Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Northern Lights Bluegrass Festival

We set up the tent to the sound of a banjo, waking up at night with loons calling from the nearby lake.  Ate breakfast in the morning with a penny whistle in the distance  and a raven circling close to our camp site with a strangely distressing call

I attended a song-writing break out session led by Tim - the stand up bass player from The Barrel Boys.  Some of the things he said were:
-inspiration may or may not happen.
-pay attention to what is on the fringe because the most interesting things do not show up on the most well trodden path.
-you cannot surprise yourself.
-turn off the filter.  write fearlessly.  later edit mercilessly.
-liberate the creative process by putting things in a box. restrict your options.
-do some free writing every day. 5-10 minutes. then walk away and make coffee
-find the surprise.
-if the idea is outside of yourself, you just need to execute the form. it is less attached to you
-commit to one thing ahead of time. helps to restrict possibilities

The last part of the song writing break out session, of course, was to partner with someone and take a shot at writing a song.  Tim set the restrictions: make this a sad song.  Write a sad song about an animal at camp.  My assigned partner and I tossed around a few ideas, and decided to go with a story about the raven I had heard at breakfast.  We decided it was a sad raven.  We had a few ideas and lines down by the end of the break out, far from done.  The raven story stayed with me... woke me up early in the mornings in the tent till I "finished" it. 

I have written exactly one song in my life.  That was on the shore of a river somewhere in northern Ontario part of the way through a college choir tour.  So here you are - the second song that I have written.  About a sad raven at the Northern Lights Blue Grass and Old Tyme Festival at Ness Creek.
Melody still to be determined.  So no, not technically a song!  A few days later we heard 2 owls hooting at each other in the late afternoon haze.  Sounded territorial but I've rarely heard owls, and certainly not in the daytime.  So maybe they were mad owls.  Sad ravens.  lonely loons. and cheeky blue jays. So many songs could have been written about the birds we heard and saw! But I digress.  (clearing throat). a Sad Raven.

Camp was built on raven land
nests high in the trees
song and smoke and raven's call
drifting on the breeze.

Raven voices reckless
while the banjo's and penny whistles sing
baby raven trying to fly
trying to take wing

mama circling back to you
calling calling
mama circling back to you
calling, calling

light has faded in the smoky sky
and the dew falls wet on the still, black wings
this little baby couldn't learn to fly
while the banjos and fiddles sing

mama circling all around
calling calling
little baby raven on the ground
calling, calling

Camp was built on raven land
nests high in the trees
song and smoke and raven's call
drifting on the breeze.

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