“Submerged Dream”

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Sounds of: Lobitos, Peru; Mancora, Peru

*Written by: Fabricio Bonaldo (Brazil) vocals: Carolyn Nicely Produced by: Dan Hunter

July 24th, 2013        Tranquilo…

As you know, Dan and I worked for ten days at a surf hostel in Peru. This was our last night before we had to leave for Ecuador.

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On this particular summer night when we recorded “Submerged Dream,” a few of us volunteers also decided to try San Pedro. Although some of us had experimented with other psychedelic drugs, this was all our first time eating San Pedro. Now before any of you readers freak out, Pedro is legal (at least in Peru) and completely natural. It is a fast growing cactus native to the Andes and has been used since the beginning of time for religious divination and healing. The name “San Pedro” cactus aka “St. Peter’s” Cactus was given because St. Peter was believed to hold the key to heaven, just as this cactus is supposed to allow users to reach heaven while still on earth.   viewfromthedeck

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So after dinner, Chris, (a burly Australian man who had bought the San Pedro for about $5), Favinio (aka Fabricio, the writer of this song), Laura (a tiny, sweet Irish girl) and Dan and I sat around the large dining room table spooning powdered San Pedro mixed with honey into our mouths. First Chris and Favinio each took a few spoonfuls topped with honey and we all watched as their faces contorted in disgust and their eyes watered with a strong determination to swallow the fowl tasting stuff, the potent mixture of sand and ass. Next it was offered to Dan and he managed to get 4 fatty spoonfulls down. Laura and I were not actually planning on participating but when the boys had finished (Chris and Favinio each forcing 5 or 6 down) and there was still a good amount left, Laura decided to give it a go. And since she was a small, little girl I thought what the heck! So we each took two. I’m a champ at blocking my nasal passages from tasting, and I mixed the honey and the powder a little obsessively, but it made the experience of swallowing actually quite easy.

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Now all we had to do was wait for 2-3 hours. And unfortunately we had all just eaten a pretty large dinner. In the meantime, we decided to record Favinio’s song in his room at the back of the hostel. fabrissiorecording

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In late night jam sessions a few nights ago, we were mesmerized by this song and we decided we really wanted to record it and share it with everyone. We fought a bit with ourselves since it wasn’t our original song, but the song was too good to not share, and we took it as a challenge to produce our first instrumental song.

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Favinio, a 21 year old guy from Brazil, had been working at the hostel for a few months and it was his designated job to do all the cooking. A sweetheart with a smile always on his face, he knows great English, Spanish, and of course Portugese, and he was well loved by everyone at La Casona. The type of guy who carries himself always on the brink of laughter, a light in his eyes that puts you in a good mood when you are around him. He is mainly a cello player, and has his own samba band in Floriannopolis, Brazil. He is also a dedicated surfer, and wrote this song as a narrative of surfing. He explained the song to us as a journey of paddling out, wave-riding, waiting, wiping-out, and staying calm under water. The beautiful notes that begin and end the song, are the “submerged dream.” Favinio explained it to me as the time and space where you must remain calm and peaceful under the water even when you are being thrown about. “Tranquiiiillloo…” he says to me with a big perfect smile.

casonasurfboards

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After living in New Smyrna Beach for a few years, Dan and I have gotten used to the surf-culture being a part of our daily life. Dan can surf, and enjoys it, but doesn’t own a surf board or go regularly. I on the other hand have only tried once, and only managed to stand up once, on a small foamy wave near the break of the beach. I’ll admit I’m afraid of the world below the waves, and I am paranoid of sharks. So when I see surfers living their life around the art of surfing, waking up at 5 or 6 in the morning to paddle out into the unknown, I have a deep appreciation for what Favinio calls the “submerged dream.” The art of remaining calm underwater, unafraid of sharks, and at peace with the push and pull of the tides. Now that is beautiful and brave.

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As you listen to this song, I hope you are not doing two things at once. If you are reading this as you listen, go back and listen again. Put everything down, put in some headphones, close your eyes, and give the song a chance to tell it’s story. Whether you surf every day, or you have never set foot in the ocean, hopefully this song can transport you to the ocean, where you are paddling out into the deep blue waters that we know so little about.

Oh… and the San Pedro only hit Favinio, the rest of us passed out, and experienced a bit of crazy dreams and toilet trouble.

Peace and love,

Dan and Carolyn

Background:   carolynwoods

Dan tried to record the waves of Lobitos but the oil rigging and the high winds around the area were too strong to make for a good recording. When we left the hostel and stopped in Mancora, Peru on our way to Ecuador, we spent a few hours sitting at the beach and Dan recorded the waves there standing on top of some boulders near the break.

We recorded the vocals in a national park in Kali, Columbia since it was the only quite place we could find amidst bus rides, shared hostel rooms, boats, and bus stations.

This song was extremely difficult to produce and we spent a good week working, judging, and arguing over if this should be on our song blog or just an additional song that we could share as a side piece. The timing of the piece was all over the place, which is amazing for a listener, and hell for a sound engineer who is not working with a click-track.  After a lot of hard work on Dan’s part, hours and hours sitting in the hostel room here in Panama fluttering away on the i-pad, and the song grew into what we had envisioned for it in the first place. Finally we decided that YES we should definitely make it a part of our song-blog and that listeners would really enjoy it, (and we hope you do!).

(We have been in touch with Favinio to get his opinion on the production, and we are waiting to here from him…)

More pictures of the world class waves in Lobitos, Peru here!

“What Will They Say?”

picchustairsandplaza

Sounds of: Machu Picchu, Peru and Pumamarca Ruinas, Peru

 

 

June 18th, 2013        Doing our part?

        It is around midnight in an internet cafe here in Lima, Peru. The lights are shining with Mcdonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin Donuts in the plaza just outside. Our bellies are full of Chinese food. Dan’s birthday is tomorrow, 27! Same birthday as my mom’s!     Unfortunately he is getting sick (sore throat, stuffy nose) 🙁 We are preparing to trek for 10 days in (the Huayhuash circuit aka 2nd “best” trek in the world, second only to Himalayas) the day after tomorrow! The hike is all above 12,000 feet so we must rest up!

We ventured to Machu Picchu this past week!! We walked the Salkantay Trek, unguided, unmuled, for 8 days until we arrived at the campground nearest to Machu Picchu (the lost city of the Incas.) The trek took us through icy mountains, beautiful low lying pastures, jungleous forests being chased by biting flies, berry and banana plantations, cloud forests, and raging rivers.

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Crossing an icy river at the top of a waterfall was one of the most painful things we have both experienced. We took off our boots for the ankle deep water, and the pressure of walking over the cut rocks with our heavy backpacks weighing us down, caused us both to scream out in pain as we crossed. We ate ramen noodles, strange fluffy granola bars from Cusco, dried apricots and almonds, and chocolate bars. Butterflies and hummingbirds followed us in the final days. We finished reading Robinson Crusoe to one another 🙂 (And I found out that Daniel Defoe is one of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s favorite authors!)

On the 7th day we found ourselves on top of a mountain, (after climbing straight up for four hours) LOST and looking for the ancient ruins called “llactapata” (which we were supposed to camp at that night). Night was falling and we had reached the top of the mountain but no ruins were in sight. The trail was covered in a thick green moss and began to grow smaller and smaller until we were crawling under treetrunks to find our way. When our sweaty bodies began to freeze from the cold, we decided to camp in the forest and look for the ruins in the morning. Luckily there was a flat spot, just big enough for our tent amidst the jungle, and we sought refuge in our little portable bubble. (The next morning we found llactapata… literally a 10 minute walk down the hill from where we camped). A gorgeous flat land, staring off into the cascading mountains across the gorge, the perfect campspot.  ruinwindow

Our “new” saying, ” You win some you lose some.” It makes us feel better every time we order the wrong thing on the menu, the taxi driver jips us, we get lost, or pretty much every time big or small things happen to us traveling. Everyday we win some and lose some.

 

usOn the final day of our trek we woke up at 4:30am in order to get to Machu Picchu for sunrise. We walked, shining our headlamps along the lonely railroad tracks, which most people take to get up to the ancient city. Picchu was stunning, beautiful, but maybe just a little too “touristy” for our tastes. What we mean by that is crowded, tons and tons of picture taking, waiting in lines, guards walking around, restricted areas, rules, etc. BUT that is of course needed in one of the world’s most incredible manmade natural wonders. If you don’t know much about Machu Picchu READ THIS! (National Geographic’s top secrets of the city). We walked around the city for about 5 to 6 hours, standing near guided tour groups to get a little more informed, and regretting that we didn’t buy a guide to show us around.

The biggest questions we were asking ourselves during this time, and during the trek as we read all about the Incas and Machu Picchu off of our ipad in our tent at night was…“What is our generation going to leave behind?” This marvelous city has withstood, centuries, earthquakes, natural disasters! This city was made with men and men only and it is still alive and placed beautifully within the mountains and forests for us to enjoy. There is no trash to be found from the time of the Incas, no spoiled rainforests or tacky indulgent buildings. What are we building upon our earth for our future generations to find? One day, we will be the skeletons, the artifacts, the history lessons, and the national parks for the future to enjoy and learn from! What will be our legacy? And…are you doing your part?

Lyrics:    city

I’m high as the mountains, I am standin’ in the clouds.

I’m sittin’ on a pile of ancient stones.

And until this very moment, I had never been a wonderin’

Someday, will another look upon my bones?

Everyday we’re gettin’ taller, every year we’re livin’ longer

In the future, giant men will roam the earth.

And they’ll sit upon this mountain and look out at machu picchu

And say “Twas leprachauns who was here first!”

 

What will our childrens’ children say.  incanclock

when we all of us up and gone away?

Will they find the landfills? Our plastic cemeteries.

What will our childrens’ children say

when they all of em’ up and find the waste?

What will they say?

 

The Incas built this city without iron, wheels, or mules.

And this city has withstood six centuries!

Our churches may not perish, but our forests we should cherish,

if a healthy earth we hope to someday leave.

Chorus.       waterfall

 

What stories will our childrens’ children tell

of our lives, and how our people fell?

What will they tell?

I hope they find the Eiffel tower and lady liberty,

Mount Rushmore or the islands of Dubai!

Wind farms and the Empire State, Apollo 13,

our world’s web, wide and vast and free!

Chorus

Background:

So… we tried to take our new charango into Machu Picchu to record this video. Right before crossing the gates into the city a woman confiscated my charango saying that it was a “sanctuary” not a park, and we were devastated. However we had researched some ruins that were about an hour away from Machu Picchu and so we decided that it would be a perfect place for the song as well. With a lucky stroke of fate that night we camped out in the backyard of a young 15-year old Peruvian girl’s home named Susana. We were told by a man on the road that if we followed the girls waiting for a truck we could get to the ruins known as Pumamarca, since they lived in the town below the ruins. We hitched a ride with the worktruck that carried the schoolchildren back to their homes in the Sacred Valley every day. It was one of the most amazing rides we have taken, driving through the valley past secluded homes, corn drying on large mats on the lawns, dog gangs chasing each other through the streets. The kids would stack the tires up in the back of the truck and play fight the whole way home standing on the tires to get the finest lookout points from the truck.   carolynschoolbus

Susana, one of the schoolchildren, lived near the ruins we were going to, and so she let us follow us all the way to her home. She sped up the mountain with speed and agility I imagined a “real Inca” would have. We huffed and puffed behind her and I asked her about her family. She is one of 8 children and she only goes to school, she does not work. She likes living in the valley and she thinks it’s cool that we are musicians. The sun was falling fast and we needed to find a camp spot so she suggested we camp in her backyard. Her family welcomed us whole-heartedly and when we offered money they refused! First time ever! I did however get out a few packs of cookies we had. The three year old girl who was before standing shyly behind her father, jumped out, grabbed the cookies, ripped them open with her mouth, spit out the wrapper, and chomped down on them! Dan and I laughed at the sight of the pig-tailed little girl with the dirty face, eating the cookies in less than 30 seconds.susanascasa

The next morning we hiked up to the ruins just above their home, and filmed “What Will They Say?”

 Click here for more Salkantay Trek and Machu Picchu Photos!

love,

Carolyn and Dan

“Si Somos Americanos” / “If All of us are Americans”

bolivian-skirts-lapaz

Sounds of: La Paz, Bolivia

May 29th, 2013 “We´re Americans,”  “Ugh, yea so are we. But, where are you from?”

    We walk towards through the plaza towards our hostel and gunshots ring out. Dan wants to go towards them to see the commotion, I want to walk as far away as possible and ignore them (don’t want to die).      hustling-lapaz

Ever since we arrived in La Paz, Bolivia there have been protests seemingly every day. (The gunshots we hear however, are just fireworks being shot into the sky during demonstrations.)  One morning we watched as hundreds of people walked the streets blocking the bus routes that day. Another day we heard men on megaphones and loudspeakers shouting of “brotherhood” and “justice.” Shots rang out loud and clear for over a week morning and night.

Dan and I did not have a clue what these protests were all about, and until we came onto a roadblock ourselves getting back to La Paz from Coroico (a small mountain town at the end of our trek) we hadn’t looked into it. The roadblock we experienced forced our minibus driver to backup down the mountain after a mega truck, while cars, taxis, and cement trucks fought for space on the road to turn around and find another route (on top of a cliffhanging mountain road I might add.) The detour we were forced to take brought us up up up and close to (or on) “the world’s most dangerous road” a road that is known for it’s death toll of bikers and cars. dan-lapaz

Anyways we have been investigating the protests…

     All the roadblocks and protests stem from the C.O.B. which stands for the Central Obrera Boliviano, the largest workers union in the country. The main people within that union that are causing the commotion right now are the miners, the biggest coalition within the union. They are fighting for their retirement fund. They want 100% of their last-earned wages, which many people think is an unsustainable demand. The miners have just recently (in the last few days) accepted the offer by Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, for 70 %, even though this was offered to them in the past. Miners are trying to show that they are still a force to be reckoned with, that they can close down the city, and even loot those stores that do not close for their behalf. Generally the public who are not associated with the C.O.B. think the protests are bullshit because it causes daily inconveniences such as traffic, store closings, and mayhem. However, doctors and teachers along with a few other professions are part of the workers union and smaller protests happen throughout the city for their own causes. (Apart from the workers unions, the selling of the nations natural rescources (mainly gas), and the mistreatment of the indigenous population, have also been main causes for conflicts in Bolivia.)

woman-lapazAnother day here we were refused coca leaves at the market. A woman simply would not sell them to us. She spoke sternly something that sounded like “No suporta!” but I’m not positive. Either way, she sat in front of her two GIANT garbage bags filled with coca leaves to sell, and did not sell them to us.  She couldn’t have known we were Americans because all I said was “Una bolsa por favor.” But we were white and the majority of “us” are against Bolivia opening up the coca market (because of the drug trade.) So after we walked away feeling like the unpopular kids in school who are refused a table at the cafeteria, we decided to look into this issue as well.

  Coca is a plant, not a narcotic. It is used as a replacement for coffee as a stimulant, for chewing, in mate teas, and for offerings to pachamama and other religious ceremonies. The plant posesses mild alkaloids that provide an essential barrier against altitude sickness and fatigue for farmers and miners in the highlands. People have been using coca foreeeever in Bolivia for traditional uses.  BUT Bolivia is also the third largest contributer of Cocaine to the drug market. Previously, the US Ambassador kept watch over Bolivia with DEA agents working in the country to eliminate illegal coca growing and trading. This in turn caused a ton of violence and deaths in Bolivia in the past decade. A government report said 60 people were killed and more than 700 were wounded in the Chapare alone (the largest coca growing zone in Bolivia) from 1998 to 2002 in violence related to eradication. When Evo Morales (a past coca grower, and the first indigenous president) became president in 2005 he established coca growing as an intrinsic part of Bolivian heritage and Andean culture!  Evo demanded the expulsion of the US ambassador from Bolivia and was then placed on the US’s drug “black list” in 2008 for not cooperating with them. Morales then kicked the DEA out of the country. He legalized the traditional chewing of the coca leaf and has been working hard to make an industry of coca bi-products such as medicines, teas, cosmetics, etc. However, Cocaine production is still a huge problem due to new refining processes (they have new technology to grow less coca and make more cocaine.) So Evo uses the motto “Coca yes, Cocaine no” and has created units to fight drug trafficking and related crime. His approach seems to be working as of now, and only time will tell. Either way, chewing coca leaves definitely helps us with nausea in the high mountains!

“It’s fascinating to look at a country that kicked out the United States ambassador and the D.E.A., and the expectation on the part of the United States is that drug war efforts would fall apart,” said Kathryn Ledebur, director of the Andean Information Network, a Bolivian research group. Instead, she said, Bolivia’s approach is “showing results.” – NY Times

“The results speak for themselves,” said Carlos Romero, the minister of government. “We have demonstrated that you can objectively do eradication work without violating human rights, without polemicizing the topic and with clear results.” – NY Times

For more info on the Coca situation in Boliva and the US!

We have had many people in Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia greet us with warm holas, help us with directions (unasked), listen to and enjoy our music, feed us delicious food, give us shelter, and much more. We have also experienced a few unwelcome glances, a few unanswered “thank yous” a lot of ripping us off at the market, and some occurances of being fully ignored.

Our new instrument (the charango), our newly learned informatioflute-group-lapazn, and our location here in La Paz for the past few weeks have brought us to this song. We wanted to write a song that was  influenced by the city, its people, and our interactions with them. We chose to attempt to create a song to unify some of these barriers between North and South America.

While Dan was studying the Charango chords he came across a popular folk song with the perfect message and so we decided to revamp it! “Si somos Americanos” made us re evaluate what it means to be an American and we hope it does the same for you. Do you know your neighbors by their first names?

Original lyrics by Rolando Alárcon

Rolando Alarcon was a Chilean singer/songwriter/composer/teacher  of the 1960’s and 70’s. His music blends a strummed guitar folk sound with the chorango, as well as drums and panpipes of indigenous Andean music. He was an advocate for peace and justice throughout the Americas and beyond. During his career he traveled to Europe, France, Russia, Cuba, and later to the United States where in 1960 he recorded his songs in New York. He died when he was only 43, on February 4, 1973 in Santiago.

Si somos americanos      IMG_0407
somos hermanos, señores,
tenemos las mismas flores,
tenemos las mismas manos.

Si somos americanos,
seremos buenos vecinos,
compartiremos el trigo,
seremos buenos hermanos.

Bailaremos marinera,
refalosa, zamba y son.
Si somos americanos,
seremos una canción.

Si somos americanos,
no miraremos fronteras,
cuidaremos las semillas,
miraremos las banderas.

Si somos americanos,
seremos todos iguales,
el blanco, el mestizo, el indio
y el negro son como tales.

Literal English translation

Note: We strayed from the literal English translation because Ronaldo Alarcon wrote poetically, rhyming lines 2 and 4. (Except for vs.1 which he rhmes 1 and 4).  Any literal English translation would not do so. Also the song is written in 6/8 time which gives the multi/syllabled words in Spanish a beautiful fluency within the meter. We attempted to recreate this fluency by sacrificing the literal translation only enough to keep the melody alive.

If we are Americans,     IMG_0408
we are brothers, gentlemen.
We have the same flowers,
we have the same hands.

If we are Americans,
we will be good neighbors.
We will share the wheat,
we will be good brothers.

We will dance the marinera,
resfalosa, zamba and son.
If we are Americans,
we will be one song.IMG_0409

If we are Americans,
we will not patrol our borders.
We will take care of the seed,
we will watch the flags.

If we are Americans,
we will all be equals.
Whites, mestizos, indians
and blacks are all equal.

We will dance the marinera,
resfalosa, zamba and son.
If we are Americans,
we will be one song.

Our English translation

If all of us are Americans,         IMG_0410
we are brothers, we are sisters.
We have the same eyes and hands,
we have the same foes and kins.

If all of us are Americans,
we will be the best of neighbors,
we will share the bread and butter,
we will come when called for favor.

We will dance the macarena,
do the tango, samba, and some.
If all of us are Americans,
then we are to be one song.

If all of us are Americans,        IMG_0411
we will not patrol our borders.
The earth will be taken care of,
we will watch over each other.

If all of us are Americans,
we are equal to one another,
the colors they blind our judgement,
our sameness we must recover.

We will dance the macarena,
do the tango, samba, and some.
If all of us are Americans,
then we are to be one song.

Background:

IMG_0412       The instrument we bought is a Charango. It is a beautiful handmade Andean mini guitar with 5 sets of double strings, traditionally made out of the shell of an armadillo. Now the quirquincho (armadillo) is officially an endangered species and Bolivia has made a ban for the capture and use of the quirquincho for these purposes. Ours is made of one piece of solid wood. It came with a beautiful green bolivian handmade case and has a bright, happy sound similar to a ukulele. While buying the charango we met a sweet guy named Cristopher, who worked at the store and who helped us to record this song. He taught us a bit about the differences between Chilean music and Bolivian music (particularly the cueca style which we use in the song) and is playing the charango on the song. We met up with him a few times to practice in his charango shop down the street and recorded yesterday. We also used two latin percussive instruments, the chullus (a woven ribbon with dried goat hooves onto it), and a big bass drum made of cow hide. We had another guy play amazing classical lead guitar all over the song but unfortunately the recordings never turned out. Also, we were hoping to find a Spanish singer to sing the Spanish verses but it never happened. Maybe in Peru…Enjoy!

Song #6 “Long to Turn”

lake-flamingoes

Sounds of: The salt flats of Tupiza, Bolivia and Uyuni, Bolivia

May 22nd, 2013  God vs. Atheism

While at the border town of Villazon crossing over to Bolivia we got into a village-ladypickle. The reciprocity fee (the fee we are charged as Americans to get into Bolivia, because we charge Bolivians this amount to travel to the US) is $160 each. So I figured that they would take visa at the border since that is a lot of cash to carry for the two of us. Not to mention we can’t get US Dollars in Argentina. They took cash only, US$ only. “Walk across the border and go to the ATM up the hill that dispenses dollars, then return!” they say to us. Dan hurries across to get the money but it turns out my ATM withdraw limit is  $300. The border guard tells me that is our problem and to come back tomorrow. I tell him (under my breath) that it is his stupid  problem that they don’t take cards at the border.

A French guy we had been chatting with in line offers to spot us cash until tomorrow since we are all going to Tupiza! He gives us US$20 to cover the rest of the fee and then more for the rest of the day amd night until we can pay him back the next morning. SOOO generous and trusting! And thank goodness for his loan, otherwise we would have spent another night wasting money in the sketchy border town!     full-group

We end up joining a tour group with the French guy, now known as Cedric, and a British guy, Liam, to tour the salt flats together with a guide, a Bolivian cook, and a landcruiser. Cedric, was on a trip sort of around the world, after leaving a job in the tech business back in Paris. He was trying to see the world before settling down and having a family. Liam was on his 15th month traveling from Asia, India, Mexico, Central America, and through South America before he came to us in Bolivia. He was a chemical  engineer in the South of England, and was on (from what I could tell from his vivid stories) on an incredible wanderlust.

Dan and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people and it made for some amazing culinary, political, religious, and other just plain random conversations. I learned more from Cedric and Liam about our world than I thought was ever possible for one week’s worth of listening. We spoke of our bills back at home, compared health insurance and car payments, drooled over our favorite traditional dishes from our own countries. I thought about asking them “How do you know all this?!” “What paper do you read every morning?!” but I didn’t. I just asked as many questions as I could think of and almost always one of them had a highly informative answer.

The last day I got into a heated argument: God vs. Atheism, with mainly Liam but a bit of Cedric as well.

red-desert

I believe in prayer, in God, in the Universe, in Love, in the power of intentions and transfer of energies. I believe in syncronicity, the vastness of infinity, the ability to say that “faith” is indeed accepting that we do not have the capabilities now to know “all” to “prove” all that “is” in our universe. I believe that we do not have the words or a language to describe or communicate an understanding of  such an immense idea as “God”. I believe that since matter is neither created nor destroyed, there is no end in sight for “life” or “consciousness” and that “rebirth” shall prevail after death.

He believes in coincidence. Particles, atoms, science, proven theories, the end of his consciousness that comes with his death. That all life as we know it will end at some point or another. That sending love to plants will not make them grow more beautiful. (NOTE: I can in no way explain what he truly believes because his descriptions FAR outweigh my pitiful re-telling of what he described to me.) However, after spending a week with him I do know that he is one of th most intelligent people I have ever met and his arguments actually made me second-guess myself for a bit that morning. The conversation ended with a bathroom trip, and a new one was started for the sake of the car, probably for the sake of Dan and Cedric who could feel the tension rising. I stared out the car window, half frumpled that I could not explain myself better, and the other half trying to view the world as a work of facts and figures, as if there would be nothing more to my existence after my 100 years, as if everything was coincidence. Is my time now more valuable or purposeless? I thought as I looked out the window.      rock-tree

I thought of all the things I could have said in the moment. Like, “God is love, you can’t prove that you love your sister, but you believe it don’t you? Or, God is magic, you could list all the things you love about a person but it doesn’t prove why you are in love with them, there will always be that extra something that you feel but can’t explain!” But the moment had passed.

Dan and I talked a long while about this topic after the tour. It made us both think of a song we had started two years ago, during the first month or so when we met. I had written a poem called “Our Planets Long to Turn” before we met. We first tried to put it to a beautiful chord progression that Dan had written also before there was us. Unfortunately, that song never really flourished. The idea was there but something wasn’t quite right with it, it was unfinished and growing dusty on the shelf.

sunrise-2

This conversation brought it back to life and we caught ourselves humming the old tune during the long busride to La Paz. We then decided to rewrite the song, add lyrics, use completely different chord progressions, and inject it with some new found inspiration from our shared belief of the life that the Universe holds.     

“Long to Turn” was born and I do not second guess my faith today. Maybe tomorrow. But not today.

Lyrics:

Wishing you’d done different?       

Haunted by your dreams?

twister

Swear unto the darkness.     

Run into the heat.

Rocks would fly away without the burdons of our past,

so live without regret and love the shadows that the mountains cast.


The ocean shall refuse to roar lest from our anger we depart.
Weeping willows cannot grow without the tears from broken hearts.

Heavy with your sorrows?ice

Bursting at the seems?

Bleed unto the roses.

Run into the sea.

The wind would never howl without your shrieks of pain,

don’t hold it all inside my love, our release shall bring the rain. 

Weeping willows cannot grow without the tears from broken hearts.

The ocean shall refuse to roar lest from our anger we depart.

Let your guilt fly to the sun, for what else would fuel the burn?

Give confusion to the sky, our planets long to turn.

Lastly leave your judgements for the stars and moon.

They sing in perfect harmony, never weighing the other’s tune.

Original poem, 2010

“Our Planets Long to Turn”
Weeping willows cannot grow
Without the tears from broken hearts
The ocean will refuse to roar
Lest from our anger we depart
 
All the rocks would fly away
without the burdens of our past
so live without regret
and love the shadows that the mountains cast
 
Let your guilt fly to the sun
For what else would fuel the burn?
Give confusion to the sky
Our planets long to turn
 
The wind would never howl
Without your shrieks of pain
Don’t hold it all inside my love
Our release shall bring the rain
 
Let your guilt fly to the sun
For what else would fuel the burn?
Give confusion to the sky
Our planets long to turn
 
And lastly leave your judgement
For the stars and moon
They sing in perfect harmony
Never weighing the others tune

Background:

Mix a ton of hostel blanket-coathanger-tent recording with some help from a music store in downtown La Paz and you get this recording. Since we could no longer trade one of our martin backpacker guitars for a Bolivian instrument, the chorango, we decided to use some of the precious little Bolivianos we had, to buy one from a trustworthy music store in the city (read trek post to see why we only have one guitar now!)

The manwho sold it to us ripped the chorango (more info on the chorango later) and so we hung out in the shop called “Accha”, named after a legendary man who handmakes all of the chorangos and guitars for the shop. We played the worker a few songs, and he worked us out a deal so that we could bring one of the store’s classical guitars back to our hostel room to lay down some tracks for “Long to Turn.” Saweet!” We gave them $700 Bolivianos as a deposit, hurried off with the guitar, rushed to record in the two hours before the shop closed, and returned the guitar at 7:30 pm. We got $650 Bolivianos back. Pretty sweet deal and so worth it! Now we have a classical nylon-stringed guitar cascading throughout  “Long to Turn! Enjoy!

More photos of Bolivian street-life and the Salt Flats Tour Here!

Song #5    “Sonussana”

“In applauding the mastery of exceptional musicians, the Venda  (a tribe in South Africa) applaud human effort, and in being able to recognize mastery in the musical medium, listeners reveal that their musical competance is no less than that of the musicians whom they applaud.”

Sounds of: Uspallata, Argentina, Sonussana (Ethnomusicologist Carolina Robertson’s home and sound-healing center)

sonussana_argentina

May 2nd, 2013, Uspallata, Argentina

river_sunset_argentina

I truly don’t know how to start this post. The last two weeks have been a worldwind of change, growth, music, knowledge, nature, books, stars.

We both agree that our journey seems to have begun right here.

Not the journey on busses, over mountains, through hostels, and far from home. But the journey inside that has always kept me coming back for more traveling.

I am emotional and confused about so many things right now. But I know that change has simply shook all the dust and dirt around in my mind and now I must decide how it should resettle, and this is the confusing part.

So first I will tell you about what Dan I did for the past few weeks, but then I hope to spend most of this post sharing some of the new things that are brewing in our thoughts.

What we did: We found Carolina through the website helpx. She had been looking for volunteers to help her build her adobe home, and plant quinoa fields on her land. In her profile she wrote how she taught the Uspallata village choir and that is why we wrote to her.

daniel_hunter_digging

(We did not know that she was a prodigous violin player, ethnomusicologist, and sound healer). She shared with us over e-mail that she was living with cancer (and had been for years) and that she wasn`t taking volunteers anymore but that she would love for us to come stay with her for a few days. Two days turned into over two weeks and we did end up helping her. We buried her 480- meter electrical wire 6 inches deep into the rocky ground of her land most of the mornings and some afternoons. This required hammering, hoeing, and building up our lower back and arm strength. Every blister was worth it. The more you give the more you get.

kitchen

We spent most evenings talking to Carolina about her life, politics, and MUSIC! Carolina grew up in Mendoza, studied Violin first in Argentina, then in Mexico where she studied indigenous music, received her PHD after spending years with an indigenous tribe in Patagonia writing her dissertation, was the first women professor of ethnomusicology at Columbia University, and went on to teach the Phd programs for ethnomusicology at University of Maryland and The Smithsonian. She then retired and moved back to Mendoza where she spent 14 months building her home in the Andes with other volunteers and adobe experts.

She had previously lived in Africa as well, and had learned to build adobe homes like these.Every bit of her two-story magical home is made out of recycled materials, they dug the clay from the earth, filled the walls with trash and bottles and made windows from old wine glasses. Not only is she resourceful but the artistic design she literally dreamed up. All the while building her home, she has been proving doctors wrong ever since they told her she had three months to live in 2007. With natural treatments and NO chemotherapy, the quality of life Carolina has made for herself is truly inspiring. “Well, I have made this healing center and I guess I’m the patient,” she casually says to me. Please look at these beautiful photos of her home to see the magical craftsmanship and spirit that went into her home.

daninhouse

After dinners with Carolina, Dan and I would go back to the room to listen to albums and albums of world music she had given us. We decided to give ourselves 10 days to live in the moment and to not write, but to listen. We camped out miles into her backyard and soaked in the firey sunsets. We spent hours browsing her bookshelves filled with books about sound, energy, gender, indigenous instruments, and much more. We only began to write when Carolina left for Mendoza and let us stay in her home for a few days. That was when the music making began, and her room full of instruments became a haven of confusion and creativity.

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We parted ways yesterday and I plan on keeping in touch with her for as long as possible. I also told her that if she ever wanted, I would come live with her and write her biography. I’m still hoping she will give in one of these days and tell me her whole life story. 🙂

 

New thoughts:

Books you MUST read. Everyone who believes themself to be musical or not, you are, please read!

“Drumming at the Edge of Magic” Mickey Hart, The drummer from the Grateful dead tell his story of finding music, drumming, spirituality, and humanity.

“Song from the Forest” Louis Sarno, a New Jerysian who flies to Africa to live, learn, and record the music of the Pygmies in Central Africa during the 1980’s.

“How Musical is Man?” John Blacking,a musician who has become a social anthropologist compares his experiences of music-making in different cultures.

books

Drumming at the edge of magic ideas:

“A stone is frozen music.” Pythagorus

“Rhythm- the order in the movement. Time- the moving image of eternity” – Plato

“Music is given to us with the sole purpose of establishing an order in things including the coordination between man and time.”

“One sure thing about matter is that it is vibrating. Since all vibrations are theoretically sound, then the universe is music and should be perceived as such. Vibrations are also rhythms so the universe is rhythm. We are embedded in a universe of rhythms, which means we are embedded in a universe of tme. Universal, planetary, personal and body rhythms. We are entrained just like two clocks that begin to syncronize with one another when placed close by. We are entrained like women whose cycles begin to synchronize over time spent together.We are entrained and are pulsing in synch with these cycles because nautre is efficient and we are nature and it takes far less energy to tick together than to pulse in opposition.”

“Music is a mirror that reflects a culture´s deepest social and biological rhythms, it is an externalization of the pulses that remained hidden beneath the busyness of daily life.”

“Music’s power and pleasure comes from it’s ability to reconnect the player and the listener with the deeper rhythmns they`re unconcious of, music accomplishes this by taking us out of the clock ticking world of ordinary time and into a special world of time called virtual time.

musicalbook

How musical is man ideas: (The VENDA are a people of South Africa, whose music John studied for years living with the tribe)

Music is political, it may involve people in a powerful shared experience within the framework of their cultural experience and thereby make them more aware of themselves and of their responsibilities towards each other.

Venda music is not made to escape reality but it is an adventure to reality, into the reality of the world of the spirit. An experience of becoming in which individual consciousness is nutured within the collective consciousness of the community.

Rhythms such as those performed by the Venda cannot be performed correctly unless the players are their own conductors and yet at the same time submit to the rhythm of an invisible conductor.

It is not the human content of the humanly organized sound that “sends” people, even if this emerges as en equisite harmony or melody, it still began as the thought of a sensative human being, and it is this sensitivity that may arouse the feelings of another human being, in much the same way that magnetic impulses convey telephone conversation from one speaker to another.

Technological development brings about a degree of social exclusion in music. The technical level of what some “superior” society define as musicality is raised and therefore some people are defined as unmusical. On these assumptions, musical ability is fostered in many modern societies which are diametrically opposed to the Venda idea that all normal human beings are capable of musical performance.

Young Venda develop their bodies, friendships, and sensitivity in communal singing and dancing. Why waste so much time on the rugy field or boxing ring? I was brought up not to cooperate but to compete. Even when music was offered, it was offered more as a competitive than as a shared experience.

argentina_sunrise

Sunrise in the front yard

In this African society, individual musicians who solo or minstrel of the joys and pains of love are referred to as tshilombe which refers to spirit possession, not an acclamation of genius or exceptional talent but an occupational description. An outstanding musician is one who puts himself in touch with spiritual forces, so is able to express a wider range of experiences.

Music creates a world of virtual time that leads to “the other world” in which things are no longer subject to time and space, “the other mind” in which people become aware of the true nature of their being, of their “other self” within themselves, and of their relationship with the world around them. Old age, death, grief, thirst, hunger, they are all seen as transitory events, freedom from restrictions of “actual time” and complete absorption in the “timeless Now of the Divine Spirit” The loss of self in being.

Music is essential for the very survival of man’s humanity.

Music cannot be learned like cultural skills, it is there in the body, every-body, waiting to be brought out and developed.

If drives of cooperation, reproduction, and exploration are over-looked in the pursuit of self-preservation, the harmony of nature is disturbed. Men cannot be satisfied with having, he must also be, and become.

The essential differences between music in one society and another may be social and not musical. If English music may seem to be more complex than venda music, and practiced by a smaller number of people, it is because of the consequences of the division of labor in society, and not because the English are less musical or their music is cognitevely more complex.

Problems in human societies begin when people learn less about love, because love is the basis of our existence as human beings. The hard task is to love, and music is a skill that prepares man for this most difficult task.

People with “open minds” who are low in ethnocentricism, reveal a comprehensive cognitive organization, which is potentially more creative than the narrower cognitive organization exhibited by people with “closed minds” (I should add that surface ethnocentricisim should not always be taken as real ethnocentricism).

Although human creativity may appear to be the result of individual effort, it is in fact a collective effort that is expressed in the behavior of individuals.

The history of many civilizations has shown that a society and it’s culture may ultimately collapse because of human alienation. The machine runs down without the only power that can change it, the creative force, that springs from human self conciousness.

Man is man because of his associations with other men, therefore music is vital. When we share the experience of an invisible conductor in drumming, singing, or playing, we become more aware of society’s system of active forces and our own consciousness is enhanced.

drums

Music can transcend time and culture.

At the level of deep structures in music there are elements that are common to the human psyche.

As a boy I mastered a technically difficult piece of piano music, I was sometimes told that I played without feeling. As a result I would play loud, aggressive, or fold up all together. It seemed as if an assault was being made on my integrity as a person, rather than on technical ability. In fact my “unfeeling” performance was the result of inadequate, hit or miss techniques of teaching in society whose educational theory was founded on a confused doctrine relating success to a combination of superior inheritance, hard work, and moral integrity. A snobbish distaste for technical expertise, technology and mere craftsmanship discouraged attention to basic mechanical problems unless they were wrapped up in an aura of morality, as was the diligent practice of scales and arpeggios. The VENDA attitude toward playing well is essentially technical and not ego-deflating. When the rhythm of an alto drum is not quite right, the player may be told to move in such a way that her beat is part of a total body movement. She plays with feeling precisely because she is shown how to experience the physical feeling of unmoving with her instrument. There is no suggestion that she is an insensitive or inadequate person. What is commonplace of Venda musical instruction seems to be a rarity in “my” society. Is it suprising, then, that many people abandon music because they cannot play what they feel, or cannot feel what they play? By creating a false dichotomy between the deep and surface structures of music, many industrial societies have taken away from people much of the practice and pleasure of music making. What is the use of teaching a pianist to play scales and arpeggios according to some didactic system, and then expecting him to “feel” the piano music of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin by a separate effort of will, or the employment of some mysterious spiritual attribute?! That is, if you find out by feeling for it how Debussy might have held his fingers, hands, and body, when he played the piano, you might get a better feeling for his music. You might find that you could play the music with feeling without having to be immensely “deep”. In fact you would be profoundly deep, because you would be sharing the most important thing about music, that which is in the human body, and which is universal to all men. It would be mysterious only in so far that we do not understand what happens in the remarkable bodies all human beings possess. It would NOT be mysterious in the sense of being something for only a chosen few.

By establishing that musicality is a universal, species-specific trait, we can show that human beings are even more remarkable than we presently believe them to be-and not just a few human beings, but all human beings- and that the majority of us live far below our potential because of the oppressive nature of most societies.

In a world such as ours, in this world of cruelty and exploitation in which the tawdry and the mediocre are proliferated endlessly for the sake of financial profit, it is necessary to understand why a madrigal or a Bach Passion, a sitar melody from India or a song from Africa, Bergis Wozzeckor, Britten’s War Requiem, or a Balinese gamelon, or a cantonese opera, or a symphony by Mozart, Beethoven or Mohlier may be profoundly necessary for human survival, quite apart from any merit they have as examples of creativity and technical progress.

You are musical, you are human, celebrate it.

LYRICS:

andes_argentina_sunset

All is well, all is well.

I’ve found a valley of peace.

I’ve just arrived, but I´m afraid to leave.

Now is the time to be,

Full of peace, full of peace.

Full as the bright, white moon.

With the stars above, and the valley below,

I am full to the brim with you.

Here in Pachamama

In the sacred mother’s womb,

I bow to Aconcaguacarolyn_nicely_sonussana

argentina_fall_trees

and sing Uspallata’s tune.

Bring me to the sacred.

Bind me to your drum.

Entrain me! Entrain me!

Tie me to your rhythm!

Sonussana, Sonussana

where the hawks have made their home.

God paints the sky morning and night,

where the wild horses roam.

Sonussana,

it’s not your sound that heals.

Not the kettle drums of Africa,

It’s the silence of your fields.

Background:

Like I said, Carolina left us with her room full of indigenous instruments for a few days. Dan  played or attempted to play almost every one! One of the drums which carries the rhythm of our song is called the “Udu drum” which was used by the woman of Northwest Nigeria. The sound was meant to have a uturus feel to it, which is perfect for our “womb song.”

daniel_hunter_dulcimer

A few things about the lyrics:

Pachamama

Sonussana-sound-healing-mother earth

Aconcagua– the highest mountain the in the western hemisphere

entrain-to pull or draw along after itself

where the hawks have made their home– hawks circle her home, crash into the glass windows thinking it is another bird, call morning calls, and perch on the windows as you wash dishes at the sink, we recorded a few calls and put them into “Sonussana” because it wouldn’t be the same without their constant presence.

daniel_hunter_field_recording

Dan recording the stream

 

Minor Setbacks:  1.We didn’t know how to correctly play all of the instruments 2. the key of the dulcimer was our starting point for vocals which made adding any normal instruments in the same key almost impossible  3. we used no click track because we wanted a more natural feel, this made editing all the percussion and breathing FAR more difficult 4: We didn`t have a group of people to jam out on the drums with us which would have made for a far more natural progression of the song 5: We were extremely nervous to play it for Carolina, it being her home, her instruments, and she is WELL informed on all things musical (she ended up loving it 🙂  yay! ) BUT these are all technical things we are learning as we force ourselves to write and share without looking back!

 

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 Click here for more “Sonussana” photos!                   Read Carolyn’s Diary

Song #4   “My Song”

Sounds of: La Posada del Monje (The place of the Monk) San Carlos, Argentina

Our latest song “My Song” from San Carlos, Argentina
 

April 17th, 2013, Dog Rescue

Here we are! Finally settled in one place for a few weeks.  The sun is shining and dogs are running around everywhere! We have made it to our second volunteering position here in the Sur de America. Right now Dan and I are taking care of over 50 dogs! (Feeding, cleaning poop, nursing pups, washing elders, etc) We are settled in at La Posada del Monje which is an old monestary turned hotel/dog rescue.  Half of the building is dedicated to the hotel guests and the other half of the place is full of dogs.image

The woman who owns and runs the place is an Argentinian/Swiss woman who has dedicated her whole life to these dogs. She has taken each and every one of them off the streets of San Carlos and developed a home where the dogs are fed, treated if sick, and given a place to sleep. She is incredible.

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At first the obvious choice for our song here would be one about the dogs. But its not.

We have both been in great spirits because the work is hard and rewarding. We earn our own bathroom, a nice double bed,hot showers, and much more food than we could possibly need! (Drastically different from the half-starving mode we have been in the last few weeks). They cook us lunch and dinner everyday and it is always “Rica!” Cookies, bread, butter and tea or coffee for breakfast, chicken milenesa, eggplant pasta, papas fritas, and ensalada for lunch, and tonight for dinner we will try our first Argentinian Asado! (Big ass famous rib dinner!)

imageSo in conlusion, there has been a lot of time for Dan and I to unwind, de-stress, roll in the hay, and think about the song that has been a long time coming for us. A song that we both have wondered why the other hasn’t written it yet.

Love,

Dan and Carolyn

For our daily routine in the dog rescue read Carolyn´s Diary!

Lyrics:

Vs.1  image

It took me two years to write this song, cuz it took a few years to know that you’re where I belong.

You didn’t say “I love you” for a while, til’ Halloween you said it dressed like Forrest Gump and you made me smile.

It’s so easy to write about the people who walk in and out of my life. But I’ve got no plans to let you go. So maybe there are things that you never wanna know is that all right?

 I love you, I am yours, I want you by my side. And to dig to the bottom of our souls I say we take our time.

imageCHORUS

Play my song.

One that’s just for me.

It’s been too long, play my song.

Play my song.

Sing it sweet to me.

It’s been too long, play my song.

Vs.2

It took a few years to write this song, cuz I used to be young, thinking about love all wrong.

You went to California, with my heart in your hands. I changed my ways, I made promises, and we s

tarted again.   image

But now I’m getting older. And I’ve realized all these little things in life don’t really matter.

I just want you for my own forever.

CHORUS

Bridge:

Nowhere to run from the one who sees my darker side. Nowhere to run from the one who sees me cry.

Nowhere to hide from the one who reads my mind.

CHORUS

 

image

Background:

Dan and I´s two year anniversary came and went and we forgot. It was March 21st, which is the vernal  equinox (the equinox on earth when the sun appears to cross the celestial equator heading northward), and the one day of the year when the hours of the day and night are completely equal. Symbolically, Dan is the night (3am bar gigs) and I am the day (8am yoga). And although we agree on plenty, music has been one of our most difficult challenges. To compromise with music is one of the toughest things we’ve had to do. Especially if you let the “right and wrong game” begin when singing harmonies or the “see I told you so saga” start when you are trying to figure out yesterdays chords. We’ve had to swallow our pride a lot, and thank God for that, because we both have too much.

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The hallway to our bedroom

With “My Song” the lyrics were the hardest part. When feelings go beyond words, we judge every word, every phrase as if it’s not good enough. We are real, we aren’t lusting after each other or imagining what it would be like with each other. We know. How do you poeticize something that is so incredibly real? You dig deeper.

I actually did write the first verse a few months back and never went any further with the song. So jumping at rejuvinated loving feelings, we brought it back and rewrote wrote and wrote. And finally our song “My Song” was born.     image

We spent about a week recording the song, going through hell, and then finally deciding that a video would capture exactly what we wanted. We chose one of the large rooms in the old Monestary because it had a beautiful reverb and it was away from all of the dogs and the noise of the farm.

(We still don’t have “a song” as in “our song” because we’re two damn egotistical musically to just pick one thats “good enough”. We need to get over ourselves and get on that! )

 

Song # 3 “Eternal Fall”

Sounds of: Iguazu Falls, Brazil and Tigre Delta, Buenos Aires, Argentina

“Eternal Fall” April 1st, 2013

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Since we have been bringing the rain everywhere we go, we both knew a rain song was in store. Our noses are runny, are heads are full of clouds and this week was tough. We were lost a lot and the holidays made it impossible to find anywhere to stay so we felt a bit like refugees.  Or like Joseph and Mary being turned away at every hotel in Bethlehem until they found a stable. (Not that we were giving birth to Christ or anything) but the metaphor fits the season and we needed a place to birth a song. image
Luckily we have wonderful rain gear because we are using it everyday. Our boots stay dry and our shells dry quick. We would have no problem camping and we are prepared to do so in the rain, but because of the Easter Holiday everything, and I mean EVERYTHING has closed down. Argentina, which is mainly a Catholic country, gives everyone about 6 days of vacation. It is the biggest holiday of the year and so there are fewer bus routes and everyone has booked up all the hotels, campsites, and hostels for their vacation. Internet cafes are closed and the rain has taken away a lot of the wifi available in the city. No Servas host has written us back and the animal rescue/hotel we were supposed to work at (yesterday) just told us they can´t take us until after the holiday.

imageWell you get the point. We´re having a hard time and money is going fast. And like anybody, the colder and more tired, and more stressed and more sick you are, the harder it is to give love to someone else. We are being tested on how patient, kind and understanding we can be with one another. Traveling we rely on eachother for everything. When one goes to the bathroom, the other watches the bags, etc, etc.

This song is a testimony to the rain, the sickness, each other, and the legend of Iguazu Falls.

More pictures of Iguazu here!

imageThe Legend of the Iguazu Falls: A native god planned to marry the beautiful Naipi, and when she took off in a canoe with her mortal lover Taroba, in a rage the god sliced the river in two, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.

 LYRICS:

There´s a big man in the sky.  image

(There´s a big man in the sky)

And over you and me he cries.

(Over you and me he cries)

Pull me close, if we fall we fall together.

Hold me close, I am so cold.

Hold me close, if we drown we drown together.

Pull me close, you are so warm.

You are mine forever, let me fall, let me fall.

I am yours forever let me fall.

You are mine forever, let me fall, let me fall.

 I am yours forever let me fall.

And so we fall.

And so we fall.

Iguazu Falls Pictures

 BACKGROUND:

imageDan recorded the rain in the song during a thunderstorm while we were staying on the Rio Catahuaga on the Tigre Delta.

He set up the mic hanging from the top of our tent and then we went inside the hut.

 

The waterfall sounds are from the videos we took on our camera while we were at the Iguazu Falls. Direct to you from studio Hostel Bunkbed #2.

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 More photos of Buenos Aires and the hostel here!

 

Song #2 “Clara Doesn’t See”

Sounds of: Lapa, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and Paraty, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

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“Clara Doesn´t See”  March 20th, 2013

We´ve figured out that our  budget on this trip (5 months) should be about $33 a day (split between the two of us). One way to make this happen is by going to an amazing samba club on a Friday or Saturday night and ordering one large bottle of the cheapest beer they have, and then drinking it reaaaally slowly so they don´t ask you if you want anything else.

We took a bus to one of the parts of town everyone was telling us about with the “suave” bars and “charming streets.” Lapa is an area of town not too close (but not too far) from the city center of Rio. There we got to watch the “world renowned” Brazilian samba band ¨Quartas Marco & Convidados.” The music was stunning, literally. Dan and I just sat there smiling because the music began like horses kicking out of their stalls for a race. There was no easing the crowd into samba. The flute began with a rollarcoaster solo for over a minute (that is a really long solo for a flute btw). Then the other 5 men in the group took turns singing, drumming, guitaring, and staring down the beautiful girls dancing in front. Dan and I noticed a couple that walked into the bar SO pumped on life, smiling and laughing, and buying fedora hats from the vendor who walked around the bar. When the music began, their energy changed. And so our song “Clara Doesn´t See” was born.

image_8LYRICS:

Clara walks smiling into the club.

Laughing, she leads her husband to a table near the front.

A perfect night she couldn´t ask for more,

the music begins and the women fill the floor,

demanding attention from the moment they walk through the door.

The girls with the golden skin, they shake their hips.

Spin their skirts and give their men a kiss.

                                         Clara holds her husband´s hand

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with empty eyes she stares ahead,

hating watching him watching the girls and the band.

CHORUS:

But Clara doesn´t see,

that it´s on the dance floor she´d like to be.

But her feet stay rooted and she sways to the beat,

you can´t do the samba from your seat.

The dancing girls dripping with sweat

leave the dance floor for a moment of rest

                                       Clara´s feet are begging her to stand  image_6

but she sits with her husband hand in hand.

CHORUS

   CHORUS 2:

But Clara doesn´t see,

that it´s on the dance floor she wants to be.

Wishing her husband would sweep her to her feet,

you can´t do the samba from your seat.

                                           Before she knows it, the time is up.     image_2

The band has finished, and her husband is drunk.

A gush of wind cools the heat,

the tired dancers take their seats

as Clara helps her husband to his feet.

CHORUS

tagx3

You can´t do the samba from your seat

BACKGROUND:

image_2In order to write this song, we wanted to make sure we captured the    infamous Brazilian style Bossa Nova. Dan studied the chords of classic Bossa Nova artists until he understood them enough to write his own progression.

image_7Then when it was raining all day in Paraty, RJ which is about 4 hours from Rio, we decided we should take advantage of the quiet hostel and the gloomy day.

 

image_5We set up our recording booth for the day in the hostel closet (where all the mosquitos like to hover behind the damp clothes.) Recording on the road is always a challenge but especially when you don´t want to interrupt your vocal track with sounds of smacking Brazilian mosquitos. We are both bitten up from our hands to our feet but the song sounds great! Hopefully if you are reading this you are listening as well 🙂 And hopefully we don´t get bot flys via mosquito bites. I won´t scare you like my friend did to me. But if you would like to be scared, google bot flys. Then pray for us.

For more pics of Rio…!

Song #1 “JODY’S TRACE”  

hikingjodystrace

jodystracesign

Sounds of: “The Yearling Trail” at Pat’s Island, Ocala National Forest, FL, USA;
 Featuring: Dixie the dog

 

“Jody’s Trace” Feb 5th, 2013 

Dan reminds me of the young boy from “The Yearling.” He would find a young deer in the forest and bring it home as a pet. Seriously, I always call Dan the dog whisperer because animals worship him. Our step-dog Dixie (our roommate’s dog who is our partner in crime) will play and kiss me allll day, but her ears only go down for Dan.

Dan, Dixie, and I hit the trail around mid morning. First we researched the area and rmossladyead out loud to each other our ebook version of “The Yearling.” We decided to buy the novel before heading to this part of the Florida Trail because we were hiking over the same backwoods that the book was written about in 1938. We were going to camp on the same tiny island where the family in the book lived back in the day! The book was the best selling novel in America in 1938 and it won the Pulitzer prize in 1939. A good read? Yes! Beautiful writing and classic storytelling. The author Marjorie Rawlings grew up in rural Florida and “The Yearling” was inspired by her “Florida cracker” neighbors and her fascination with the Cross Creek wilderness.

We scarfed down an awesome chicken salad and Dan drove about an hour and a half to the head of the trail while I read to him from the passenger seat. “Our blog begins here and now! ” “Ahhhh!” we reitterated back and forth to each other. We wanted to test out our recording gear to get all the kinks out before South America. But most importantly we wanted to pay homage, The Florida Trail, (our home base) before we leave in March.

After a few flat miles in on the trail we came to a clearing! Alas! The sinkhole we read so much about! In Florida there is a phenomenon where the rain erodes the Limestone rocks under the earth and over eons of time, the earth collapses creating a giant sinkhole. So cray! And we have it all to ourselves!

Dixie sprints down to the bottom and we follow. Dan’s eye catches the diamond in the rough. A beautiful, sturdy, steel rope with a wooden handle, sticking out of a bush. Dan yanks the rope and follows the length of it until he sees the giant oak it is attached to, hanging over the middle of the sinkhole. He yanks on the thing for good measure before taking off down the hill, kicking up his feet just in time to soar over the massive crater! Screaming, he hits a palm, spins, and kicks off of another tree before the ground finds him again.

I’m the cautious one. The one who worries and plans. I wanna swing but I don’t wanna die! Yes? No!? Yes?!?! No?!?

Yeeeeeeeeeesssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Without trust… fear creeps in.” – Rita Golden Gelman

See you down the trail,

Carolyn

Background

danplayingThis song was inspired by our hike on the area of the Florida Trail known as Pat’s Island. It is a shady place in the desert-like scrub. Artifacts such as old homesteads, a cattle dip station, a cistern, and the family frontier cemetery are scattered amongst the palms the sand and the brush that became our hwritingcarolynome and our “studio” for the night. We wrote this song over the light of the campfire, and recorded it in the open air of the morning. Birds calling and words from Jody and his family playing in our minds. In the first few chapters of the book, Penny Baxter (Jody’s father) and Ora Baxter (Jody’s mother) spend a great deal of time arguing over the uselessness of “ramblin’ in the woods.”

Jody comes home late after having fallen asleep basking in the sun by the sinkhole and he’s afraid his mother will get him by the throat. Luckily his father sticks up for him, “Most women-folks cain’t see for their lives, how a man loves so to ramble. I never let on you wasn’t here. She said, ‘Where’s Jody?’ and I said, ‘Oh, I reckon he’s around some’eres.” He winked one eye and Jody winfltentked back.

Dan and I are always arguing over his ‘piddlin’ and my impatience. I only started cooking when I met Dan, and when I do cook something, I want him to eat it when it’s fuckin’ hot! On the other hand, when he leaves to go hang out with the boys, playing music, ‘jammin’ or whatever, he shouldn’t have to give me a specific time he will be coming home. I mean there’s just too much important ramblin’ to do! I can’t put a time limit on the valuable time to do nothing! Can I?

The 1938 domestic conversation continues.

Lyrics

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Chorus:

Boy: Sometimes you gotta do nothin’ sometimes.

Girl: Sometimes you gotta make a living.

Boy: Make a living off the land and the pines.

My lady she’s callin’ but there’s still sunshine.

Girl: You think your slicker than a clay road in the rain.

Boy/Girl: oooooohhhhh

Boy/Girl: She’s ramblin’/ He’s ramblin’

Vs.1                                          

Boy: The copper skillet gets me arisin’,url-2

The stirrin’ of the chickens in the ol’ peach tree.

A dog by my side makes for no surprises,

Just the woods and me.

I roll up my jeans, I put my feet in the spring.

A sky full of cotton, lay back and daydream.

My pa tells me son, “Don’t grow up to be,

a man who don’t listen to the birds and the bees.”

CHORUS

Vs.2

Girl: There’s mighty love on an empty belly,             url

and me with a dish in my hand.

Those are the times that you tell me I’m purty.

The words of a ramblin’ man.

But don’t be gone to long now.

The time it’s takin’ me to make this!

But I’m in no mind to sit around waitin’,

callin’, on a ramblin’ man.

Chorus 2x