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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

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

One of My Best Albums: "Ta-ka Ta-ka" Now on Youtube 

I released Ta-ka Ta-ka after a difficult time in my life with didgeridoo. At the time, I had been playing didgeridoo for 11 years and I had hit a plateau. I watched other players excel at technique to the point where they seemed destined for the stratosphere. I so badly wanted to be a powerful player with fantastic technique, completely ignoring where I was - a musician who was exploring the dynamics and song making potential of the didgeridoo. This got to a point where I finally let go of keeping up and just went my own way. Not too long after, Ta-ka Ta-ka was born. 

I've always been a musician who was unafraid of exploring different styles of music. Ta-ka Ta-ka certainly reflects that with six songs that are all different from each other making it one of my best albums. I like to think of it as my Leonard Cohen album since it focuses more on writing a good songs for a challenging instrument rather than being an ode to just technique. I just released the full album on Youtube for all to enjoy. Listen to it, enjoy it, dance or do yoga to it, share it, love it.  

If you don't do the Youtube thing, you can find downloads on my Bandcamp page and if you like your music in a more physical form, you can find CD's at my online shop.

As always, I thank you for listening.