I love playing the mbira. About a month ago, I had the great pleasure of jamming with the "Quarter-Tones" (James Steinberg, Rob Saunders, Leo Espinosa, Alan Witschonke and James Roldan) at James Steinberg's house in western Mass.
I've been playing mbira for 5-6 years. I discovered it through the music of Thomas Mapfumo from Zimbabwe and my good friend and mbira teacher, Solomon Murungu.
I'm a total newbie but I have a lot of fun and I rarely go anywhere without my instrument nearby. The first song most players learn is Karigamombe.(here's my funky rendition).
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An angry little picture: As I see it, the G W Bush White House (and the corporatized) media have made a circus out of 9-11. We will not be able to think clearly (and grieve perhaps appropriately) until something is done about them. By invading Iraq, we dishonored 9-11. I'm tired of black boxes; I want ballot boxes.
Today is the birthday of Caspar David Friedrich. He was born in Sweden (later Germany) in 1774. He would easily be classified as a Romantic painter. Caspar David Friedrich should be better known. Perhaps he is as several signature painting are widely reproduced. I get shivers when I view many of his works and they have a way of sticking in my memory.
Maybe it's my predisposition to benign melancholy that attracts me to the Romantic gloom and frigid winter clarity of his pensive views. A lingering, a malingering, a grimness that seeks solace in high windy places and deep verdant hollows that give way to rock and ice. Clarity such as we are ever capable of achieving.
Can we illustrators and artists bring this fact of human personality, this fact of human existence into our sunniest and well-paid works. We can only hope!
After several days of late nights trying to catch up on work, family duty called: Casco, Maine, as I lay in a field of grass above a beautiful lake in Maine, out of my fatigue I sketched this happy and rather haunted man.
Even in the midst of Nature's beauty this summer, I frequently found myself juggling assignments and re-negotiating deadlines. This state of affairs was anticipated (right!) and continues unabated. Life is blurred as September makes her renewing presence felt.
I try to make resolutions to paint more, be a better illustrator, be a better businessman, cultivate the good habits while discouraging the bad ones. There are a ton of home improvement projects that were started in the optimistic light and heat of August and now languish in the rapidly creeping shadows of September. Can winter be far now? Will I get all the leaf piles gathered before the snow hits?
But today: It's a day for focused work and unbidden and ponderous musings. Life is on the march who knows where? How was your summer?