Genesis of Totem
I first met Adria as my piano student. She quit piano to immerse herself in the study and practice of Acupuncture – an intensive four-year education in the esoteric and complex world of Chinese medicine. In our discussions about her future and past, she mentioned that she was a singer, had recorded with a band, wrote songs, and played the Celtic harp. We also discovered we both had similar interests in the anthropology of religion, folklore, and the source of song. So, while making and creating all these songs she has been deep in the throes of tests, classes, and jabbing needles in people.
What was the first song? Who sang it and why? Where does a song come from? Were the first songs about influencing nature or another’s feelings? Perhaps the concept of magic was to “spell” out words and music, and wrap in one's will the physical world. Enchantment means to be brought inside the magic of a song. How do other cultures approach the song source?
For Creation, I wandered through the Technicians of the Sacred 1book, and, culled ideas from a variety of cultures and traditions about The Beginning. I let the resulting text seep through my fingers. As usual, Adria understood the deeper context of the idea, and brought her awareness and vocal expertise into becoming the Weaver of Time. The movement and the Naming of the World seems a very basic need in every cosmogony.
3 For Horses of Life we used War God’s Horse Song II (by Frank Mitchell) from the Navajo. I prepared the music, not knowing exactly what should go with it, Adria came in with an idea of how to put the words to the music. She nailed it the first time, and we knew we had something special.
4 Sea of Love is our first collaboration. I had been working on this song for years, and needed some new input, into which Adria willingly dove. The song began for me as a dream I had one night about a rhythm. I started working with that rhythm, and the bass and harmony slipped in effortlessly. The words started shaping themselves into how important it is to listen to your heart. The sea is the Sufi experience of Fana Falal – annihilation of self.
5 My Ka takes its source from The Egyptian Book of the Dead2.
6 Markut is an Altaic Shaman song, from A Shaman Climbs Up the Sky, adapted from Mircea Eliade’s Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. This, as did most of the other songs, went through several permutations, mostly removing music and vocal material, then adding the flutes and hand drum. “When I am called to treat a patient, I go into something like a trance & I compose a song, or I revive one for the occasion” (Isaac Tens, a Gitksan shaman).
Invocation to Markut, the bird of heaven
7 Jungle Law fits in with the totemic animal theme and in this case we have a serpent singing. This was originally written for my children’s album I Love Animals. The second part of the song is from Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book.
To create the trance-like motion of the python, I used a four-measure phrase:
￼The Jungle Law
Oh hear the call - good hunting all-
That keep the Jungle Law...
8 Gravity of Love is the suspension of time and space. Stuck in a plane, looking out the window, thinking, remembering, forgetting a loved one, but not succeeding. If you live in the air, the laws of physics are different than on the ground. But the gravity of love remains constant.
9 Don’t Look Down Upon the Earth Is originally from an Ilahi (sufi spiritual song) by one of Turkey’s greatest poets- Yunus Emre.
10 La Paloma (the dove) was written for a beloved friend as she passed through some heart-rending changes, and came out stronger.
11 The Burning is from a section of The Flight of Quetzalcoatl from the Aztec Epica Nahuatl. The founder of the Aztec culture, Quetzalcoatl departs, dies, and is reborn as the rising star.