slightly off, but that doesn’t matter. He does the best he can and that is good enough, because it evokes fun feelings. Chance barely played the guitar back then as he was starting out, but he still jammed with me on keyboard; and he went on to learn how to play the violin and other instruments, and win a grammy with fiddling and other folk style music playing. I used Bruce’s CD in a college film, with his kind non-profit permission.   – Drogo

Online Musical Appreciation

Posted in Cooperative collaboration, Crafts, Creativity / Imagination, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, Multimedia Communication, POB Audio, Recommendations & Tributes, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2019 by Drogo

I do not know why comments on my Soundcloud account are supportive, and comments on Audiomack tend to be lame, but that is the difference in the platform community i guess. Hopefully more creative and kind collaborators will join Audiomack, so competitive jerks can get pushed off. Most serious good musicians know how to treat other players regardless of talent, but like any other genre extreme fans (or those without fans of their own) get nasty because as consumers they want to be expert judges on ‘what is good and what is bad’. When people call your original creation (which is always a collage blend of influences to various degrees) bad, let us hope for the sake of humanity that someone else finds something good about you; because art is personal expression.

I am not a professional musician because i do not get paid, although i frequently practice aka play. That being said I think we can cheer on our favorites, without being terrible people to those who we do not like as much. Maturity takes time, and not everyone will be able to respect the feelings of others as much as we might like; but know I have improved from the days when I attacked everything I did not like by insulting people who did like those things. Now I try to limit my aggression to the most important issues, and only occasionally give my opinions about silly stuff like pop music.

As Kyle Kulinski says uncensored comments can be as democratic as a bathroom wall. I encourage anyone who likes things to please rate and comment, because the assholes seem more motivated sometimes. Part of the problem seems to be with consumers not realizing that they have been conditioned by commercials to only consider popular brand names to be “quality”. We need to retrain society to invest in itself more.

Online appreciation of music is of course related to other arts and digital media. We have similar cultural problems regarding the support of authors and artists. Many of us desire to value human lives more than we have; and one way is through online appreciation and support for others in whatever ways we can.

 

 

Alkistis Agio Philosophy

Posted in Health & Fitness, Services, Sales or Trade, Spiritual, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2019 by Drogo

Why I recommend Alkistis Agio Method of Therapy

“Alkistis life coaching methods are different significantly from others in the commercial market, and work better for me as philosophy does for therapy. I like being able to talk to her about psychology and mythology on various issues. Her tone is more compassionate and her demeanor more wise than average motivational speakers. It was a pleasure working with her on experimental music concepts; we were able to talk about contrasting and matching, and collaborate to make a finished up-tempo trance DJ project with Greek inspired pop music mixed with her guided meditation vocals. Her methods work for me every time, because I always feel better after listening to her.”

– Drogo Empedocles

Alkistis Agio Website

Alkistis Agio Youtube Channel

Confidence Dance Mix with Alkistis

09_siphnian-treasury

 

 

Appearance & Reality in Art

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Music Reviews, Philosophy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 11, 2017 by Drogo

The best media that expresses the theme of appearance and reality, is the wide wonderful world of Art! One can assume that there are four sub-divisions of our sensorial existence in reality: visual reality, physical reality, olfactory reality, and audio reality; which are all dependent on each-other, and inter-connected with individual and group mental realities. There are also appearances of all our senses. A fifth sense could be considered to be our metaphysical imagination (spirit mind). Through drawing and painting visual arts, one experiences visual appearances and then mental appearance. Mental neocortical impressions of fantasy or reality, can be perceived in various combinations. That appearance can be taken to be the reality of what the art represents, until a later meditational analysis of our brains produces a different interpretation of our visual and mental reality, that we believe about the work of art; including what the art actually is, what it represents, and what it means to us or others.

For example, Pieter Bruegel the Elder based his detailed drawing work upon realistic observations, to represent figures and landscapes; however like Bosch, his art combines very surreal and fantastic aspects to what we can identify as figures and landscapes. Mental reality sinks in later, that his art cleverly pokes fun at the Christian Catholic Church. In fact, Bruegel ordered his wife to burn certain drawings because he thought they were “too biting and sharp”. Bruegel’s reality was hidden within the action, setting, and characters of his art works; because he was reluctant to openly admit his surreptitious views on the evils of society.

Bruegel earned his living producing drawings to be turned into prints for the leading print publisher Hieronymus Cock. His great successes were a series of allegories, which adopted many obsequious style mannerisms of his predecessor Hieronymus Bosch. In Bruegel’s works his sinners are grotesque, while the allegories of virtue wear odd head-gear. Imitations of Bosch sold well, like ‘Big Fish Eat Little Fish’ (Albertina), which Bruegel signed but Cock falsely attributed to Bosch in the print version.

Another example of a famous surreal artist is M.C. Escher. Maurits Cornelis Escher was brilliant for drawing impossible shapes, that appear to be possible 3-D objects at first due to his skillful rendering, but then reveal aspects of themselves to be mathematical line trickery upon further examination. Escher’s realism has 4 basic levels: structure, content, contour, and event integration. Structures in a drawing means 2-D surfaces are rendered with 3-D appearance, creating illusions of forms and spaces. Link structure with content phenomena, and form texture contours. Lastly, characters interact and integrate with setting events in a pluralistic world concept with recognizable motifs.

Salvador Dali is still the epitome of a modern surreal artist, even years after his death. Like other surreal artists, Dali leads the viewer’s mind through a maze, and then a sieve. Often his work is presented as being real in appearance, but in actuality is a painting, or photo, or film of dream-like illusions that are disturbing on a sub-conscious level. Dali creates appearance of fantasy, but the deeper Jungian subjective meanings are disturbingly hidden from casual glance.

Appearance and reality in music is strange to talk about, as we do not usually refer to sounding ‘realistic’, as we do with art appearing ‘realistic’. When music sounds real, we mean it sounds like a live orchestra or a real instrument, rather than an electronic synthesizer or recording. However music does create dramatic mental illusions with sound. Composers like Wagner, Mascagni, and Carl Orff were masters of telling audio stories to our hearing senses. Various musical instruments or voices can summon angry gods, peaceful landscapes, bold shining knights, beautiful flowers, and other associative feelings.

In poetry each verse gives an appearance to the reader or listener, and the reality derived is subjective. John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem ‘Snow Bound’ descriptively portrays New England life and structures during snow days. One can almost feel the cold of the snow, yet is kept warm by the brilliance of the writer’s passionate imagination. Lord Byron makes clear the emotions in many of his poems, creating ideal or realistic images within the reader’s head. Poets manipulate emotions with words, to engage the audience.

 

  •  [ from SCOD Thesis Philosophy Theories ]

ART & Literature DRAMA

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Philosophy, Psychology, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 16, 2017 by Drogo

Writing is connected to acting. the line between fact and fiction and life, in books, and in performances it gets blurry. drama shows us our mental relationship with reality. music, art, and drama evoke feelings that can be very conflicting; because it evokes the psychological issues we have, whereby the human mental neo-cortical process judges ourselves and everything else based on perceptions of senses and emotions. audiences are crying out to have the freedom to pass through the veil and explore between the worlds of art & reality. Most people are confined to a life where they are told acting is not authentic, art is not real, and so they rarely dare to go outside the confines of slave-wage jobs that pay the bills. The art of acting remains a mirror world to them, that they don’t view as participatory; because they see it as an illusion to criticize. obsessive fans are right up against the mirror, touching the surface. The best artists are actors that reach through the mirror from the other side, and pull in those that want to cross the line.

This is what Democritus and Shakespeare wrote about concerning Life, the World, and Theater. Even Marlon Brando agrees, in life there are many roles we all play, acts we put on for jobs, and ways we act. One of the most fun conclusions that we are all actors in our own lives, is the realization that our clothing and uniforms are costumes.

Music – AMM Trip-hop

Posted in Music Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 8, 2016 by Drogo

AMM = Appalachian Mountain Militia

Band:  J.B. C.O.D.I.A.K., A-Rob, and Mac Hatfield

Remixes by Drogo Empedocles

“Hey You Guys” aka “People Please Wakeup” (Eco Rap)

AMM Beat 150

“Real Talk” ft. CODIAK, Arob, & Mac

“Screwface”  ft. CODIAK, Arob, & Mac

just some favorites….

Hillhouse Digi 5.jpg

 

 

Native American Modern Beats

Posted in Music Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 30, 2016 by Drogo

American Indian Music

Lakota

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/track=665814874/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/

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Montreal, Canadian

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2928616039/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/
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Canadian Club DJs, ‘Tribe Called Red’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celtic Music Favorites

Posted in Music Reviews, Pagan, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 4, 2016 by Drogo

Celtic Music is emotional and full of energy. Celtic songs can be slow and sad, and quick and lively; loud and proud, or soft and gentle. I love them all.

Drogo’s favorites

Celtic Bands: Pendragon, Enya, Clannad, Loreena McKennitt, Seven Nations, Pogues, Drop Kick Murphies, Chieftains, Unfortunate Rakes, Boiled in Lead, and many more

Celtic Songs: Whiskey In the Jar, She Is Like a Swallow, Wind That Shakes the Barley, Anam, Poison Glen, Mummers Dance, Dulamon, and many more

 

Outdoor Festival for Nature Conservation

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2015 by Drogo

BRCES HFOF 2015

Festival of Nature Studies

This year I attended the ‘Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival’ (HFOF) at the ‘Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship’ (BRCES), as I did last year; but with some important differences. This time I camped in the woods, and observed, took notes, and recorded nature while the event was happening. Rather than actively volunteering and vending a booth in the field, this year I began passively volunteering on site in the Spring to conduct nature studies over a larger area on the hundreds of acres of the property. I began camping in the woods before and during the festival in order to be more relaxed in the shade, with less possessions to worry about; yet still able to observe natural wildlife, take notes by hand in my ‘Gremlins’ note-book from the 1980s, and enjoy the country-fair type social event.

It was a dark and rainy Thor’s-day night at Demory Field. Luckily the volunteers had finished work for the day, and safety checks performed, so all was well. Time to relax with cold beer and smokey mist, rolling along the hillside. There was no lightning, but lightning-bugs lit up the fields, as summers before. It was a full-moon, but the rain clouds covered it. As I walked the dark trail through the woods, down to my camp site by Piney Run creek, I was comforted that although all was wet, from humidity and rain; at least my assistant Nacho and I had set up the tarps earlier before dark, to the best of our ability.

Darkness reminds me what it might be like to be blind. When I walk alone in the dark, I get a visual mental picture of what is ahead, then I turn my flash-light off for a short period of time that I feel confident enough to endure without sight. Even when my eyes cannot adjust to the dark, I am able to walk a ways until I begin to doubt my steps again, and I turn the light back on to see the path. It is cheating, compared to being blind, but it simulates a bit of not being able to rely on sight.

It rained all night, and the tent and tarp combination I used barely kept me dry. The temperature dropped down from 80s to 50s, so I was glad I had 2 sleeping bags and 2 sheets. Half of my gear got wet inside the tent. The ground was good for camping when it is not raining, as the clay has a continuous bed of soft clumps of abundant grasses and common wetland plants; so it was over-all level, but with bumps that allowed small puddles of water under the tent, held between the tarp, which normally works well to keep condensation from rising up from the ground when humidity drops at night. The lightning-bugs were freaky because when you are feeling alone, they can start to look like flash-lights.

Friday morning the rain stopped. I hung up my wet clothes on cord line. I started prepping a day pack to take up to the HFOF event at Demory Field. The start of festivals is always exciting, like Smurf village hustling and bustling. Down in the ‘Clearing’ light shines through the trees, like the promised land of golden-green paradise. Golden rays of sun-light shone through the trees, hinting of blissful utopian ideals; while the sounds of nature pervade the glen. Birds chirp, tweet, and sing songs. The deer were quiet, but I could hear their steps, as they crunch sticks on the ground. Insects scurried around plants, and some of the flying bugs made noises.

BRCES Site Flora

There were many common yard birds: cardinals, blue-jays, chickadees, tit-mice, sparrows, gold-finches, grackles, starlings, crows, and tiny marsh gnat catchers. Like tiny marsh sparrows in Georgia, the gnat catchers chirped like crickets or chipping sparrows. There were at least 3 types of woodpeckers; downy, red-headed, and the red-crested piliated. Owls were hooting, wild turkeys were gobbling, and thrushes were tutting like squirrel kisses. The BRCES wetlands are thriving. There were tons of long leaf 3′ tall plants; milkweed, golden rod, curled-dock (Rumex crispus), wild spinach, wild evening primrose, wheat and barley grass, jewel weed, similar looking forest floor cover that flowers like tiny pink bubblegum, razor bean vines, garlic mustard, poison ivy, virginia creeper, creeping through the clearings and the forest floor.

Willow trees have bent to survive flooding. Some willows created arches, that had good bodies and branches to tie tarps to, for shell shaped shelters. I did get a deer tick on me, which bit my arm, but did NOT give me lymes disease. The water was muddy from all the rain. The area that must have made the dam years ago, is very intriguing. I was told it was a man-made dam (earthen?) to make a pond, during the period the land was going to be developed into tract-housing. The ruins of houses and out-buildings were fun to explore around, and some of the boards had come loose on the windows. Daffodils and day-lilies grew nearby, remnants of old gardens.

The trees (20-70 years old) form woods that follow the rolling hills. Often the woods are sparse, but thorns and shrub bushes make dense thicket patches. Spiral trunks occur on one young tree per acre (apx.). Spiral trees seem to result from the influence of parasitic vines, like honey-suckle, but some trees out-live their vines. There are more young trees than old trees on the site. Although it is difficult to tell the age of a tree from the outside size, inside trunk rings are more accurate because growth rates vary. The most common trees seemed to be box-elder, oak, maple, ash, locust, poplar, sycamore, and willow. There were a few examples of great Beech trees as well.

Ideally trees provide shelter, food (fruits and nuts), and fuel for cooking and heating our fires. In turn humans should plant, care for, cultivate, and protect trees. Failure to look after each-other results in us cutting too many trees down, using poisons that hurt every-thing, and trees falling on houses and branches and sap falling on cars. Increased awareness of our trees is phenomenological respect for life. Respecting trees has a beneficial effect on our ecology. Sages know the wisdom of tree stewardship. Some trees have been alive for thousands of years. Fire-wood should be gathered mostly from dead-fall logs, branches, and twigs. Reducing dead-fall on forest floors can reduce wild fires.

Here is a list of local plant and tree types. All the families listed here are at least currently regional, if not native. Obviously not all types of vegetation are listed here, but it is a reasonable list: maples (common, red, silver), box-elder, sycamore, oaks (English, pin, black), ailanthus, mulberry, elm, willow, catalpa, princess, walnut (black), beech, sumac; fungi & plants: mosses, mushrooms, shelf-fungi, lichen, herbs, vegetables (wild leafy-greens and planted crops), blue-berries, vines, grasses, shrubs, ferns, thorns, nettles.

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Maple: Acer; Common (Norway), Silver, Sugar, Red; leaves deciduous broad palmate 3-5 lobes toothed; bark smooth-furrows; flowers tiny hermaphro, hetero, or bisexual; fruit paired wings (samaras); used for hard wood, sap (Sugar has most 32 gallons = 1 gallon of syrup = 4.5 pounds grain sugar).

Sycamore: Platanus; Occidentalis; leaves deciduous broad 3-9 lobes toothed; bark unique smooth but peeling brown-white patches; flowers tiny hermaphro, male stamin, female pistils; fruit 4 hairy nut-balls; used for hard wood, leaves similar to Common Maple (Plantanoides) but thicker and pointier.

Oak (Acorn): Fagus Quercus; English (Robur), Red (Rubra), Black (Veluntina), White (Prinus Rock Chestnut), Live (evergreen), Pin (Palustris); leaves deciduous alternate simple most toothed or lobed; bark rough furrows or scaly; fruit acorn nuts, white acorns and wood best; hard wood, nuts crushed and strained for Indian bread, yellow dye from bark powder, druid medicine.

Beech: Fagus Grandifolia; leaves deciduous simple single point, saw-toothed edges; bark smooth light grey; flowers – male hairball, female hairy red scales; fruit beech-nuts prickly burs; beechnuts edible, Beech is Saxon German for ‘book’; Oaks are in the same family, but far more common.

Elm: Ulmus; White (American), Hackberry (Celtis); leaves deciduous elliptical pointed saw-toothed rough (Hackberry has warts); fruit flat seed key (samara), Hackberry berries are edible and can taste sweet like dates. hard wood

Willow: Salix; Weeping (Chinese), Pussy (Discolor); leaves deciduous narrow pointed, edible; Weeping Willow have long catkins; Pussy Willows have fuzzy frons; bark rough furrows, makes an aspirin; soft wood soaks up water.

Poplar: Aspen Poplar (Salix Populus), Cottonwood (Salix Populus Aigeiros), Tulip Poplar (Lirio); Aspen and Cottonwood leaves deciduous simple broad triangular to circular or (rarely) lobed, breezes cause Aspen and Cottonwood leaves to flutter, giving the whole tree a ‘shimmering’ or ‘twinkling’ look; Tulip Poplar leaves are larger wide 6”, 4 lobes, ovate (heart-shaped); Aspen Poplar flowers are catkins; Tulip Poplar flowers are big yellow-orange with cones; Aspen Poplar fruit seeds are long hair tufts that float on wind; Tulip Poplar fruits are samara carpels; Tulip Poplar hard wood is the best Poplar wood; Aspen Poplar is soft wood; Cottonwood is so soft it does not even make good fire-wood. Tulip Poplar is not in the same DNA family as the other Poplars, and it also should not be confused with Tulip Magnolias (Magnolia Lili), whose deciduous leaves and flowers resemble evergreen Magnolias.

Walnut: Juglans; Black (American), English (Persian), White (Butternut), Hickory: (Carya), Pecan (Carya); leaves deciduous pinnate compound pointed; bark 4 types – Black has dark rough furrows, English has gray smooth with some rough furrows, Hickory has many deep furrows, Pecan flaky; flowers tiny hermaphro; fruit Nut large round green husk over brown shell; used for oil, decorative soft wood, nuts are food, ink and dye from nut husks, herbicide. Carya nuts (drupes) are food, nut husk conveniently splits, pecan nut fruit is similar to Walnut but skinnier.

Sumac: Anacardia; Rhus (Red), Toxico (White); shrub-tree; leaves deciduous pinnate compound pointed; staghorn fruit (drupe) conical clusters, Red is edible, White is poisonous with allergen urushiol; related to poison ivy and cashews. Soft short narrow wood, stems have soft pith hollow for pipes. Notes: often seen growing around rock out-croppings in fields or highway exit ramps.

Ailanthus (Tree of Heaven): Asian Altissima; leaves deciduous pinnate compound pointed; bark smooth to textured; flowers pungent odor, pollen; fruit long showy green-brown; soft wood, grows fast anywhere, toxic when burned or near water.

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HFOF 2015: Music Festivals as Wilderness Guardians

I attended the 2015 ‘Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival’ (HFOF) at the ‘Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship’ (BRCES) because I believe in the concept of celebrating art and sport to preserve wild land and clean water. It is amazing to consider, during a recession based on commercial monopolies, that it is possible to support local talent and save our woods, forests, creeks, rivers, and the wild and free creatures whose lives depend on these environments. During an era where it is common for people to litter on their way to a job that pollutes natural ecology, events like HFOF are truly revolutionary and patriotic in Native American terms.

The BRCES land is beautiful; almost 1,000 acres of wilderness and a small organic farm run by a caring family. Years ago when I visited with my father, BRCES had just begun their mission on the land, and the old white house was over grown and in disrepair. Now the buildings and land are functional again, while being in harmony with the landscape. BRCES is truly a success story for environmentalists.

Volunteers run the show during HFOF. I was lucky enough last year to be a volunteer under the leadership of President Lisa Cullinane. Lisa is very friendly, kind, and smart; which by the way is my favorite kind of leader. We started preparing a few weeks before the event, and by the event I felt things were flowing well. Vendors are usually small businesses and non-profit organizations that rent spaces around the field, using tables and tents. I really enjoyed the variety of concessions, and the food and drink was good. There are always tensions and stress involved in any social production, but any problems that arose were resolved. Hundreds of people attended the festival both years I have been; although the first year my non-profit tent for ‘Sustainable Cooperative for Organic Development’ (SCOD), and my fine artist partners did not get visited by many people during the event, so we did not make any earnings. For me it was ok, because music is certainly a type of art; and I was happy to be there.

Camping among trees or in fields is one of the best things in Life. The first year I slept in my tent the first night, in Demory Field behind my vendor table. At night the humidity lifted, however this created a dew which saturated my books and artwork exposed to the sky; however items in the tent and oddly enough below the table-cloth were fine. The second day my art partners arrived and set up a tent to shade us a bit; which really helped survive a day of full sun in the field. I also wore sun-block, a large hat, and sunglasses so as to not be sun-burned. Some of us rented the white house for the second night, which was very nice indeed! Staying at the house was a relief from the electric generator that was kept running all night at the main field, to keep their fridge on to preserve the food. Also the best part of the field at the crest, had become over-crowded with vehicles; which in my opinion ruined the very purpose of being in Demory Field… in other words it turned the perfect camping spot into a parking lot. Despite traffic congestion, most reveled in the mirth, and many stayed up all night with enthusiasm and excitement!! So the second year, the parking situation on the hill was better. Also in 2015 I camped down at Piney Run creek for 2 nights, and put a hammock up in the woods the 3rd night. It was still good to have the house for bath-rooms, shelter from variations in weather, and back-up beds.

Bands begin playing the first evening (Friday), and folk music continues through the night, into the next day and night. The second night, Saturday, has the most people. Famous bands are fine, but when you have personal stock invested in local bands, hearing them play has more meaning. Although most of the show revolves around the main stage, my favorite part is playing with other musicians by the grand fire pit. The field has a natural amphi-theater shape around the fire pit; which was made by Boy Scouts with impressive stone work and movable wood benches, along with a cob oven. At night the fire pit area hosts musical jam sessions, which embrace the audience, allowing anyone to play with or with-out the bands; this is musical freedom and creative collaboration at its finest!!!

Lastly in this article I want to thank everyone that helped make HFOF happen. Some of my personal high-lights were being with friends, hiking the trails, and witnessing natural phenomena such as the lightning-bug show across the fields; those tiny lights were every-where even into and above the trees!! As I observed the natural light show, I meditated on how often our Nation’s founders enjoyed wonders that surpassed the magic of their technologies back then. Even today many scientists concede that our artificial efforts fail, in comparison to the energy efficiency of the natural world. Through places and gatherings like this, we can study how plant leaves photo-synthesize, and then we can learn make technology that does that for electricity. Thank you to those that stayed and picked up all the trash! I hate picking up litter, but I do it way too often and way too many people are littering. The sheer abundance of garbage is not encouraging regarding the future of humanity or civilization. At the event there are luckily enough volunteers to pick up all trash within sight, after many hours of pick-up. I like to return to the site days later, to double-check that the clean-up was effective. Any negative issues did not stop us from having fun, nor did any problems hinder the success of the event as a whole. The end of festivals is always sad, but there is a release and some contentment knowing that the quest is complete and memories are made. I also love mulberries, and the trees were in season! I definitely want to return next year to HFOF at BCRES, and be a part of music festivals (with arts and sports) that donate to wilderness stewardship, and take place within a nature preserve. Please come join us, if you are not already with us!!!!

– Rev.  ‘Drogo’

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* Drogo’s assistant Nacho, with camp site