South America Trip.2

OK. Still not about South America yet, but I warned you last time. Anyway – if I hadn’t gone to teach in Trinidad in 1965, I probably wouldn’t have done the two month South America trip in 1967. So kindly bear with me, or, if not, feel free to skip to the end of this post or go elsewhere with my good wishes and abject apologies.
Boarding The Plane in September 1965 Boarding The Plane in September 1965

Our West Indies CUSO volunteer contingent (young adults with university degrees or special skills who had selected to serve in the sunny Caribbean over more distant sunny places like Malaysia, India or Tanzania – about two dozen of us in all) assembled at Ottawa’s international airport on a very chilly morning in early September, 1965. We climbed an outside ladder, waved to our loved ones and entered Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson’s Canadair North Star. This was not a jet, but a plane powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlin propeller engines. They were proudly termed “turbo-props,” whatever enhancements that meant. Still slow and noisy compared to modern jet planes. Simpler times. It took us 19 hours of island hopping before our 8-member Trinidad contingent arrived at Piarco Airport in Port of Spain, the North Star’s last stop. Continue reading “South America Trip.2”

Drums – Lyrics and Chords

The following simple lead sheets in the key of A major are chosen to play along with Floyd (Red Crow) Westerman‘s YouTube performance of the song, Drums, written by the American folksinger, Peter La Farge.

In view of the increased awareness of the abysmal history of mistreatment of Canada’s first nations in our Residential School system, our dismal treaty record and the current interest in the Idle No More Movement, this song is particularly timely and appropriate.

I’m not 100% certain of a few of the words; if you can recommend any changes, please comment.

Drums - page 1
Drums – page 1

Drums - page 2
Drums – page 2

Thanks to Anishanabe elder, Lloyd Fournier, who set me straight on the legendary chiefs’ names at the top of page 2.

Oneness

Learning the Salmon’s language
With the help of this paddle…
They are close just as water
Controls life for them.
The paddle moves me to their home
And they never fail to come back and say to me…
“my brother I know your ancestors.”

Robert Dhadhiyasila Hall

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Egypt’s Treasures

Egypt’s ancient memes developed from even more ancient African roots. Virtually all of our forms of worship owe their genesis to prehistoric Africa – via Egypt.

Gerald Massey was a minor British poet and a major expert on Egyptology. He believed that the model for the Christian Jesus was the Egyptian god, Horus. Continue reading “Egypt’s Treasures”

Two (Widely Different) Accidents

When the light doesn’t co-operate – or does it?

I apologize for the pixelation in these photos. They were taken with my camcorder because my SLR at the time had low light sensitivity, and I didn’t have Anita’s awesome Canon point and shoot. Now I own a Sony NEX-5N mirrorless. Quite a change!

Ronda’s plaza de toros is one of the most famous bull rings in all of Spain. I attempted to take an available light photo of the little room where the  matador prays before entering this bloody contest, giving him an, albeit slight, unfair advantage. Actually the torero has many unfair advantages over the bull. Advantages I don’t need to list.

On the verge of pressing the delete button after coming home the photo appealed to me. I can’t say that I heard anything, like a tiny peep of “please don’t delete me” or a lightning bolt suddenly coming out of a clear sky. Maybe more the fact that I was in it…

Anyway, the more I look at it the more I see. Like a poem with many layers. I would really be interested in what you see in this accident, other than the fact that my baseball cap was on backwards. Not a fashion statement, but a photographer’s technical choice.

I remember thinking that, if there were a hierarchy of moments when prayer is necessary, this would rank pretty highly.

Proof of what I just said is given below in a photo on the wall of a well known bar off Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, called Bar Andalú, El Torre de Oro. In this gory (I beg your pardon) example, it is demonstrated that the matador sometimes has to delegate the final kill to his underlings.

Photo in a famous Madrid bar highlights the risks of being a matador

The Bar Andalú is a shrine to the art of bullfighting. On its walls hang the heads of famous bulls, vestments of famous bullfighters and photo after photo of bulls, bullfighters and iconic political figures as wildly different as Franco and Che Guevara.

Another photo of the Bar Andalú, one of a bunch of crazy places that make Spain uniquely fascinating.

A small sampling of Spain in this eclectic display. For an educated gringo’s brilliant, appreciative sampling I recommend Michener’s great book Iberia

I am mostly done with bullfighting, I hope, but not with beautiful, historic Ronda…

Thanksgiving Song

Magnificent ceiling of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia Church designed by Antoni Gaudí

I have just posted one of my songs in movie format to YouTube.

It is a thanksgiving song called Thank You, Lord.

The link is also in my My Songs page.

While, personally, my religious beliefs have changed greatly, I believe that the longing that is at the root of this music is a part of a universal and genuine human condition.

Hope you like it. Please let me know.

Woody Guthrie: a Liverpool celebration

Woody Guthrie: a Liverpool celebration.

The above blog is a wonderful “essay” on Woody Guthrie’s life and music. For all of us who love our countries and are saddened by the direction in which events are taking us, Gerry’s reflection is touching and timely.

In it are photos, videos of some of the great songs that Woody wrote,  and comments from some of the greats that he influenced, like Steinbeck and Dylan. This blog has been crafted by a skillful, talented master.