Music to Write to

Rainy immediately made me think of Philip Glass, and what more do you need as far as an introduction? I hope you enjoy this driving and insistent piano piece. The more I listen to it, the more I love it.

Rainy was written by Jaloes (not to be confused with J. Lo—sorry, had to) a songwriter and composer from Madrid, Spain who uses keyboards and computers to create his minimalist pieces.

Luckily for us, Jaloes uploaded Rainy to the Sirenstories SoundCloud just in time for NaNoWriMo :) For those of you who live in a more sane world and have not heard of National Novel Writing Month, you can find out all about it here, and you can read how I got through my first NaNo here.

I always create a soundtracks for my various writing projects and I’ll definitely be adding Rainy to my NaNo playlist. Maybe when November is over, I’ll post a scene that I wrote while listening to Rainy. If you write a scene while listening to Jaloes‘ spare, energetic piano piece, I’d love to see it in the comments section of this post.

Jaloes uploaded another piece to the Sirenstories Soundcloud called Warming Oceans, a beautiful, gentle piece, full of emotion. When I was checking out his links I found the great photo montage he created to go along with the music. Given the oceanic theme of Sirenstories, I just had to post it.  Enjoy!

Jaloes wrote Warming Oceans in 2010 as a protest against rising ocean temperatures that are influencing the climate around the world.

Please visit http://www.jaloes.com to learn more about this wonderful artist.

The Siren Song of Parakeets

Alternative, Indie, Postpunk. These are terms that describe the music of Parakeets.

As I listen to the energetic delivery and guitar riffs of iii I hear the influence of The Police. As I enjoy the insistent, slightly paranoid sounding vocals on iii I can’t help but think of The Talking Heads. The phrasing of the vocals in the beginning of iii actually reminds me of an old Steely Dan song, and there’s a bit of Interpol in Parakeets sound as well. But when the chorus comes in, the song is all David Byrne.

Except that iii isn’t a David Byrne song. It’s a Parakeets song.

Parakeets are from London and they left me this lovely note when I asked for more info about them:

“hi, yes we are parakeets were a alternative band from north london. We like to play for ourselves and work hard at what we do. I like to write and write and i love words. we work towards creating intense energy on stage and i like to harness nervousness and turn it into something energetic and exiting. we would like to see ourselves as a contemporary band on the cutting edge of the indie music scene. we are quite new and shiny we have been playing together as parakeets for just under a year and have played a few shows over the summer. we have recently recorded 11 tracks which are on our bandcamp page. we are currently working on new material at the moment and working toward 2 london dates on the 26th of nov at the enterprise and the 17th of december at the bowery. maybe a physical release isn’t far off.”

I’m looking forward to listening to more Parakeets, but for now, I’ll just pogo around my office.

I floated, greatly
To the graveled court yard
I flattered, shaky
‘neath the railed houses
my wound was a blessed
drenched pretty in red

III lost my sister
III lost my sister
The secret churches
Are not in this world

I looked at you and it cost me my life
Sick of break-point, carried, join us
Sickled tasker, married, asker
Sink-hole bellows from the
Terra-Madre
Kill her this way and kill her that way
We’ve got 5 days who stays who stays
So happy that it shed its skin
Climb high, dig deep, let the thoughts begin

III lost my sister
III lost my sister
The secret churches
Are not in this world

III lost my sister and
III love my sister
The birds sing nicer once or twice
A crippled right a troubled biter

quiet pace against
the past is tired again so
since the days without was pending
and up to . . .

And yes they are quite “new and shiny”, so do them a favor and click on the picture above to go to their fb page and ‘like’ them.

Bright Beams

You Are Projecting from Bright Beams was just the kind of piece I needed to hear today. The beginning of the song is a slowly revealed spacious soundscape that cleared my head and took me away from my desk. Listening to You Are Projecting made me take a minute to just sit and breathe, and that reminded me that there are other things in my life that need my attention besides stories and queries, unfinished manuscripts, workshops, and websites.

Bright Beams marked their track as Lo Fi on the Sirenstories SoundCloud even though the production does become fairly thick with layers by the middle. Which is fine, but it’s the beginning of the piece that I love, with only a voice whispering, “Shh . .  .  ” the start of You Are Projecting is truly Lo Fi, and quite wonderful.

Laptop, Bedroom, Dreampop.

These are the words Bright Beams used to tag their song, and other than those three evocative words, they left no info for me on the Sirenstories SoundCloud. I can’t tell you who they are or where they’re from. I can’t tell you where they’re playing or even if they are ‘they’!

Kind of mysterious . . . but that’s how many Sirens are. Elusive and mysterious.

This is Bright Beams’ avatar. Sea or sky? From what I’ve read, Sirens inhabit both worlds. I think Bright Beams may as well.

Of course I Googled around, but sadly, I didn’t discover the identity or musical history of Bright Beams. I did however find this wonderful poem on my serendipity search. It was waiting for me on the lovely website of the Poetry Foundation.

Avising the Bright Beams

BY SIR THOMAS WYATT

Avising the bright beams of these fair eyes
Where he is that mine oft moisteth and washeth,
The wearied mind straight from the heart departeth
For to rest in his worldly paradise
And find the sweet bitter under this guise.
What webs he hath wrought well he perceiveth
Whereby with himself on love he plaineth
That spurreth with fire and bridleth with ice.
Thus is it in such extremity brought,
In frozen thought, now and now it standeth in flame.
Twixt misery and wealth, twixt earnest and game,
But few glad, and many diverse thought
With sore repentance of his hardiness.
Of such a root cometh fruit fruitless.
Thank you to the Poetry Foundation and to Bright Beams.

The Best Teachers are Sirens

Meet Mrs. McGee . . .

A total Siren, right?

Mrs. McGee is the teacher featured in What Do You Want to Be? a new picture book written by Beth Carter and illustrated by Leo Silva.

I ‘met’ Beth on author David Harrison‘s wonderful blog about two years ago. At that time, I was going to his blog almost every day for inspiration. David has written over eighty children’s books and runs a Word of the Month poetry contest on his site that’s great fun. If you need inspiration, I suggest you try it, the word prompt will get your pen moving. For me, the experience was more about community than contest, and I felt like my poems had a home on David’s site even though they were all really works in progress.

When she found out that What Do You Want to Be? was going to be published, Beth, who lives in Missouri, asked me if I would write a song to go along with her book. I said yes, and last weekend I went up to Woodstock with #MySonIs5 to record the track that What Do You Want to Be? inspired. Hope you enjoy it!

Here are a few pics of #MySonIs5 recording his part at Kevin Salem‘s studio in Woodstock.

After a while, what starts out as fun in the studio becomes work, and even #MySonIs5 begins to feel the pressure . . .

Finally he finishes, and takes a bow. #MySonIs5 has stamina in the studio and—what? What did you just ask me? Did I actually make him listen to old Grateful Dead on the drive home from Woodstock? Um.

Click on the pic of Mrs. McGee to get a copy of Beth Carter‘s book for your kids. If they like the song, tell Beth and she’ll probably send you a copy, or come back and listen any time here on Sirenstories.

To learn more about Beth Carter, visit her blog, Banter with Beth

What Do You Want To Be?  Song lyrics

What do you want to be?

Asked Mrs. McGee

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me

What do you want to be?

What do you want to be?

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me

When I arrived at school today

My teacher smiled and said let’s play

Join me in a circle on the floor

She asked us all what we held dear

The people we loved to be near

And what we thought the future held in store

She gave us crayons & pens & pads

She said, no answer’s wrong or bad

Just think my friends then think a little more

Use pictures, words; free thoughts like birds

Express yourself and you’ll be heard

You’ll learn in part what you are all here for

What do you want to be?

Asked Mrs. McGee

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me

What do you want to be?

What do you want to be?

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me (I don’t know!)

A baker or a builder,                          

Or a swimmer in the sea

A mommy having babies (Maybe!)

Or a maybe a daddy

A dentist, doctor, artist, author                              

Teacher, Forest ranger, or you might like to sing . . . (I’d like that!)

You can do anything!  (Definitely.)

What do you want to be?

Asked Mrs. McGee

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me

What do you want to be?

What do you want to be?

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me

An astronaut, a lawyer

Or a farmer growing trees (Next stop outer space!)

The president, a fireman

A keeper keeping bees

A dancer, banker, preacher, painter

Help save things are endangered (Yeah, like pandas!) maybe you’ll sew . . .

You can give it a go!  (I think I might want to think about this . . .)

What do you want to be?

Asked Mrs. McGee (A baseball player!)

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me

What do you want to be?

What do you want to be?  (A candy maker!)

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me

(A cow!)

(I just want to be me.)