Thursday, January 30, 2014

mountains, lakes, world music & pete seeger.




when my boy dubbles was in aotearoa in december, he and i spent a couple of nights down at the moke lake campground on the outskirts of queenstown. it's a great place to pitch a tent, quiet, peaceful and a short twenty minute drive from the center of the city.

the morning we left moke lake, i went to offer the campground hosts our two half used bottles of butane as we were going to catch a flight in some time back on up to auckland.  i ended up chatting with the bear, who was spending the summer with his missus in the bus up top. blasting out the bear's bus (he told me peeps call him the bear, grinning and smiling and chuckled, "can you tell why?") was some old school folk music, "feeling those rythyms," i remarked to the bear.  he smiled and excitedly told me he had picked up an on-sale cd of woodie guthrie on his way to moke lake a number of weeks prior... he and i started chatting about folk music, dropping names and just rapping 'bout that time in the history of american folk music.

that day pete seeger was on the tip of my tongue.  "you know this cat, banjo player, lived in new york, by the hudson river, mad famous..." and for some reason i couldn't recall pete and seeger together...  it was one of those moments where a name you know escapes you. it happens to me often...

it was time to  catch our flight, i still hadn't come up with seeger's name and i turned to the bear and said something to the effect, "i'm not going to be able to sleep tonight, well if I remember his name i'll..."

"just send me a card man. the bear. moke lake campground. outside queenstown. might work..."

"i will actually," i replied. "i may even be back in a hot sec if i remember."

dubbles and i left and drove along the long dirt road that leads to moke lake.  dubbles, damns, what's that singer's name, i kept asking, but neither of us could come up with pete seeger...  five minutes after leaving moke lake, beside a field of cows, i remembered...

"pete seeger kid!! pete seeger!!!"  i stopped the ride and flipped a 5 point turn and whipped it back to moke lake.  the bear was out, somewhere working the campground and we had a flight to catch. i grabbed some scrap paper and wrote, "pete seeger. live at carnegie hall." then grabbed a rock and put the paper on that white table behind the bear's motorbike.

when i was in primary school we sang a lot of pete seeger tracks. often and always.  those were the jams my school, bank street, was about.  betsy, our music teacher, would get her guitar and we would get into pete seeger tracks, forget maths, forget writer's workshop, forget movement, forget science, pete seeger was what was up back then.  in fact, it wouldn't surprise me if he even came for a visit during my time at bank street, though i don't recall if he did...

in college in minnesota, my boy zachariah put me back onto pete seeger, one day handing me a double disc, pete seeger live at carnegie hall. it was magnificent and i think i even purchased it, way before the computer was part of my daily and it never got burned, so alas, here in new zealand, i just have one pete seeger album with me, i think that xavier might have given me that recently...

pete seeger lived most his life beside the hudson river, just like i have.  and that spiritual connection, to the river i love more than any other on this planet is strong.

the river as life, a metaphor so true to time - howard thurman, langston hughes, pete seeger, myself and so many others life is like a river rings true. along its banks, take a handful of soil and there is its history...

pete seeger was just a beautiful human being. after he passed on earlier this week at 94 years young, i scoured the web for footage of his testimony in front of the senate, when they called him in to rat out "communists" and blow the spot up on his peeps. seeger refused. he refused to take the 5th. he thought the whole charade disrespected him as a person, the united states as a country and the 5th amendment as even a possibility. he was a person with true morals and stood strong. he was convicted to serve a year in jail for contempt. eventually that was waived, but his testimony is strength to all of us who confront those moments in our life that test our character under duress, stress, tension.  if we stay true to who we are then we are good. seeger knew who he was. he is inspirational....

here is the transcript of that testimony: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/01/28/pete_seeger_huac_transcript_full_text_of_anti_communist_hearing_courtesy.html?wpisrc=burger_bar

ah yes, so there's the bear. there's his summertime crib. and there is xavier who beautifully came to grace my radio show with his presence this week. that's him harvesting banana leaves to make tamales on christmas day. what a blessing it is to have him and carolyna in my life. and there is a sign for a volcanic hazard, from a hike dubbles and i did in the center of the north island... did i mention that this week's across 110th street gets the magma bubbling...

across 110th will be on hiatus for three weeks and back in late february with a lot of goodness to shake to and bake too...

until then just n joy...



love and health to all...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

tracks for tolaga...

the tolaga bay wharf has got tracks and so does this week's across 110th street...

this photo was taken back in august on a trip round the east coast of the north island of new zealand...

love and health to all...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

winds & bridges...

it's another windy summer day here in whaingaroa, clouds flowing, breezes blowing, tides coming in and going out, only to certainly repeat the circular, cyclical, days getting longer in the north and shorter in the south.

earth.

i had four sisters roll through my radio show today. they are my old neighbors from when i lived on the other side of town and they are full of wonder and spirit! they rock a great acapella freestyle of a smurfs track i'd never heard of over '93 til infinity early on in this week's episode...

the show should be easy to listen to, i think embedded this week, right here...



love and health to all...

Thursday, January 09, 2014

hailstorms & jungle green.

this week's across 110th street can be listened to, downloaded and streamed...

ici: http://across110thstreet.podomatic.com/

this morning, i woke up to the clattering of a fierce and powerful hailstorm. though brief it was strong, a reminder we are nothing in the shadows and rays of the sun and the snow...

this is a moment in the forest on the way to the welcome flat hut in westland tai poutini national park, west coast, south island, new zealand. december 2013.

love and health to all...

Thursday, January 02, 2014

from df to nz to nyc - a world music conversation/visions of funk

video


on new year's eve i wasn't sure where i'd end up.  certainly that's a concern of most of the world on new year's eve, but in the sense that i wasn't sure what i was going to do or how mellow or not new year's eve would or wouldn't be.  i'm not a big new year's cat and my type of new year's is usually a good homemade meal with plenty of wine and good friends.  that, of course, was possible here in aotearoa, and though many a good folks here in whaingaroa were gone to their families over the holidays, it probably wouldn't have been the same anyhow.  there is just something about getting a fire going and sipping red wine with the possibility of sledding that recalls days of yore...

times change and change and change and you know what, keep changing, such is the way this earth spins. so i played the evening by ear, having a lovely dinner with my roommates and their mom who was in town from holland.  we had cambodian food in this little new zealand town i live in after watching the annual new year's eve parade that pops off before the late summer sun sets and goes around the block at least twice, though i think is was three times to well, make it last. this town is small and parades gotta loop round the way to make it worthwhile for both the spectators and the participants.

after dinner, i linked up with my lovely landlord and friend from my last crib on rose street and then made my way through back streets and side alleys up to the raglan club, technically a private spot, it's always open to all and i wasn't sure what to expect.  i walked in to meet my dutch amigos and felt the love immediately, probably round three hundred senior citizens, local raglan residents and a few youngins were grooving to just a love local band, pure, fronted by two singers, one being big dane from tron-city, a waikato university student i later read, who made it to the finals of new zealand has got talent.  and it does, something about this south pacific corner of the world produces some soulful singers and good vibrations. forget djs, 20 dollar cover charges, expensive beer, the need to dress to impress or even wear shoes, the raglan club was where it was at on new year's eve.

even, geoff, my buddy who djs before my thursday show was there with his wife and leaned into the dutchies and said something to the effect, last time i saw you all, i was out of place, the oldest cat in a venue of young peeps and now you all are the youngest people here...

i'll tell you, everyone seemed to be young and grooving, whether dancing or sitting or standing and chatting, it was a great scene...

this week's across 110th street can be found here: http://across110thstreet.podomatic.com/

it's a special and beautiful episode as my amigo xavier meade rolled through with deep crates of latin love and good world beats, it's a musical conversation between the two of us, both metaphorically and actually, and though there is a touch of technicalities when we commence, it's well worth it, the two hours were grand and xavier has put me on to more musica del mundo than possibly any human on this earth. so if you're cruising over new zealand, pop that parachute and drop in and we'll dance and swim!

love and health to all...