This Could Be Yours

ThisCouldBeYours

This Could Be Yours is certainly an evocative name, but maybe this Berlin based band should be called They Could Be Huge. They’ve got all the ingredients for pop stardom.

A pulsing  body of an indie/postrock song lying in an atmospheric electronica bed, At Your Feet is intense, yet almost delicate at the same time. It’s driving, but contemplative.

I hit the road
Become insane
If those forces really please you
I will be the one that you never see again

It’s a misery that’s fitting
“Desperation Of The Day”
And you don’t seem to know
All those ghosts around here
seizing hold of your friends

Oh yes, you were laughing out loud
To witness the words that you’re spitting
Shuts my mouth

You never know when to stop
You never fall

Down at my spot
Decomposing and decay
Please don’t open up those eyelids
Don’t you get a glimpse of that
dwarf at your feet

Oh yes, you were laughing out loud
To witness the words that you’re spitting
Shuts my mouth

To silence you once for all 
Every minute that I stayed
This plan did grow
I wanna make you lose
I could have sworn

You never know when to stop
You never fall

This Could Be Yours is Max Wiegand (Vocals, Guitar), Levin Siert (Guitar), Fabian Haupt (Drums), and Jan Möller (Bass).
Max was kind enough to tell me a bit about the band.

ThisCouldBeYoursBandShot

“The core of the band has existed for about ten years now. Everything started in a town called Bremerhaven which belongs to Bremen but is 60 km more far to the north. The three of us (Fabi, Levin, and me ) grew up close to the northern sea. The last missing member, Jan, is from Berlin originally, and took over the bass almost two years ago. We came to Berlin in late 2009, where we went through various changes, not just in line-up but also in terms of music. Also the name ‘This Could Be Yours’ was found here.”

I love the way Max says that the name of the band was “found”, as if it was waiting for them.

The official music video for At Your Feet is equal to the song, a combination of video and animation that is just as pleasing as the mix of musical styles.

This Could Be Yours will announce some new tour dates soon. Hope NYC makes the list, because I love these guys. Even without the stage makeup.

ThisCouldBeYours3

The Visual Music of Kamil Vojnar

Sirenstories usually features music, but after I came across several pieces online by visual artist Kamil Vojnar, I really wanted to write about his gorgeous work. I say wanted to because I did want to, and I tried, but I’m so enamored by his images, I’m  finger-tied. It seems I care too much.

This is the first piece by Kamil Vojnar that I fell in love with. In. Love.

I was searching for an image to represent Sirenstories, not this blog, but the YA trilogy of the same name that I’m writing. This spring I’ll be working with an editor who will help me shape and polish the first book, and someone suggested I use kickstarter to fund the work. But I needed an image to attract people to my project.

When I found Kamil’s Siren standing above the beach, I gasped in recognition. He is one of the characters from my trilogy.

But I don’t think  that would please Kamil Vojnar. Even if I created the most memorable character in literary history, even if I made him heroic, and brilliant, clever, and magical, Kamil would not be happy because that would mean the pinning down of one of his images, something that is not meant to be. The essence of Vojnar’s work is light and movement.

I’ve rewritten this post a dozen times, and I’ve cut nearly all that I thought I wanted to say. I’ve spent hours online pouring over  websites that feature Vojnar’s stunning pieces as well as information about him and his exhibits, but I couldn’t find the words I needed. They all sound stiff compared to his ethereal images. Music would describe his work best I think, or a poem might be able to, if it were read by someone with a complicated, beautiful voice, and it was endless.

Kamil and I have exchanged a series of emails, and he was kind enough to allow me to use the above image for my project, but now that I’ve learned so much about him, that almost seems wrong. It is all too easy to commercialize Kamil’s work, because it is instantly enjoyable, but that doesn’t mean that his art is easy. His work has darkness in its depths, and its light creates haunting shadows. Kamil Vojnar is a fine artist, and although his work has a fleeting quality—or perhaps that quality belongs to the moments portrayed—it is not meant for fleeting purposes. His pieces are full of unanswered questions, restlessness hidden inside stillness, and sorrow that will not be resolved. We’ve all heard music that makes us ache. There is something here we cannot obtain, something unknowable, perhaps unthinkable, possibly unbearable.

Obviously Kamil can’t upload his pieces to the Sirenstories Soundcloud, but he knew that I would be writing this post, or trying to. I think he will appreciate my frustration in trying to find the right words.

Kamil Vojnar‘s website is a beautiful, evocative place to visit. No matter what kind of artist you are, you will find inspiration there starting with an ephemeral series of images that seem to melt into one another. Each image vanishes into the next and there is no ‘button’ on his site to click back to this series of pictures. I think that perfectly represents the art of Kamil Vojnar. Each piece is a moment from a dream, captured but not contained. Each image murmurs, possibility . . . and the viewer wonders, what has just happened? What will happen next?

Please click on the image above to give yourself the gift of a journey into Kamil Vojnar‘s sensual and sorrowful world.

Tanguy Dairaine used Kamil’s images to create this video for French pop star Patricia Kaas, which she used on her 2009 tour. The video was projected on a giant screen behind her while she sang her intimate song, Une Derniere Fois.

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.)


Do Sirens Wear Sensible Shoes?

I love this lyric:

Moving Day, I tore up your picture and packed the frame.

Check out Moving Day by Sensible Shoes.

Catch Sensible Shoes tonight at the Orchard House Cafe, NYC.

Read my earlier blog to learn more about the Vermont based band Sensible Shoes the group film director Jonathan Demme says, “Rules the blues news!”

Click on the poster to connect with Sensible Shoes on fb.


Some Inspiration for All of You Sirens

Sirens, how do you fill the well?

Singers, songwriters, authors, painters, I’m sure all of you artists have ways to inspire yourselves when inspiration doesn’t strike like lightning, but if you need something new, you might enjoy Body of Writing.

At the 2011 SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City, author Patricia Lee Gauch talked about “letting go into story”. When she quoted Yeats’ poem The Circus Animals’ Desertion and spoke of the “rag-and-bone shop of the heart” and how we must go there for inspiration, her message went straight to my heart. I knew it was time for me to create a workshop that connected two of my great loves, yoga and writing.

Developing a workshop combining yoga and writing had been a dream of mine for years. Starting last winter, I began to carefully design a class series that would combine yoga postures, yogic breathing techniques, creative writing exercises, meditation, visualization, and readings, in ways that would inspire participants to get their pens moving and encourage them to open to the wisdom of their bodies.

I also drew from my own personal experiences over the years in art, music, drama, and yoga workshops, incorporating Deep Diving techniques I learned from artists as diverse as Olympia Dukakis, Rosanne Cash, and Julia Cameron, as well as instructors from The Metropolitan Opera Guild and aesthetic education classes at Julliard.

Finally, in May of 2011, I offered the first version of Body of Writing. The classes I created were one and a half hours long and met once a week at River Road Books in Fair Haven, N.J. Over seven weeks I witnessed the thrilling process of people discovering the stories their bodies carried. Some were obvious, like the tale of a twisted ankle in Paris, the stiffness lingering years later, evoking memories whenever it rained, and stories begging to be told. Others were hidden, stories secret even to those who held them. Working together like seekers of buried treasure, we began to dig.

I was introduced to yoga at age twelve, and according to my father, I sang before I could talk. For many years I taught people of all ages and abilities music, placing the emphasis on songwriting when I could. My last position included teaching students who were suicidal and homicidal. Music and lyrics were a wonderful way to connect with those kids, but to help their teachers I used yoga.

One of the most important concepts of Kripalu yoga, the style that I’ve studied more than any other, is the idea of letting go. In other words, allowing things to be just as they are, including who you are, with the idea that everything is really okay already. Cultivating this kind of acceptance one learns to have compassion for oneself, and thus for one’s story.

Kripalu yoga is the style I teach, but I draw from many other traditions as well. Most styles of yoga have certain aspects in common, such as the idea that yoga is a practice for the body, mind, and spirit. Body of Writing simply adds another dimension: story.

Body of Writing can help you find the stories you hold within and teach you how to allow yourself to release them onto the page without criticism or judgment.

Of course later, you’ll have to edit. Now that’s a wicked posture to hold.

Body of Writing will be offered Saturday Sept. 24th & Sunday Sept. 25th noon—5:30 pm as an intensive two-day workshop at Brahma Yoga Spa in Sea Bright, N.J.

For more info: http://www.mimicross.com

To learn more about Kripalu yoga and the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, visit http://www.kripalu.org

Check out the ‘About’ page on this blog to learn why I’m qualified to create and teach Body of Writing.

Sweet Sirens, The Crosswalk Kings

As soon as I heard Our Goodbye I fell in love with the song and the voice of the songwriter, Seneca Block, lead singer and guitarist of The Crosswalk Kings. Our Goodbye is a gentle lullaby of love and loss, and its simple poetry perfectly expresses the profound subject of parting.

Life is a field of green

Between winter snows

So when your heart knows loss,

You will find love to know,

They’re cut from the same cloth.

And I hope that it makes you smile

One more time.

And I won’t forget you.

When I become the earth.

And all the beautiful flowers

To whom I give birth,

Call out your name,

I hope that it makes you smile

One more time.

Don’t you worry away your days.

We will find our way.

So smile, this is our goodbye.

This is our goodbye.

Our goodbye.

Our Goodbye is just under three minutes, and the tempo is moderate, but yet I had to play the song over and over because it disappeared too soon. I wanted to hear it again and again and besides, I couldn’t write. I was crying my eyes out.

Our Goodbye is in 3/4 time and starts with a swaying acoustic guitar. Seneca Block’s voice comes in and lies down gently on top. At about the 2:20 mark the full band kicks in. At this point Seneca sounds like his heart is breaking, even as he tries to reassure us, or perhaps himself, that things are going to be all right. My skin prickles when Jon Simmons comes in on piano, playing a lovely, conversational melody line that for me, is the voice of the person Seneca is singing to.

At 2:50 the piano melody—so simple, so expressive—gives me full on goosebumps, and then too soon, like the song, it’s over. But that melody line answers Seneca’s lyrics, and just as Seneca seems to want to reassure us even as his heart is quietly breaking, the piano sounds as if it seeks to reassure him. The conversation is complete. We’ve been privileged listeners.

Seneca Block’s vocals make think just for a second of John Mayer, and someone else who I can’t quite place, someone who really knows how to sing. To my ears Seneca Block’s singing voice is close to speech, a style that is authentic and soothing and a personal favorite of mine.

When so many people are spilling themselves all over the media, their souls bared to such extremes that their performances are nearly without nuance, hearing the restraint in Seneca’s voice is a relief, a rare breath of artful restraint that promises a gentle, healthy intimacy.

Our Goodbye was recorded at Emerson Radio Station and I’ve included a bunch of pics from the session. I love these photos, they match the honest music of The Crosswalk Kings.

Based in Boston, The Crosswalk Kings have a singer songwriter/pop/rock sound that could be called Adult Contemporary, although I’m not sure if that label is quite right for them. The quiet yearning in Seneca Block’s voice is something we will all know at various times in our lives and resonates like good poetry. I don’t like the idea of putting this band in a box.

The Crosswalk Kings uploaded three songs to the Sirenstories SoundCloud, so I’m sure I’ll post more about them at some point, but really, I can’t wait to hear what they do next in the studio. Click on their pics and you’ll wind up at their Reverbnation page or their fb page where they’ve just posted a few new beautiful demos.