Friday, January 23, 2009

Fund Radical Peaceful Art Happenings Today!!

This is a very timely message from the someone who has spent more than 20 years making the world a more beautiful and creative place! I am talking here about artist, musician, educator and writer David Rankine, founder of progressive rock band Dulcimerhead.

It ain't just the music that's progressive.

I cannot resist passing on this blog cribbed in its entirety from his site at

"Getting Comfortable with Creativity"

Hello Folks!

A few years ago I had a showing of my art in a public gallery. It was the largest display of my visual art to date and the gallery room looked marvelous. The show was set to last a month and the Gallery decided to hold a second "meet the artist" day on the final Saturday of the show. This day happened to coincide with an Anniversary of D-Day (June 6th) so the Gallery had set up extra displays of wartime memorabilia in the same room as my art. Talk about contrasts!

On the day of the event, I observed many people looking at the displays of memorabilia- (photos, ration books, helmets, rifles, gun and howitzer shells, bullets etc) but very few people looked at the art on the walls. I overheard some comments like: "oh look -a 20mm cannon shell" but I did not talk to anyone about my art. In fact most people seemed a bit intimidated by the art on the walls...yet they seemed comfortable with the artifacts of war and extreme violence and hardship in the display cases.

Indeed, this was VERY interesting! I was observing the fact that we (as a society) are more familiar and comfortable with acts of violence than acts of beauty. Our media is full of it and often references it while art- has little place in it. Generally people are uncomfortable in art galleries - as Art has been sold and promoted as something "professional" artists do- just as music is something "Musicians" create and the rest of us listen to.

So perhaps that is where the problem lies - not that we "like" war (or violence) or are comfortable with it, but that we no longer seem to have a reference point for acts of beauty or acts of creativity. We are so often told that Humans are a violent species- that violence, and therefore war, is inevitable. But, how often do we read that we are a creative species- that acts of beauty and creativity are inevitable? So, instead of accepting that violence and warfare are human, let us focus on and accept that it is our creativity that makes us human and divine and our acts of cruelty and violence that take us further from our humanity.

For more of the art, music and philosophy of David Rankine, please visit -- a feast for the eyes, heart and mind!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Dark Mandala is not yet finalized, but here is a tantalizing tidbit of info we discovered on the newly revamped website: -- the liner notes sound trippy, full of natural imagery and lyrical experimentation. :) Enjoy! PLEASE TAKE NOTE: you can order the CD at a pre-sale special price!!!

For Dark Mandala song samples, please visit

Track List

Dark Mandala
Courting Song
From a Hill
Last Year and Today
Waves on the Point
Persian Trance Dance
Deep Blue Star

Song Descriptions:

The Crucible is already a concert favourite and is the lighter side of Duclimerhead's "medieval stomp" sound. You'll want to dance, shake and laugh to this one

Dark Mandala
is a quick tempo dance Eastern dance groove - that makes you feel as if you were riding a horse head-long towards a thunderstorm. Dark and brooding, full of the pregnant potential of All That Could Be.

is a mid -tempo stomp that evokes the images of thunderheads piling up in the distance on a hot summer day

Persian Trance Dance
has long been our concert opus - slow of tempo and relentless in its forward motion - full of power chords and rock rhythms melded with a Eastern Dance spin with a taste of a Scots Hornpipe thrown in.

Deep Blue Star
Another one that comes to a boil slowly- almost at a slow walk and then soars into the realms joy. A tip of the hat to Jazz -Rock meisters Deep Purple.

From a Hill
is a gentle finger picked air that was inspired by a walk through a sun drenched forest right after a rain fall- light sparkling on wet leaves and drops of rain. The simplest of all the tracks on this CD, this tune is the one most structured like a bagpipe tune (Dave's first instrument)

Full of soaring voices and climbing chords. Dancing in a forest clearing.

Waves on the Point
What more can we say- wind and waves on the point. Clear skies and sun and nothing to do all day but play. Listen for the Ebb and Flow of the various Dulcimer parts.

Last Year and Today -
a tune that starts off as a introspective slow air and then morphs into a rolling finger-picked celebration. It is a tune about how we all gain perspective about past events

Courting Song -
is the last tune on the CD - a lullaby - a gentle fingerpicked sign off and a reminder that the "Dark Mandala" is a place of healthy change that reflects the All That Is and All That Was and the All That Will Be

PRICE: $25 presale price: $17

ALSO CHECK OUT THIS excellent special offer for Dulcimerhead CDs (save over $20)
  • Awakening the Heart (a guided meditation with Reiki Master Chantal Garneau)
  • Sacred Sound (music played for the Sharon Temple Illumination 2008)
  • Revealed Structure (an instrumental CD by David Rankine designed for healing and meditation)
Details are at:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New CD Dark Mandala almost here!

I love the title of Dulcimerhead's newest CD: Dark Mandala.

In this world, consciousness is symbolized by light.

But the dark is where the creative elements ferment and exciting new things come to life.

It reminds me of the Dark Madonna. Quite the archetypal counterpart to the traditional light-and-purity version. This earthy, chthonic elemental goddess was represented with dark skin. She was worshipped as a source of fertility, maternal nurturing, compassion and justice. Here is an interesting interpretation of the Black Madonna, which I have plagiarized wholesale from Wikipedia:

Black Madonnas express a feminine power not fully conveyed by a pale-skinned Mary, who seems to symbolise gentler qualities like obedience and purity. This idea can be discussed in Jungian terms. The "feminine power" approach may be linked to Mary Magdalene and female sexuality repressed by the medieval Church. In France, there are traditions affirming that some statues are of Mary Magdalene and not of Mary, the mother of Jesus, but these traditions and related theories are generally rejected by theologians. The suggestion that Black Madonnas represent feminine power may be linked with the earth goddesses and attributed to the archetypal "great mother" who presides not only over fertility, but over life and death. These ideas overlap with "feminist spirituality" or "women's spirituality". (Chiavola Birnbaum)

The Dark Mandala music has this undercurrent of powerful and intuitive knowledge -- primeval rhythms and layered vocals, almost reminiscent of a Gregorian chant or some kind of kirtan -- a devotional voice. There are also some beautiful melodies that stir feelings of homesickness in me -- sad, but in the good way.

It is an aural journey that rewards any listener. Check out for some samples!