Things Are Evolving: Musical Project In the Making 

Tracks for Sandstorm

 

It can go without saying that the most challenging part of composing for didgeridoo is coming up with consistently interesting music for the listener who is not as familiar with this ancient instrument. This is one reason why I like writing for it. It challenges me to use rhythms, harmonies through using vocals, mouth shapes to synthesize sound organically, rhythmic and compositional textures as well as recording techniques and effects as part of the compositional process to write songs that are more than just primal rhythms strung together. The first didegridoo album I ever heard - Rainbow Serpent by David Hudson and Steve Roach - has been highly influential to me to explore didgeridoo's capabilities when it comes to songwriting. I first heard this album in 2005 and it opened a door for me to really dive in and explore my own gifts as a composer. The result has been seven distinctly different albums over the last 16 years that reflect the evolution of being a composer for didgeridoo. When I listen to the album TreeSpeak (2008) next to Coming Full Circle (2020), they sound like two entirely different players and two entirely different composers to me. In my estimation, that's just as it should be. 

Approaching didgeridoo from a composer's standpoint has allowed me to explore rhythm in place of melody, exploring sonic landscapes in place of harmonies and using vocals to sing through the didge to harmonize with it. It's been satifying work that often leads me down the rabbit hole of turning into somewhat of a sonic mad scientist. The evolution I've been experiencing has been nothing short of magical. Listening to bands like Sigur Ros, Dead Can Dance and Hammock and artists like Nitin Sawney, Jonsi and Amon Tobin are opening me up to exploring new ideas of writing for didge in ways I didn't think were possible. After a bit of exploration I can safely say, it's possible. By doing this, I feel like I've started the next leg of this journey as a composer by marrying my love of classical and film music together with didgeridoo.

For the past 10 years, I've dabbled with the idea of playing keyboard with didgeridoo at the same time. For the past few weeks, I've been reviving this idea by sitting down and just letting things evolve organically. It's been satifying work that often leads me down the rabbithole of becoming somewhat of a sonic mad scientist fitting together puzzle pieces of ideas some of which have been working. I've been using a couple of my own songs, Walking Under Cedars and Sandstorm as spring boards for this new chapter of my journey as a composer. At the moment, I'm feeling that Sandstorm in particular is the seed for a larger project, which is unfolding in front of me as I write this. It's an exciting time and I'm looking forward to sharing more or of this journey as it unfolds here on this blog and social media as well as my Patreon membership site where I'll share directly with my members through videos, music samples, behind the scenes looks, chats and whatever else I can think of. 

Before I go, I just want to say thank you to Gerhard, Tom, Daniel, Elisabeth and Randy for your purchase of Sandstorm. I know purchasing a single may not seem earth shattering but your support has helped so much to buoy my spirit. If you haven’t checked Sandstorm out yet, you can do so here. If you choose to download Sandstorm, you can set your own price and all of the money goes to help me develop this project further. 

Thank you so much for reading this. 

Take care all and be well,

Pam

New Single Release and Thoughts at 12:36am 

This is me at 12:36am. It’s getting to be late at night and I really should call it a day but I just released the Sandstorm video into the world tonight and I just wanted to say something about it. I always get nervous on how much traction a new video or piece of music or even a blogpost will get when I release it into the world. It’s an undeniable part of being an artist in this modern world. Will people like it? Or more to the point will enough people like it to make a living at it? 

I'll be honest here, Sandstorm is not a new song for me. I've had it harbored on my computer for eight years because it just didn't seem to fit anywhere on any of the albums I've made. So it seems fitting to release it as a single because it really is a piece unto itself. It's perfect that I release it right now becasue it's pretty much where I'm at in how I'm feeling about life - turbulent, unsettled, uncertain but also pushing forward into uncharted territory to stretch myself and grow into more of the kind of artist I know I can be. 

Sandstorm definitely has a cinematic feel to it and that's no accident considering how much I love film music and have been writing in that style for the past several months. I love writing this kind of music which, for me, creates these landscapes in my mind where scenes of life can play out. It's already drawn fond reminiscences of Dune from some of my listeners. I am honored. 

As this song goes out into the world to do its work, it's not lost on me how cathartic it's been to share such music. To just let go of what I think I should share and just simply share what I have. I'll finish up by saying making a living as a musician – especially one who is not well known – is the hardest things I’ve ever done. The hardship sometimes makes it difficult and makes me wonder if I should just quit and go back to the veltvety comfort of the 9-5 world. But like this song, I never really fit into that world so I keep going. I am thankful for the support I get through people purchasing the various products I have or through Patreon. It all helps.

Anyhow, enough of these late night ramblings. I’ll end it here but before I go, do go and check out Sandstorm and the new companion video here.

 

 

Let it carry you through whatever you’re going through and if you’re not going through anything in particular, then just dance to it if you’re moved to do so. Oh also, because I am attempting making a living at music like the crazy person I am, if you like it, consider supporting it by downloading it. You can set your own price and it would help me to keep making music. I will also forever hug you if you do! 

Thank you for reading this! I appreciate it more than you know. 

Sending you bunches of love and boatloads of hugs. 

Pam

Photoblog: Life In Autumn 2021 

Hello Everyone. I just wanted to some of the beauty of the forest during these days of October here in the Pacific Northwest. I always feel like I'm in heaven whenever I take these walks. Especially in Autumn.

This is is one of my most favorite times of the year. I know everyone says that but when the air turns crisp and the leaves begin to change color, you can feel the energy of summer settle into introspection and I love that! October is especially an amazing month here in the Pacific Northwest. The Summer is a memory and winter is yet to come and everything in life deepens. For me, energy becomes more balanced betweent he high energy of Summer and the stillness of Winter.  Below are a few photos of some of the forest walks I've taken over the past few weeks. And as you can see at the end, it's all left a smile on my face. I treasure these walks because I always come away feeling cleansed and refreshed. My soul is filled and I hope yours is too. 

Much love,

Pam 

Lessons In Repurposing Seeds To Serve A Dream 

My musical journey started with an instrument similar to what you see in the photo above. This is a Magnus table top chord organ that was made in the 60's and early 70's primarily for kids. If it hadn't been for this humble little instrument, I would not be here typing on this blog about my journey or making music or performing or recording or making didgeridoos or, or, or.... I most likely would have traveled a path of an endless string of service industry jobs till the day I could retire on a meagre income and I would have never gone past what I call a working class mindset. 

Like many artists, there have been many things I've overcome and are overcoming in order to thrive with my work. Chosing to be a full time musician is a huge risk. There are no guarantees you'll make it and enormous amounts of competition the farther you go so overcoming issues that you've carried with you is imperative to whether or not you succeed at your craft. One of the biggest issues I've been overcoming is that of the working class mindset. While this might not sound like much to overcome, it's actually a big issue for many of us who come from a blue collar working class background and one that is not so easily understood by those who come from more middle class. 

First let me lay out what those of us who come from this kind of background are up against. In our particular family we value practicality over dreaming, thrift over abundance and sticking with what you know over exploring possibilities. Authority rules over enthusiasm and emotions are thing to be avoided. So imagine being a kid who is a huge dreamer and isn't afraid of exploring potential and possibilities and is stubborn and audacious enough to push past the envelop to see what happens. That is me. 

I first discovered this part of me when I experienced the joy of exploring my musical gifts at the age of six. I remember sitting on top of a high boy dresser at a friends house playing the little chord organ she had. I don't remember exactly what i did but my mom explained it to me years later that I was picking out a song I heard on the radio. Apparently, she realized what I was doing and later that year got a chord organ for me for Christmas. Little did any of us know, it was game over at that point when it came to what was expected of me and being true to myself later on down the road. The door was opened for me to come in and discover what I had inside. It was an invitation far too tantalizing to resist.

It was also an invitation that set up a lot of conflict down the road as I came of working age. I wanted to go to college to learn music but it was expected of me that I go get a job or if I wanted to go to college it was strongly recommended that I study something more practical. It was the typical battle of wills that required flexibility on my part because parental authority and wishes were not to be messed with. So, I agreed to get a job but it would be a job that I would like and not just any job. I found what I thought was going to be a job teaching organ to beginners at a local organ and piano store but as it turned out I was 18 and didn't fully understand that it was up to me to bring in students. Needless to say, I wasn't very successful with this job and ended up working in fast food for the next five years. But even as I worked through the string of 9-5 jobs, I never let go of the idea that I was going to be a composer for film and television. 

But I digress......sort of.

Part of overcoming the working class mindset is not so much weeding out those seeds that no longer serve us but repurposing them so they can serve us in the moment while you cultivate better seeds. Thrift is one such seed that I've repurposed for the moment to direct much of the money I make back into my business so I can grow it. It means going without many other things for the moment but knowing that those things will show up when I need them or are ready for them. Practicality is another seed I've repurposed to serve the dream I have by taking action steps toward what I really want in life while keeping my eye on the prize. Even the string of jobs I had developed skills that I still use today. Skills like customer relations, typing, working with computers, fundraising, relationship development, marking and PR all of them I learned on the job and are serving me now. This is how I'm overcoming the working class mindset by repurposing it and making it serve a dream. So if you find yourself in the same boat, I want to invite you to take a different perspective of what you have and use your imagination to see how you can repurpose it to serve what you want out of life. Especially if you're an artist no matter what discipline you're in. And remember back to when you started your practice as a musician how it felt to engage in your explorations and let that enthusiasm return. This is what remembering playing a little chord organ has done for me. 

Thank you so much for reading this. If you're a musician or even a closet musician I hope you found it helpful.

Take care all and sending you much love,Pam

Wanna See Something Funny But Sweet? 

I swiped this image from my very first video I put out on Youtube back in 2008. It’s a song called Friend which you can find on the album Dogum that I put out in 2010. You can find the full video here

Yes, the sound is terrible (I didn’t know what I was doing putting the sound together), yes my hair looks weird long, no, I am not wearing some glam outfit and no, none of this matters. What mattered really was getting this video and song out there to share it with people. To push past the shyness I felt and share what I had in the moment. That’s why I can look at this video and be proud of what I did even though it’s not the most glamourous music video in the world. 

I believe we are coming on a time where we are all going to be able to open up and share the gifts we have. I’ve been watching this happening in the music world with so many people coming out and sharing their work in so many beautiful ways. All we need to do is simply start where we are and just let things grow from there. I know I still have to push past moments of shyness and getting on stage or in front of a camera is still a bit of a struggle but I do it anyway because the thrill of sharing something I’ve got is so much more powerful. I am so thankful that I have a bit of audacity to try new things to see where I can go because I won’t know until I try. 

Take care all and if there is something new you want to try, I just want to encourage you to just do it and see what happens! 

Many thanks for reading this and stay amazing! 

Pam

I Love It When This Happens 

This is a list of the songs I started this year. There are 105 of them. Only three of them were started late last year. This list does not include the 400 or 500 more songs that's on the other computer some of which will see completion. But most won't get past being a musical sketch - ideas that started with intention but lost steam. Some of those may end up as parts for other songs. This is the life of a composer - for every one song that sees completion there's about a dozen or so that don't. But those that do hopefully makes their way to ears that love to hear them. 

Like the songs in this list, I am a work in progress. Continuously working on refining parts of my life while taking a look at places where I'm stuck. What tools would I need to be better than I was before? What can be re-arranged to live a more harmonious life? A good composer asks questions, explores and experiments to see what works and uses good judgement to make a beautiful piece of music. These can also be used in creating a beautiful life and in this way, parallels are a beautiful thing.

Thanks for reading this. 

Stay happy, stay healthy and stay amazing!

Pam

If you really liked what you just read or just love what I do, I could really use your help in keeping things going by leaving a little something in my virtual tip jar. This would help for many things from putting gas in my car to helping to save up to buy my own studio space. You can find my virtual tip jar here.

Thank you so much for your consideration and generosity. It really means a lot!

 

There Are Reasons Why I Do This 

There are reasons why I sit and do this for hours. The first is to put a good quality instrument into the hands of players. When I get a message from a customer on how much they love their instrument, it's worth it to put the time in.

But it's more than that. When I work with the raw material, I get to know every little groove and bump I carve into it. In this way, it becomes a part of me and I become a part of it. Is it hard letting go when I ship them to new homes? You bet. But it's what I can do to help make this world a better place. 

Happy Saturday All!

Much Love, Pam

Summer Travels, New Music and Explorations 

Hello Everyone!

It's been awhile since I've written anything! Before I even start, I thought it would be a fun idea to share this piano and strings piece first. As you listen to it, you can look at the rest of the post. 

You can find it here. :-)

It’s the end of July and Summer is still riding high. It's been an intense time with traveling, creating, and exploring so many possibilities in life. I just returned from a whirlwind two-week trip to Oregon where I did some of my first dispersed camping on the Central Oregon Coast. It was a beautiful time spent listening to one of my favorite birds – Swainson’s thrush – and watching the ocean waves from my van while having breakfast. (Yes, this was the view from my van from my parking spot!) 😲

It was also a time to reconnect with so many friends and with Oregon itself. I went to many of the places I've been before to revisit them and to new places to explore. It felt so good to reconnect with the land and its energies. It felt healing in so many ways. I want to share with you a few photos of some of the places old and new I visited while I was there.

Otter Crest

With my beautiful sister and musician Tati

With my other beautiful sister and mom to be Harmony

With my beautiful sister and life artist Maggie

Fire dancing celebrating the grand opening of my friend Tyler's new venue

Alsea Bay BridgeSpencer Butte (Eugene)

At the top (2000 foot elevation gain)

From the top looking northeast across the Willamette Valley.From the top looking south

Laying down roots and obligitory forest shots

Performing at Flutestock Lite. 

At Mulkey Ridge (Corvallis) - One of my places of healing.

Some of you know that several years ago, I sought to make Oregon my home and spent time living in different places, trying them out and seeing where I would like to lay down roots. But sometimes where you intend to live is different than where your soul really wants to be. I felt this very strongly when I saw the Olympic Mountains (in Washington State) rise above the clouds on the way back from my trip. It was as if they were welcoming me home. 

I’ve been living on the Olympic Peninsula now for almost two years and it’s beginning to feel like my roots are being laid here. I know my soul is really longing to settle somewhere and the North Coast is feeling more like home than anywhere right now. Perhaps because I've been here for awhile. Still, I feel I would like to be with my tribe in Oregon so I haven’t quite given up the idea of living there yet. In the meantime, I will keep traveling, making music, writing blogs, creating videos and making an occasional didgeridoo.

Now about the song I posted above.

I’ve been back from Oregon now for a few days and for the last two days, I’ve been working on finishing up some songs while starting others. Yesterday, I finished this piece for piano and strings that I'm calling "Drift" for now. It came to me during breakfast and it perfectly sums up how I’m feeling with all of the intense change and explorations of where to head next in life. There’s a bit of longing for me in this song but there is also the feeling of moving forward in light even though a final destination is yet to be determined. It reflects the possibilities and the importance of being still in order to recenter and find a way. I hope you enjoy listening to this song as much as I did making it. I’m working on a video of my travels and of life in general and I’m sure this song will find its way into mix somewhere. I will let you know when I’ve uploaded it. For now, it’s back to editing so I can finish it and share it with all of you. 

Be well and happy and stay amazing! 

Much love

Pam

 

Fueling Dreams and Setting Intentions 

Whew! I’m back online after a whirlwind couple of weeks. June has been exceptionally busy with wrapping up projects and starting new projects but the biggest thing is beginning a new chapter in my life that will have me lving and working from my van at least for the summer, perhaps longer. This is partly to see sights and fulfil bucket list items but it’s also with the intention of finding space. In my experience, finding what you need is a matter of putting your shoes on and just going outside to see what’s available. It can also be simply drawing what you need to you but in this case, I think I need to go outside, so I’ve been converting my van into a living and work space. Much of the work is done and I’m sure there will be adjustments along the way but the idea is to have a decent work space where I can have a small mobile studio in addition to a living space. It’s a tall order for being in a mini van but I think for now, I’ve got it. 

It’s helped a lot to have had practice time throughout this pandemic. For the past year, I’ve been sleeping, eating and working in the van (I’ve named Ruby) to work out the details in space issues. What I’ve come up with is a modular approach where many things are foldable and can serve dual (or even triple) functions. Taking this approach has also kept things simple which is something that my singular mind really appreciates. It also helps to have a massive storage cargo box on top for didgeridoos, camp gear etc. 

So, just what are the plans for the summer? My number one goal is to find space to start building on my dream of having my own music studio. I’ve harboured this dream for about 40 years now and it’s time so I suspect I will mostly be driving between Oregon and Washington (in addition to looking on Craigslist etc.) to see what I can find. This will also allow me to see the places I haven’t been to and share the adventures I’m sure I will have along the way. Just to let you know, this is not some sudden fantasy trip that I dreamed up over the last couple of months. Let me tell this story. 

When I was eight or nine, my grandmother and her two cousins went on an eight month odyssey across the U.S. in a small Winnebego RV. They went partly to see family they hadn’t seen in years and partly to see sights. I remember getting postcards from my grandmother from places like Maine, Vermont, Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon and it totally fired my imagination about being a traveler. What makes this story so cool is that these ladies did this at a time when women their age simply didn’t do things like that (this was back around 1971). I’ve never forgotten that and so I’m letting this story guide me into this next chapter of my own life. It’s exciting, exhilarating and a bit daunting (I’m not gonna lie) but I’m doing it anyway. I suspect I will be stretched, shaped, challenged, bumfuzzled, given lessons and ultimately thrown into gratitude on this journey. I’ve waited and I’m ready as I can be. I won’t lie, there is a pert of me that is trepid. It wouldn’t be normal if I didn’t feel this but the excitement far outweighs the trepidation. 

I will be posting here as this journey unfolds and I hope you will join me. It’s always more fun to have you along! Of course, I plan on continuing to make music, videos and tutorials along the way. The only thing I won’t be doing is making didgeridoos. I am putting that on hiatus for the summer in order to make space and time for new projects. With that said, here are some photos of the last didge for awhile. I will have it up for sale in a couple of days and will post it here when it’s ready for a new home. 

Thank you so much for reading this if you made it this far. I want to extend a special thanks to all of you who have contributed through my virtual tip jar and to my Patreon supporters. I know I sound like a broken record but I really couldn’t have done any of this without your support. Thank you!! 

Take care All. Stay happy, stay healthy and stay amazing! 

Much Love, Pam

Born to Be 

At some point, you cross a threshold and become the artist you were born to be. When this happens, there’s a certain sweetness you can relax into and just let things flow the way they were meant to. This is what’s happening for me right now. 

It’s funny and somewhat confusing to be a musician these days. You’re told that you need to brand yourself, promote yourself, have a mission and purpose and engage in all the other businessy things to get your music out there to catch the industry’s eye. There are a million different ways to get yourself and your art out there to the world and there’s always a coach to help you in any one of those ways. Sometimes, it gets to a point where you don’t know which end is up and you get so wrapped around the axle over the business of music that it’s easy to forget about the artist. About a month ago, I finally had to put my foot down and shove the business stuff aside to dig through the rubble to find the artist. I’m glad I did because this reacquaintance is giving me a foundation to build on. 

For the past several years, I’ve adopted this magical forest gnome persona just to have something interesting to present to the world. There’s nothing wrong with that and I don’t regret this adoption. But at the same time, this particular shoe didn’t quite fit right either. I felt like I was faking it until my real artist was ready to come out. So just who IS my real artist? That’s a great question. I see her as enigmatic, defying all manner of genres, keeping things simple or throwing color all over the place, showing up when her hair is messy or showing up in androgynous dress. She is soft, primal, dark, light, dramatic, quiet, funny, reflective, shamanic and always in bliss when she is creating on her playground. And yes, that playful forest gnome is also in there. If this is my brand, I’ll take it! 

As I grow into this next version of being a musician and artist, I’m letting it reflect all over in my real world and online presence. Just yesterday, I pointed my camera at the wooden floor of the living room of the house I’m housesitting at and did a photoshoot. It satisfied the question I had of “what would it look like if I shot photos from above?” The photos looked exactly as I  imagined them and now they are showing up here on my site. 

This growth also means bringing some of the other instruments I play into the mix. Most of you may not know this but prior to my life as a didgeridoo player, keyboard had been the dominant force in my life. I played organ for 35 years and piano and synthesizer for nearly as long. I see keyboard as the perfect dichotomous match for didgeridoo and it seems fitting, since my inner artist seems to be made up of opposites anyhow. Where didgeridoo, satisfies the primal, shamanic side of me, playing keyboard satisfies the Old World part of me. Perhaps someday these two worlds will meet. I will definitely look forward to that. Until then, I will continue to create music without boundaries or worry about where it can fit within a industry that requires labels and tidy compartments. 

In the end, it’s been a somewhat arduous journey to get here but I’m content to stay in this vortex for a bit and see where it goes. As always, thank you for coming with me. Just like with a child, an artist needs her village as well. 

Take care all and stay amazing! 

Pam