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Fiddle lesson #2 happened!

Today I took another jaunt down to Olympia to see Lisa Ornstein and have fiddle lesson #2. So far, most importantly, I am delighted to report that I am still enjoying the hell out of this, and that there WILL be a lesson #3. And I think the big thing that I took away from today’s lesson is that I need to give myself permission to be patient with myself–because this is not going to be a fast process. I’d like to get to a point eventually where I can play something coherent on a fiddle, but there’s a lot of groundwork that needs to happen to get me there.

So today, Lisa and I did more of that groundwork.

Bow hand

Lisa mentioned a few different ways that players can use to get their fingers into the proper configuration to hold the bow. What appears to work best for me right now is doing a “bunny” configuration, which involves sticking my thumb between my middle and ring fingers, which become the “teeth” of the bunny. My index finger and pinky become the ears.

Then I bring the bow in under the “teeth”, which land first. Then my index finger comes down. Then my pinky, curled so that it sits on the bow. And my thumb comes in to sit in that little notch between the grip and the frog.

And I will definitely have to tell the folks at Violon Trad Qualicum next year that I remembered “don’t crush the bird!” I.e., to try to keep that curl in my thumb. Although this may now become “don’t crush the bunny!” in my brain.

Once we got my bow hand settled, we practiced just moving the bow around in various ways. Pretending to stir soup, and, while holding the bow vertically, raising and lowering it. This is all intended to just get me used to how the fingers feel while holding the thing.

All of which totally reminded me of the conversations at Fiddle Tunes last year about fiddlers and their bows being very much like Harry Potter universe wizards and their wands. The urge to yell EXPELLIARMUS when I’ve got the bow up is strong. Or maybe LUMOS MAXIMA. 😀

And given that I set the Aubrey gif as the featured image of this post, I must also note that I even mentioned Aubrey and Maturin to Lisa, just because of being reminded of that lovely bit in Master and Commander when Jack and Stephen are playing together for the first time:

‘Did you notice my bowing in the pump-pump-pump piece?’ asked Jack.

‘I did indeed. Very sprightly, very agile. I noticed you neither struck the hanging shelf nor yet the lamp. I only grazed the locker once myself.’

I will count it as a victory if I manage not to hit the lamp.

Neck hand

This was harder. I have a pretty good idea at this point about how to get the instrument into place on my shoulder, but there are still challenges with getting my left hand where it needs to be.

Namely, trying to find the optimum way to hold the neck so that my fingers fall in a natural curve, and so that my pinky doesn’t wind up trembling because it’s trying to do too much.

Lisa says that this is a function of how I have pretty tiny fingers (which I knew already and which has proven a bit of a challenge on some of my bigger flutes). So we had to experiment some with how to hold the neck. We tried various thumb placements, as well as settling the instrument in my lap as if it were a guitar, which is more familiar territory to me.

We haven’t yet found the optimum way for me to do this. I’m going to experiment more.

Bringing the hands together

I did actually make a couple of noises, it must be said! There was some general plucking on the E string, just to practice landing my fingers in the general area of where they need to be to hit notes. I surprised myself a bit with not missing the frets as much as I was expecting, though having no frets did still wig me out a little. But I did manage to land the notes in the ballpark. Not perfect, but they didn’t have to be; I am, after all, a total newbie here.

But we did also get me to the point of laying bow on strings and playing a few open notes, just pulling the bow back and forth in short motions and then a couple long ones. Which began to answer some of the questions that have been bubbling around in the back of my head re: how exactly bow motion on the strings works. Getting to actually experience that was fun!

More experimenting will have to happen there, too.


I told Lisa about my medical history, which was relevant to the lesson in that it impacts how a lot of my back muscles, my shoulders, and the base of my neck tend to get cranky and carry a lot of stress. So we worked a lot on practicing being aware of my shoulders and neck, and how to stand and hold the instrument in a way that puts least stress on those parts of my body. And we talked about several exercises I can do to gently strengthen my abs, all in the name of laying more groundwork.

Because, important to note: what I’ve already learned because of my medical history about my pain thresholds and being on top of that has to apply here. If I start hurting my wrists and hands, or any other part of me, that means stop what I’m doing. Playing through the pain is not necessary, and not useful, and is in fact actively harmful.

And the other lesson here is this: it’s okay to go slow. I need to give myself permission to be patient, and not expect to get immediately to making coherent noises. If I want to play a tune right now, that’s what I’ve got the flutes and whistles for.

The violin is a totally different experience, though, and I need to give it the respect it deserves and proceed slowly and carefully. After all, I didn’t learn to play the flute immediately, either. Or the guitar.

This lesson even turned out longer than expected–but we covered a lot of ground, and made it worth it that I drove all the way down to Olympia for the afternoon. 😀 Very much looking forward to lesson #3!


In category Simultaneously Exciting and Terrifying

So y’all know how I’ve been talking about going to things like Fiddle Tunes, and the Andre Brunet workshop in Qualicum, and how I’m desperately wanting to go to Camp Violon Trad? And in general kind of being sheepish about it because hi, not a fiddle player?

Well, um, yeah. I might be about to change that.

Because here’s the thing: those wonderful instruction experiences I’ve been having, in which I’ve been able to crash the party and slurp up tunes on my flutes while all the fiddle players are getting tips on technique and such, have been percolating around in my brain. My brain which, I might add, has always been partial to the fiddle. There are reasons Kendis is a fiddle player, after all.

Reasons like how several of my favorite musicians at this point are fiddlers (Bob Hallett of Great Big Sea, Alexander James Adams, the aforementioned Andre, Olivier Demers of Le Vent du Nord, the amazing Lisa Ornstein, Jocelyn Pettit, and of COURSE all the excellent fiddlers in our session group).

Like how some of my very favorite recorded songs in the history of ever are ones where the fiddle just takes me right out at the knees (AJA’s “Faerie Queen” and “Tomorrow We Leave for Battle”, Le Vent du Nord’s “Manteau d’hiver”, De Temps Antan’s “La fee des dents”, and that one sweet piercing moment in the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme over the credits where one long lingering violin chord just shoots right down to my bones).

Like how some of my favorite fictional characters have been violin players. Especially this guy!

Captain Aubrey

Captain Aubrey

And Kili and Fili from The Hobbit, at least the book! (I am sad, SAD I SAY, that that detail was left out of the movies, but what music we did get in the movies was awesome enough that I forgive them that problem.)

And really, fiddle players are all over the goddamn place in fantasy novels. Any fantasy series that involves bards, you’re going to find fiddle players. Urban fantasy, too. Huff and Lackey and de Lint all come immediately to mind as having books that feature bards in prominent roles–and if the protagonists of certain stories are not themselves fiddlers, then somebody they know WILL be.

But also Sherlock Holmes. And Data is worth an honorable mention even though he was never one of my major favorite Star Trek characters–I AM a Trekkie, so he gets to count!

And all of this has finally exploded in my brain with a huge urge to see if I can actually learn how to make noises on a fiddle myself. I have in fact been moved to rent an instrument, and I have now engaged the aforementioned Lisa Ornstein for at least a couple of initial beginner-level lessons. The plan here is going to be, see if I can get used to the physical mechanics of playing the instrument, with the help of an experienced teacher. And, depending on how that goes, then decide if I want to seriously pursue taking it up as a second melody instrument.

Because yeah, I really need the help of an experienced teacher here. Flutes and whistles, no problem, I can play those! Self-taught on the guitar? ON THAT. Sprinkling of mandolin and bouzouki, sure why not!

But the fiddle is its very own strange and wonderful beast, one that fills me with simultaneous awe and dread. Dara found me the perfect GIF to express what goes through my brain when I think of trying to play one without help.

This is About Right, Yep

This is About Right, Yep

Now, though? Now I’ve actually gone to Kenmore Violins (which, as it happened, is run by a gentleman who even lives in our neighborhood), and I’ve rented me a student-grade fiddle.

And I’ve arranged to go see Lisa Ornstein this weekend!

You guys. This is going to be FUN.



Concert review: Fellowship of the Ring, by the Seattle Symphony

Title Card

Title Card

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: Seattle is a wonderful town to be a nerd. We’re such a bastion of glorious nerdery that even our symphony hall every so often celebrates hallowed icons of nerddom.

Like, say, doing a showing of Fellowship of the Ring while the Seattle Symphony and Chorale do a live performance of the entire musical score.

Dara and I went to this last night, and I’m here to tell you guys, it was glorious.

First, about their showing of the movie. They did the theatrical cut, not the extended, which I have to admit was odd to watch after so many of my viewings over the years since Fellowship‘s release have been of the extended edition. So I did miss a lot of things that I’d come to expect as part of this movie’s experience, such as Frodo and Sam seeing the elves on their way out of the Shire, Aragorn’s singing a bit of the Lay of Luthien, and a lot of the mileage in Lothlorien (notably, Galadriel revealing to Frodo her bearing Nenya, the Ring of Adamant). Ultimately, though, this was the right choice. The theatrical cut is already pretty long, and they did an intermission as well, which added extra time to the already lengthy amount of time required to be at Benaroya for the show.

Also, they ran the movie with subtitles on. This too was the correct choice, since through a good portion of the performance, the music actually came through louder than the dialogue. I initially found this odd and slightly vexing, but I quickly got over it. For one thing, the point of this show was after all to hear the score being performed live. For another thing, it ain’t like I didn’t already know the movie backwards and forwards.

And, as it happened, watching it with the subtitles on actually gave Dara and me a chance to catch stuff we’d never caught before! Because there are a few moments here and there throughout the movie where characters are throwing off incidental little bits of dialogue that are obscured by surrounding action, and it was delightful to be able to finally catch those.

The first of these was when Gandalf shows up at Bag End, and Bilbo’s rambling on about what he can offer Gandalf to eat as he wanders through his pantry and kitchen. The second was also Bilbo, greeting attendees who show up for the birthday party–at which point I actually finally caught that he greeted Fatty Bolger! (Who, of course, is a notable side character at the very beginning of the book, and who is actively involved in the hobbit conspiracy to get Frodo and the Ring safely out of the Shire.) The third is when the hobbits have just fallen down the hill running away from Farmer Maggot, and the focus is on Frodo looking down the road at the imminent arriving Black Rider, while the other hobbits are nattering in the background about the mushrooms they’ve just discovered. The last is also with the hobbits–this time on Weathertop when Aragorn has had them stop to make camp, and Frodo catches the others cooking on a VERY obvious campfire. I finally caught that Pippin complained about Frodo kicking ash onto his tomato. Ha!

So even though this was the theatrical cut of the movie, it did actually give me a chance to find out new things about it. And that was delightful.

But all of this is of course secondary to the whole point of hearing the live performance of the score.

And oh. My. Gods. It was beautiful. Dara and I happened to be at the very back of the main floor–we had two seats immediately to the left of the sound engineer’s console, as it happened. So acoustically speaking, we weren’t in an optimal spot. But even given that, I was left breathless multiple times just by the added depth and dimension of the score. I own the full extended version of the soundtracks of all three of these movies, and I’ve listened to them multiple times. But listening to them on good headphones doesn’t have a patch on listening to a live symphony do it.

In a live setting, I had the distinct pleasure of catching a lot of little nuances and details of various themes, details that are often (like the aforementioned incidental dialogue) obscured by the action of scenes. A notable example of this is during the Council of Elrond, while everyone on screen is arguing about who should take the Ring to Mordor. The orchestra lays down this little storm of metallic, clanging accents that are very evocative of clashing weaponry, and which are an amazing accent to the visual of Frodo staring anxiously at the Ring and seeing a vision of fire playing along its shape. I could not actually see what they were doing to make those noises–they didn’t sound necessarily like just the horn section–but it sounded amazing.

We had not one but two choirs singing for this performance: the Seattle Symphony Chorale, but also the Northwest Boychoir. I am particularly partial to listening to what the Chorale does, given that two friends of mine and Dara’s are chorale members. And I am delighted to say that the chorales performed splendidly. All the women’s voices came through with a clear sweetness for themes during the scenes in Rivendell and Lothlorien, and there were multiple points where they sang where I thought, again, how wonderful it was to get extra depth and dimension to the score. Likewise, when the men all stood up in Moria, I got a lovely thrill of anticipation as I thought oh shit it’s Balrog time.

Specific props as well to these instrumentalists:

  • The chimes player. I intellectually knew that chimes were present in the score, but in this performance, the chimes were one of the details that stood out with crystalline clarity in the acoustics of the hall.
  • The brass section. They stood out for me in particular when Boromir makes his first appearance in Rivendell, and they kicked in with his theme at that point.
  • The contrabasses. I had an eye on them through many of the deeper themes, like the theme for Isengard/the orcs, and at assorted points in Moria. From my point at the very back of the hall I could barely catch what they were doing, but more than once I saw them doing interesting-looking strikes on their strings.
  • Whatever wind player was doing the Shire theme solos. I wasn’t entirely sure what instrument it was, whether it was a clarinet or an oboe, but it was lovely and reedy.

And speaking of solos, I have got to mention the solos by the vocalists. Alex Zuniga, boy soprano, had an achingly lovely high range. And soprano Kaitlyn Lusk took several solos–notably, during Rivendell for Arwen and Aragorn’s scenes together, and especially at the end over the credits, when she sang the hell out of “May It Be”. And don’t get me wrong, I love the take of that song as sung by Enya. But Lusk had some extra color to her voice that you don’t normally get out of Enya, and that added a whole new layer of nuance to that song for me.

And with Lusk and Zuniga together doing their solos over the credits, well. Let’s put it this way: usually when I watch this trilogy, it takes Return of the King to get me crying over the credits. This time, I cried for Fellowship. Because after hearing Lusk’s solos during the actual movie, I had a very strong suspicion of what she’d do with “May It Be”, and I even sat forward on my seat in anticipation. She did not disappoint in the slightest.

Also worth noting was the audience reactions to various bits of the performance. Laughter broke out for several of the lighter-hearted bits, such as Merry and Pippin raiding Gandalf’s fireworks. And applause broke out for Aragorn taking down the head Uruk-hai in the final battle, just after Boromir’s death. My favorite audience reaction moment, though, was at the very end when Frodo’s standing there by the water, flashing back to his conversation with Gandalf, and you see his indecision on his face. There was a palpable hush in the hall, just before Frodo determinedly closes his fingers around the Ring and continues forward, with the orchestra gliding in to underscore his resolution. Beautiful.

In short, most expensive movie I’ve ever attended–but worth every penny spent on the tickets. My fellow Tolkien fans, if you’re fortunate enough to live in a town where your symphony can put on a performance like this, go. You’ll be happy you did.

And I will absolutely be attending if the Seattle Symphony decides they’ll also do The Two Towers and Return of the King. Because after this performance, I will live in sweet piercing anticipation of hearing “Into the West” sung in Benaroya Hall.


Theater review: Come From Away, by the Seattle Repertory Theater

Anybody who’s hung around me and/or read my blog for more than five minutes running already knows about my longstanding love of Great Big Sea and of Newfoundland traditional music. With this in mind, it should surprise exactly none of you that I positively adored Come From Away, the new musical by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, being put on right now at the Seattle Repertory Theater.

A bit of background, first. In Newfoundland parlance, a “Come From Away” is a visitor to the province. The reason this is relevant is because what this play’s about is the story of how the town of Gander, Newfoundland (and several other small surrounding communities) had to play sudden host to 38 planes’ worth of shocked travelers on 9/11. When American airspace was locked down, all those planes, without a place to land, had to lay over in Gander. The musical is all about what happened, how the “plane people” reacted to being in such a remote place, and how the locals rose to the occasion and opened their communities, homes, and hearts to all these incoming people.

And, hands down, I loved this story from start to finish. The cast was amazing. Every single member of the cast flipped seamlessly between playing locals and playing “plane people”, often of multiple nationalities in the case of the latter. Thanks to my long familiarity with Great Big Sea as well as the chance to visit Newfoundland in 2012, I was able to note with pleasure that assorted Newfoundland accents and dialogue were absolutely authentic-sounding to my ears.

Also thanks to my long familiarity with Great Big Sea, I was very happy to hear that Bob Hallett of same was the musical consultant. I had this to say on the matter on Twitter:

Mr. Hallett, bless ‘im, RTed that right up. 😀 Because yeah. All throughout the production, the musicians were back there laying down rhythms that sounded very, very familiar. And the instrumentation was a welcome joy as well, with a fiddler, an accordion, a whistle, a flute, and even a bouzouki. (Which delighted me to hear, and leads me to wonder if this production will now be responsible for helping more than five people in this town, outside the local Irish and Quebecois session crowds, actually know what a bouzouki is!)

Story-wise, dealing with subject matter like 9/11, you can’t help but tread a little carefully. But I feel this production did a splendid job of it, treating it with the gravity it deserved (particularly in the number “Something’s Missing”, in which several of the plane people, getting back to New York, react to the absence of the towers). At the same time they leavened it with a great deal of joy and humor and smaller-scale stories. There are two different relationships talked about in the plot, a straight pairing and a gay one. There’s a friendship that blooms between a teacher with a son who’s a firefighter and one of the locals who tries to reassure her in her worry over whether her son is okay. And amongst the minor characters, one of my favorites is the woman from the SPCA who made it her personal quest to see to all the animals who’d been traveling on the planes along with the people.

There was also welcome diversity amongst the characters represented, even aside from the gay couple (who happen to both be named “Colin”). Props to Caesar Samayoa, who, in addition to his playing one of the two Colins, also played an Egyptian character named Ali who had to react to the mistrust of other plane people as well as the initial nervousness of the locals about his presence. Rodney Hicks was excellent both in the role of a black man thoroughly blown away by how he’s treated in Gander vs. how he’s used to being treated at home (and some of the exchanges he has with the mayor are among the funniest bits in the dialogue), and an African traveler who demonstrates the need for a lot of the locals to figure out fast how to communicate with people who aren’t English speakers.

Similarly, the plot gives space to people of other religions as well. Samayoa’s character Ali, along with two actresses in headscarves, deliver understated yet powerful performances during the number “Prayer”, interwoven with the other Colin (played by Chad Kimball) talking about how he kept flashing back to a hymn he’d remembered from his childhood.

The set design was minimal, yet the cast made it work beautifully. There was a big rotating area in the middle of the stage, which lent a lot of motion to the choreography. Everyone kept nimbly moving chairs and other bits of furniture around to emulate the local Tim Hortons where the Gander folk liked to hang out, assorted planes and schoolbusses, and assorted places all throughout Gander where the plane people sheltered, visited, and did their best to try to absorb the magnitude of what had driven them all to have to land there.

Given my commentary about the music above, though, it’ll also surprise none of you that my favorite number was absolutely “Screech In”, wherein the locals realize they need to help their visitors blow off some steam fast, or else things are going to get ugly. So there’s a great big lively dance number set in a bar, wherein four of the plane people get to be “screeched in”–and for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a Newfoundland custom wherein you get named an honorary Newfoundlander if you do all the steps. There’s kissing of cod involved, not to mention the actual screech–which is rum. It’s delightful. And one of the reasons I really need to get back to Newfoundland is to be properly screeched in on Newfoundland soil!

It was during that bit, though, where we got the emotional turning points of the plotlines involving the aforementioned couples–set off against music that damn near made me leap out of my chair. They did “Heave Away”, you guys! I have this song. Three recordings of it, in fact, by the Fables (my second favorite Newfoundland band after Great Big Sea), the Punters, and the Bombadils. I had to sing along at least a little on the choruses!

And oh, there’s a lot more I could go into detail about. But I will satisfy myself with calling out two more of my favorite humor bits. One was the quick representations of assorted mayors of Newfoundland communities by holding up prop mustaches and hats in front of actor Joel Hatch, who was playing all of the mayors in question. And the other was the joke about “do you know why Newfoundlanders are so terrible at knock knock jokes?” (Answer: “Here, let me demonstrate for you! I’ll be a Newfoundlander.” “Knock knock!” “C’mon in, the door’s open!”)

And massive, massive props to actress Jenn Colella. She played Beverly, one of the pilots of the planes, and her character was powerful and authoritative and absolutely riveting; she gets a great number to herself, “Me and the Sky”, talking about her history becoming one of the first female captains with American Airlines, and her reactions to hearing about how one of the pilots on one of the downed planes was a guy she’d just seen back in London. Props as well to her comedic talents as she also played one of the locals of Gander, notable by her propensity to keep fantasizing about assorted men amongst the plane people. ;D

All in all: very, very grateful that Dara and I were able to score standby tickets for this show. I’m told that the remaining shows in the Seattle area are sold out, but I have got to say to any locals who read me: if you can see this show, by all means, do so! I left very happy indeed, and doubly pleased that I was able to stop in the theater shop beforehand and grab one of the CDs on sale (Manhattan Island Sessions, by Caitlin Warbelow, the stage band’s fiddle player), as well as a copy of The Day the World Came to Town, the book detailing the real-life events on which this musical is based. Very, very much looking forward to diving into both of these!

Many congratulations to all hands involved with this show!


Going to Fiddle Tunes!

This summer I will be doing a first for me: going to a musical workshop camp! Specifically, I’m going to Fiddle Tunes!

“But Anna,” I hear you cry, “you’re not a fiddle player!” This is true! But I am a guitarist, and there are several guitarists that will be teaching at this camp. Most notably, André Marchand!

If you know anything about Quebecois music at all, you may know this man’s name. At minimum, if you know anything about La Bottine Souriante, you’ve very likely heard him. He’s a veteran of the genre, with a long history with La Bottine and later with Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer. He also has recorded with flautist Grey Larsen, is one third of the trio Le Bruit Court Dans La Ville (all of whom will also be at Fiddle Tunes!), and has recorded with a few of the other Charbonniers gentlemen under the name Les Mononcles as well.

While my blatant fangirling is reserved for Le Vent du Nord and De Temps Antan, my general musical respect for the Quebecois trad genre owes a lot to Monsieur Marchand. He’s an excellent singer–several of my repeat-play La Bottine and Charbonniers tracks are things he sings lead on. But he’s also a fine guitarist, and I feel I would be entirely bonkers crazypants to pass up a chance to learn from him.

Bonus: my pal Dejah will also be there, and she will in fact be acting as M. Marchand’s assistant, providing translation assistance to help jump the language barrier. And a bit of a musical barrier as well, since Francophones use a system of scales oriented around “do re mi fa so la ti do”–so what an English speaker thinks of as the key of C, a French speaker’s going to be calling the key of do. D becomes re, E becomes mi, and so on.

I am very much looking forward to tackling this. Not only for exposure to a different way of thinking about musical scales, not only for a chance to learn from a veteran of the Quebecois trad genre (and maybe get in a bit of practice listening to someone speak French), but in general to just be able to sit down with people who know what they’re doing and improve my general ability to play. I feel like I’ve gone about as far as I can on my own, as a self-taught guitarist who just likes to doink around with the instrument. Talking to skilled musicians and learning from them will open up all sorts of new and exciting things to practice!

I’ll also be taking my carbon fiber flutes and the good whistle, mind you–because if any all-melody-instrument tunes sessions break out, I want to be prepared to practice learning those, too. And there will be some organization of participants into bands, too! So maybe somebody will want a flute or a whistle. 😀

These musical shenanigans will be taking place in the last week of June, and will be taking place out in Port Townsend in Washington–which is the other reason I want to go to this thing. It’s a camp I can get to by car. And since I won’t need to get on a plane, I can bring the General.

Because if I’m going to learn from a veteran of the Quebec trad genre, better believe I want to bring the good guitar!

SO EXCITED. This is going to be huge fun. Y’all may expect I’ll report on the experience in depth!


What I can do with a guitar

As I have previously squeed about, O Internets, I just had a delightful time scampering up to BC again to see De Temps Antan! This time though there were specific opportunities to make musical noises myself in a house that happened to contain three of my favorite musicians–even aside from André’s workshop, there was also the after-concert session, and I did in fact wind up making noises on both my flutes and my guitar.

Trust me when I tell you that the prospect of making musical noises of my own in any room that contains these boys is simultaneously deeply exciting and nerve-wracking! I’m comfier on my flutes since those are my native instrument–so that did help. And so did the knowledge that I had the General with me. Because you better believe that if I was going to show up in Éric Beaudry’s proximity with a guitar, I was going to bring the good guitar.

Not that I actually played in the same room as Éric, and I don’t really have enough play-by-ear fu yet to be the backup guitar for a full roaring session. But I did wind up hanging out in one of the other rooms while I was chatting with Aussie Ian, and noodled around a lot on various songs I know. Because as will surprise none of you, I get the General in my hands, I start playing Great Big Sea.

And if you want to have an idea of what else I’m likely to do with a guitar in my hands, here now though is a roundup of Stuff I Can Do With the Guitar.

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Bone Walker, Music

A long overdue Kickstarter update

I’m still dealing with my obligations to Carina Press for the Rebels of Adalonia trilogy, which means I haven’t been able to put attention to finishing up editing Bone Walker and prepping it for release. To wit: AUGH.

Meanwhile, Dara and I both have had medical crap to deal with, as many of you know–my medical crap from last fall, as well as Dara’s eye surgeries, plural. She’s got another one coming as well, since she developed cataracts after the last procedure, and that’s got to be dealt with. To wit: AUGH.

AND, as Dara’s been posting about a lot lately, she’s had to throw a LOT of time into renovation of one of the tenant spaces in MurkSouth. This has taken a huge amount of her time and our money, though now she’s finally finished with that, and if I may say so she’s worked magic in that kitchen. You can see before and after pics here.

BUT, we do finally have some progress to report! Even though I’ve been stymied on dealing with the book, Dara’s made some progress on getting the soundtrack done. She’s had significant progress on the instrumental sets–and we do also have some very, VERY exciting news.

We got Alexander James Adams.

Those of you in the Pacific Northwest fandom community, and hell, any of you who are into filk and SF/F-based or pagan-based music at all–you know who I’m talking about. He who stepped in to take up the mantle of song when Heather Alexander went off to Faerie. THAT Alexander James Adams. We are beyond delighted to have him joining us on this project, lending not only fiddle, but backup vocals and some drum work to various tracks.

And now Dara’s got a preview track to share with you all. It’s right over here!

This album is going to ROCK. 😀