musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Page 2 of 108

Paris Combo

photo by Jorge Fidel Alvarez

photo by Jorge Fidel Alvarez

Performing January 19th at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston.

Are you in the mood for some slinky, silky jazz, Parisian style? Take an exotic trip without straying too far from home. The eclectic Paris Combo will be embarking on a tour that will feature their delightfully exotic music that combines “swinging gypsy jazz, cabaret, French pop, plus Latin and Middle Eastern rhythms.”

Starting on January 6, they’ll be in Washington, D.C.; Seattle; Berkeley and Folsom, California; Minneapolis, Chicago and Boston, before heading back to perform in France. Incredibly, this will be their 20th tour. Their most recent studio album is Tako Tsubo, and earlier this year they released an album of remixes from some of France’s top DJs, Paris Combo, Remixed. They’ve been working on material for a new album, and will premiere the songs on this tour.

The band features the seductive vocals of their charismatic chanteuse Belle du Berry (who also plays accordion), along with Django-influenced guitarist and banjo player Potzi, Australian-born trumpeter and pianist David Lewis, drummer-crooner François Jeannin and virtuoso bassist, Benoit Dunoyer de Ségonzac. For certain shows, they will also be joined by Rémy Kapriélan on percussion, vocals and sax.

Each member has a unique musical pedigree. Belle du Berry was in post-punk bands in the late 1980s, with influences as diverse as the B-52s, Arletti (a French singer-actress of the 1930s) and the Surrealists. Potzi’s guitar stylings are influenced by his own North African heritage and Belgian-born Romani-French jazz guitarist and composer Django Reinhardt. Lewis previously played with various Parisian bands, such as Arthur H and Manu Dibango. François adds his ska or Latin grooves to the potent mix.

They released their debut in 1997, and their second album, Living Room (1999), went gold. In 2004-5, they played three shows at the Hollywood Bowl. After a five-year hiatus, they returned to performing in 2011 and once again performed at the Hollywood Bowl, with a symphony orchestra. A fifth album followed, with a national U.S. tour in 2013-2014, in addition to other shows around the world.

Last year, they put out their sixth album (Tako Tsubo) and touring the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Tako Tsubo embraces a wide variety of musical styles, from their tight-knit combo to lush orchestral music to ’60s retro with psychedelic touches. They describe the subject matter as being about “the human physique and the way our emotional and physical beings interact.”

web | facebook | twitter | instagram | soundcloud | youtube | spotify

share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Another Entrance to the Attic and to One’s Creativity

The Home Improvement Series, Part 10 of 10

HIS_AtticStairs

The problem: The only entrance to the attic was precarious and dangerous, making it difficult to access.

The metaphor: In dream interpretation, the attic of a house frequently represents spirituality and higher thought. Adding a second entrance is like finding another way to access one’s higher purpose and creative aspirations. At the same time I had a contractor install pull-down attic stairs, I started meditating again, so that I could be calmer and better access my creativity.

share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Insulating Oneself Against the Cold, and the Darker Places in One’s Mind

The Home Improvement Series, Part 9 of 10

HIS_AtticInsulation

The problem: The vermiculite abatement (see The Home Improvement Series, Part 4) also stripped the attic of its insulation, just ahead of a New England winter. Not good. For me, a person who hates being cold (it must have been a previous life experience), new insulation was essential.

The metaphor: It wasn’t just about restoring physical warmth. It felt like I was craving emotional warmth and protection from the darker, colder thoughts, in addition to the elements. It was also about making the most of one’s circumstances, and about being comfortable in one’s own skin.

share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Fitting It All Together: The Repairing of Door Frames

The Home Improvement Series, Part 8 of 10

HIS_FramedDoor

The problem: Things weren’t quite fitting right.

The metaphor: Squaring up the frame to accept a new door felt like working on the structure of one’s life. Sometimes, one must examine our structured life to make sure it will allow for new ideas and experiences to come in.

It is important to have structure in one’s life, to face the world and come at new challenges from a secure and steady place, but it is possible to become overly rigid. A dear friend once said to me that one of the most important lessons we can learn as we get older is to be flexible.

share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

New Doors Will Open to New Possibilities

The Home Improvement Series, Part 7 of 10

HIS_OpenDoor

The problem: Corrosion, and in some cases, an incorrect type of door. For example, a door to the garage that houses a gas burner must be fire-resistant, not made of wood. A crappy wooden interior door with no insulation and no deadbolt is not a good idea for an outside door.

The metaphor: I must keep myself secure from negative outside influences and distractions that keep me from my important work. But at the same time, doors allow escape from confinement, and they allow others in.

New doorways can represent new possibilities, as in a direction not previously investigated. As one steps across a threshold, choosing a new direction, one learns more about oneself and the world.

share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

New Windows, Better Access and a Fresh Outlook

The Home Improvement Series, Part 6 of 10

HIS_OpenWindow

The problem: The windows were broken — hard to open; even more difficult to close.

The metaphor: I am hoping for a clearer vision outside of myself and my immediate surroundings. Also, when the windows are clear, when defenses are cautiously lowered, others are allowed to see in.

In the past, I have had difficulty in navigating access to the outside world. The question has always been: What do you share and what do you keep private? Once you give others complete access, it is difficult to pull that access away. You may be seen as insincere. It is best to have clear boundaries from the beginning. But don’t be too difficult to open.

share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

A Rasta Hanukkah – The Temple Rockers’ Festival of Lights

It seems like an unlikely pairing, yet when you first hear The Temple Rockers’ just-released Hanukkah album, Festival of Lights, you’ll be amazed at how seamlessly (and beautifully) they blend sleek reggae with jubilant, horn-laden traditional Jewish klezmer. The Temple Rockers celebrate Jewish and Rasta traditions, finding common ground for their deeply spiritual and heartwarming music.

The Temple Rockers, based in Ithaca, New York, features members of 10 Ft. Ganja Plant, John Brown’s Body and Big Man Sound Machine. Festival of Lights was produced by their bassist David Solid Gould and is the premiere release on his new label, Fresh Roots Records. On the album, the band is joined by legendary Jamaican singers Ansel “Meditations” Cridland, Wayne Jarrett and Linval Thompson. The album features songs commonly heard during Hanukkah. It’s tremendously uplifting and hopeful, at a time when we need it the most.

Discover the perfect soundtrack for the holiday season (and something to lift your spirits, anytime at all). Download the album from the band’s bandcamp. It can also be purchased on Amazon.

web | facebook | instagram | bandcamp | youtube | fresh roots records

share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

A Small, Rotting, Rickety Old Porch

The Home Improvement Series, Part 5 of 10

HIS_OldPorch2

The problem: Sometimes something that’s old and no longer viable must be fully knocked down and cleared out before you can begin anew. In a physical sense, it was an old wooden enclosed front porch—tiny, nearly useless and sinking fast into the ground. The entire thing was pitched at an angle, the roof no longer level. Long ago, carpenter ants had feasted and moved on to more fertile surroundings. It was long past time for me to move on as well.

The metaphor: Like the old porch, I had become rickety in my belief and confidence. I needed to break out of the narrow confines of my self-image and into a more expansive space where I had room to grow.

It’s about expanding one’s boundaries, real or imagined, and setting one’s sights on broader possibilities and a wider horizon. The new porch will be made larger and open to the outdoors. There will be expanded vision, out to the ocean and to the open sky, getting out of my comfort zone and out of a restricted space, into the larger world.

Remade of stronger material, we will be resilient in the face of strong winds, challenges and adversity.

share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

What’s a Little Asbestos Between Friends?

a.k.a. The Vermiculite Abatement

The Home Improvement Series, Part 4 of 10

HIS_Abatement1

The problem: Nasty vermiculite in the attic, under and around fiberglass batting. Extremely difficult to accurately test, as samples can vary and asbestos fibers settle over time. It was tested by the manufacturer for barium, which indicated that it was indeed theirs, and most probably contained asbestos. The presence of this godawful substance seriously complicates the sale of a home and renders the entire space virtually unusable (unless one wishes to take chances with one’s health). Not to mention the fact that it’s as messy as all get-out, and ends up everywhere if you’re not careful. The presence of vermiculite nullifies eligibility for energy efficiency rebates.

A little history: Vermiculite as an insulation material may have seemed like a good idea at the time (1920s, when the mine began operation, until 1990), but as it happened, like so many things, it was a really bad idea. The infamous Libby, Montana mine, owned by the W.R. Grace Company, became embroiled in controversy in the ’90s, when people in and around the mine began dying of asbestos-related illnesses. It was discovered that the mine was contaminated with asbestos. As part of a court settlement, money was eventually awarded to former miners, Libby residents and homeowners who used their Zonolite product (more than 35 million homes).

The metaphor: For a while now, I have been locked inside a mental prison, not seeing or believing that things in my life can change. Removal of mental toxins like old guilt, fear, uncertainty and lack of confidence is critical to my future well-being. I have been existing within narrow confines, not wanting to take changes, but the time has come to stretch out and explore other areas of experience, so I can reach my full potential.

share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

New Roof, Higher Aspirations

The Home Improvement Series, Part 3 of 10

HIS_NewRoof1

The problem: The roof of my porch had started to leak, and I was fearful that the winter winds would bring further damage.

The metaphor: These past few years, I have been feeling shaky and vulnerable — physically, emotionally and spiritually. This year, I have been fortifying myself for whatever lies ahead, while trying to leave myself open to new ideas and opportunities.

It made sense to construct a protective barrier, like the roof’s new protective barrier against ice and harsh conditions. A ridge vent lets fresh air in, and I try to not close myself off completely from other people and new experiences. After threatening for years to move to the West Coast, I decide to stay on the East Coast for the time being, and focus on bettering my situation and my perception of the situation. Much of everything is perception.

share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Page 2 of 108

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén