A couple friends and I played and sang lullabies last week to help young activists rest. A new setting for a most ancient human activity. We enjoyed it enough we plan to do more. If you’d like to come to one, RSVP and I’ll add you to my contact list so you hear about them. This is not a jam, and not a concert either. A small group of professional musicians who are particularly skilled at lullabies will do our best to actually help you fall asleep for an hour or so. Bring a sleeping bag, pillow and mat. Activists could use a bit of reassuring rest!
I have always loved lullabies. Here are a few with me playing that have been recorded over the years:
With long-time Puget Sound Guitar Workshop collaborators Richard Scholtz on autoharp, Janet Peterson on cello, and Laura Smith on banjo. I love the way the four of us have figured out how to slow time down with and for each other. Banjo is not often thought of as a lullaby instrument, but in Laura’s hands, it can do anything. Written by Andy Cutting, an accordion player from England. Andy plays it very fast, but I have taken liberties.
Sweet And Low
A cradle song written by Alfred Lord Tennyson in the 1860s and set to music by Joseph Barnaby. My mom used to sing us to sleep with it. My brother introduced me to Aimee Ringle the night before. In course of staying up all night playing music, we discovered that both our moms sang it. So in the morning we went over and sang it to my mom, Maryann Breskin, who joined in a bit. My brother Joe Breskin recorded us.
Burning Of The Piper’s Hut
With my friend Richard Scholtz, who also played on FlatWorld. He and I have been playing together for almost half a century. Traditional Scottish pipe tune. No video. Just sound.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
This last was recorded by an audience member with a cell phone. Mostly what you hear is the audience singing. This was not a children’s concert. I loved how people found their own early memories of these songs. My husband Zeke Hoskin joined in on his mandolin from the front row towards the end.
Greene’s Corner, 2208 James Street, (south of Trader Joe’s).
Zeke & Fl!p will be celebrating Zeke’s 73rd birthday at Irish & Folk Mondays. Here’s a rare chance to hear Zeke’s quirky satiric songs and cheerful mandolin tunes at a local venue. Zeke can be funny even when he’s playing instrumentals! He’ll also have at least his alto horn, and who knows? Maybe more. Fl!p will accompany him and egg him on. She might even sing a few. If you’ve got requests you would particularly like to hear, contact us in advance so we can dig through the archives.
Old favorites, hand-made songs, old songs given new meanings by a changing world. Fancy mandolin and sweet guitar instrumentals. Alto clarinet leads on Swing, blues, and the occasional outrageous song parody. Hold your breath as Zeke creates new verses on the spot, in real time, based on audience suggestions. Zeke tap dances one-legged on a metaphorical musical high wire while Fl!p is deeply grounded in her music, enfolding listening hearts in calm compassion.
The concert will feature appearances by the Celebrated Twangoleum (pictured above when it was new in the late 1890s). Yes, it’s as odd as it looks, but sounds awfully sweet. You might even get to try playing it…
Sing along with your neighbors, under the protection of Fl!p, an experienced complaint department for shy singers. Back in the 1960s, no one ever had to audition to sing along with We Shall Overcome. It’s time to bring those days back!
Musicians are invited for a 6:30 dinner at our house, 127 Lopez Road #14 with parking at Vortex, followed by Flip’s famous workshop, that she leads at the annual Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, which she founded 45 years ago near Port Orchard.
Here’s what Flip says about her workshop:
“Ergonomics For Musicians: how to be your own coach for form. Musicians are small muscle athletes. Learn how your hands, arms & shoulders work and how to apply that to an instrument. For example, guitarists will learn how to play an F chord with no pain and no strain.
If playing an instrument catches your heart, you are likely to make specific gestures a million times in your life. It’s good to know how to avoid setting up repetitive motion injuries. Problem habits can be hard to spot since resulting injuries can take years to show up. We’ll look at How To Practice – how your brain and body interact. You can have shorter practice sessions with better results. I’ll also show you a helpful strategy for neutralizing stage fright.”
Please forward this amazing opportunity to any other musicians who might be interested in coming.
Flip requests a $20 donation. RSVP in advance firstname.lastname@example.org so we can plan dinner. Bring your favorite beverage or appetizer, s.v.p.
Zeke and Fl!p are playing a rare Seattle house concert this coming Thursday evening, October 3rd, at our friends Dick & Karen Seymour’s home, up by the Woodland Park Zoo. We’d love to see you there! Concert at 7PM, potluck starts at 5:30.. For all the details, look at our calendar, right beside this blog. Or call us at (360)671-4511
I realized recently that one of the things that makes me & Zeke compatible is that neither of us can stand background music. And that the quiet background in our lives leaves room for everything to be a song cue. We live in a musical. Something happens; it reminds one or the other (or both of us) of song; we sing each other a snippet; and we chuckle and go on with our lives. The video above is a snippet that happened just that way.
There was an amazing lightning storm a few weeks ago. It sat over our neighborhood in Bellingham so intensely that it started several fires right in the ‘hood. There was a power line down in a road. Transformers were destroyed and power was out all over our side of town. Lots of sirens wailing. And zero time between brilliant flashes and deafening booms. LOTS of them! We had unplugged our computers, and the router was out, but my phone worked as an internet hotspot so I was able to keep in touch with my neighborhood. No one was injured, though some houses and trees had a hard time, and the Humane Society set up a system to help folks identify all the pets that wound up there.
But the SONGS! Bob Dylan’s “Chimes Of Freedom Flashing.” Steve Sellor’s “Against The Moon.” Both songs keep echoing in my mind even now. I’m trying to get them in good enough shape to bring to the concert. Songs can give us a solid place to stand to get a good look at changes in the world. Sometimes the best ones pick up new meanings as the world changes. I’ve sung Fred Small’s “Denmark 1943” for decades and gotten very relaxed with the intensity of the song. But these days I can’t get through it without tears about the changing world, though I’m getting closer again.
Zeke has newly written songs, old favorites, topical commentary, and some new instrumentals he’s excited about. Because of Zeke’s beloved Sousa marches, rags, and all the complex chords Zeke chooses as settings for his songs, I recently discovered that I can finally hear a Flat Six chord coming, and often nail it. Swing tunes like the one above are less overwhelming than they used to be, and seem more possible. I’m sixty nine, and still learning to play guitar!
We’d love to see you all. Call me if you need a personal invitation to the concert, or if you have any questions.