1 year ago, the Purple Prince departed. He was found in his home on the elevator. Unknown wether he was going up or down! lol. Death humor... I know it seems silly to some, but I truly love this man. There is so much people don't know about him. A prolific philanthropist and maybe the most talented artist to have ever graced this planet. Did you know Prince played over 24 instruments masterfully? Sheesh. That was a lot of talent in that little body. I look forward to hearing the 1000's of unheard songs he left tucked away in his vault. He'll be around for a long time to come. Long Live Prince Rogers Nelson!
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A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi
In the early 80's a high school friend invited me to a concert. I hadn't heard of the artist he spoke of, but I liked my friend (he was really cute) so I accepted his invitation. During the show, I remember looking at him (my friend) with jaw dropped in utter disbelief at what I was witnessing and hearing come from that stage. I was blown away to say the least. That was the day I met and fell in love with Stevie Ray Vaughn, guitarist extraordinaire; one of the very best. What an incredible musician. How brightly he burned. And how swifty he left us. Here's to all of the bright stars, those artists who have that certain something, not found anywhere else. This one was a gem. Thanks Stevie. Rock on brother.
Stevie Ray Vaughn playing Hendrixs' "Voodoo Chile."
Journey to My Passion
When I was two, my mother tells me that I stood up on a coffee table, assumed the guitar position, waved my arms and proclaimed, “I want to rock and roll!" She laughed, but something must have resonated with her as my young journey with music began at age four. My mother sent me next door to our neighbor's house, where I took organ lessons. I was pretty overwhelmed by the instrument, and the giant, amazonian, old woman teaching me. I remember my little legs swinging on the organ bench. She would tell me to sit still. I felt so small at that organ. It was somehow, like my teacher, bigger than life. It was hard to wrap my brain around what I could possibly do with all the petals and buttons and sliders and keys… I was curious, but the sound scared me! So, at five, I started violin. I really enjoyed playing it. To this day, it is my most favorite sounding instrument (the strings of Gustav Mahler speak to my soul!). For whatever reason, my days as a young violinist were short lived, and I stopped lessons after the first year, but not before excelling to the top of our group and playing a pretty mean Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! lol! Next, came the baritone horn. Brass! I love brass and playing this horn made me happy. I have actually been thinking about playing it again. As a kid, I lugged it to and from school, which was about a half mile or so from home. After a couple years, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was tired of carrying it! It was a little too much for my nine year old to bare. Then at ten, I asked for piano lessons, promised Mom I would stick with it, she spent thousands and bought me a beautiful upright piano, which still sits in her living room today, and I, stuck it out for four years. Thing was, by the time I was twelve, I had lost interest in classical music, but continued to take lessons anyway for the next two years. During that time, I began writing music; mostly, to fool my mother and father into thinking that I was practicing! lol. What a hoot, thinking about that now. I would simply make stuff up. Somehow it came across believable to the parents, but when I went for my next lesson, my teacher expressed great disappointment in my lack of study. She eventually told me that if I was not going to practice, than I should not waste her time or my parents money. She was right, so I quit. Then came high school in the late 70’s. I was familiar with great artists like Stevie Wonder and Aretha, and Mavis Staples and Gladys Night, and popular 70's bands like the Beatles, the Stones and Simon & Garfunkel, but in 1977, I started listening to groups like Crosby Stills Nash and Young, the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, ELP, etc. My life was forever changed. I wanted to play guitar! My mother said no. I couldn't blame her. She had invested a lot of time and money already. I told her it would be different this time, and preceded to beg her to buy me an acoustic guitar. She told me no again. I pleaded profusely, “But mom, I promise I’ll play it." She had heard that before. "Really mom, you don't even have to pay for lessons. I'll teach myself. You'll see. Really. Mom? Mom? Mom!" It was an uphill battle, but she finally caved in and bought me the guitar. No lessons. I didn’t care. She took me to the music shop, and I picked out a lovely guitar. It cost a whole $150. 00. I was so excited when I got it home and opened the box. The smell of the wood, the ting of the strings, the velvet in the case. That was it, I fell in love and this romance has lasted for nearly forty years, through which time, I have indeed, rocked and rolled, and sang to my hearts’ content! In retrospect, I see now, that it was all a perfect unfolding, leading me right to where my heart was guiding me. I'm grateful to my mother for allowing me to explore, and discover what was and is my passion. Once I found her, she became my lover. There is nothing that feeds my soul more. Music is my direct connection to the Divine, and a source of strength and inspiration. Music allows me to traverse the universe. Music sets me free. Music is everything. Thanks mom.
Death and Freedom
Every now and then I bring this out of the archives. The line up is stellar and I love this song. I wrote it in 1991 and never seem to get sick of it, and it's a fun song for me to play on the guitar. This video was recorded by Ed Golrick in Great Barrington, Ma., not long after my father died. I was a mess after being at his side for 6 weeks straight. This was my first performance since his passing and gosh was I mentally and emotionally drained, just plum worn out and grieving, but the music lifted me. I hope it lifts you too. Great cast of characters: Peter Kim on bass, Jon Weeks - sax, Billy Klock - drums, Alejandro Fuentealba - guitar, Pipoca - percussion, Mother Turtle - vocals, guitar.
Behind The Song "Picture"
Written by Marsia Shuron Harris
Performed by Aye
Produced by David Tortolano and Aye
Recorded by David Tortolano/Cosmo Recording
This song is one of my personal favorites. I wrote it on a rainy day in a loft overlooking the Boston Commons circa 1991. I always enjoy playing this song and can still feel the rain misting on my face, as I remember laying in bed, directly beneath an open skylight during a Fall rainstorm. The pitta patter of the rain is in the rhythm. It all felt so buoyantly surreal and completely bizarre. My muse was wildly amused and danced her dance with me for 48hrs or so. She took me on an incredible journey that was such an unusual though great, adventure. The song was recorded in 2000 by David Tortolano and performed by the duo AYE (Mother Turtle and Adrienne Z. ). Laura Wood does a great job on percussion, and the child's voice at the beginning was one of those magical gifts that happened by accident... not! How odd, this thing called art can be, and, I am ever so grateful for it! Listen to "Picture."