The Ta-Ta Two Step

If you like this video, please donate to breast cancer research at www.dana-farber.org. If you click on "How to Help", this will bring you right to the donation page. Thank you!!
I wrote this song just as a fun, tongue-in-cheek ditty for pure light hearted enjoyment. After I finished writing it, I knew it would be a great tune for Breast Cancer Awareness month. I plan to remind my followers of this tune every October.

The song came to me after having a rather silly conversation with my good friend Iris about breasts and female aging. She said, "You HAVE to write a song about this!" So I did! Her comments to me are almost directly in the lyrics of the second verse. Since Iris's favorite town is New Orleans, I figured I would give the tune some New Orleans flair.

The repeated trebles and doubles are reminiscent of the repeated fiddle bowing from a Two Step Zydeco tune. I was most inspired by two tunes in particular, "Zydeco et pas sale," (which translates to "Zydeco is Not Dirty") by Dewey Balfa and "Quand j'etais pauvre," (which translates to "When I Was Poor") by File. 

The calculator stunt in the third verse is just one of those adolescent jokes I learned as a teen that I'm glad I still remember. It is still funny to me.

Many thanks to Holly Ives who helped me shoot this video. We filmed in Agua Caliente Park, which is a very special Tucson park near an old spring. I figured it was the closest thing we had to a swampy southern landscape.

Because harp repertoire, both Classical and Traditional, favors the ethereal, I was a bit uneasy when I first played this tune for my harp friends. I was worried people might be offended by the subject matter. However, upon the first performance I learned I had nothing to worry about as I heard warm laughter throughout the room. So, harp does not always have to be so serious.

Here are the lyrics to the Ta-Ta Two Step. Enjoy!

The Ta-Ta Two Step

When I was young
Life was so sweet
I would take the girls out
For a walk down the street
I was feeling alive
With a little bit of bounce
Had my knit dress on
With some extra confidence

Now I am old
With the trouble that it brings
The damn gravity
Does really funny things
Where once they were high
Now they're down low
When they hang free
It is a comical show

But I gotta say
I'm not cryin' at the bar
Because I can declare
The fun they still are
Take 14502
Times is by the number 4
Turn it upside down
That's what all the fuss is for

Your Little Voice

I wrote music to the poem "Your Little Voice" by e. e. cummings. When I first read this poem, I was a teenager. The words made me think of so many delightful images. When I re-read this poem this year (2014), it struck me how I completely missed the meaning of the ending until now. 

It is sweet, but also truly sad as it is also about loss. It gives my heart a little wrenching, to tell the truth. 

So, I had to write music to it.

Here is e. e. cumming's poem:

your little voice
                 Over the wires came leaping
and i felt suddenly
dizzy
   With the jostling and shouting of merry flowers
wee skipping high-heeled flames
curtsied before my eyes
                     or twinkling over to my side

Looked up
with impertinently exquisite faces
floating hands were laid upon me
I was whirled and tossed into delicious dancing
up
Up
with the pale important
                      stars and the Humorous 
                                            moon

dear girl
How i was crazy how i cried when i heard
                                      over time
and tide and death

leaping
Sweetly
          your voice

There's a Bird

I wrote this song to paint a picture of what it is like to work at home in front of the computer. It is very quiet, though you are very busy. When you look up from your work, you see how slowly the world is going around you in comparison. Lyrics:

There's a Bird

There's a bird at my window
There's a bird at the glass
He turns, then he flies
There's a bird

Still at the screen glow
Still at the screen glow
Still at the screen glow
Not a word

There's some sun on my carpet
From a ray from above
It is warm on my heel
There's some sun

Still at the screen glow
Alone with the code
Still at the screen glow
Not a word

There's a ring at my doorbell
There's a box on the porch
I'll find out what it is
There's a ring

Still at the screen glow
Alone with the code
Blink at the prompt line
Not a word

There's a tap from the tree branch
There's a wave in the breeze
My eyes, they are itching
There's a tap

Still at the screen glow
Still at the screen glow
Still at the screen glow
Not a word

There's a bird

 

Love Songs

Writing songs this month has been awesome. It has been freeing to put my thoughts and words into a tune. I've needed to share some of these thoughts for a very long time and they have been leaping out into existence in unexpectedly lovely ways. I have a few snarky songs, a metaphysical song, some poetry, and a perky one I'm working on for Breast Cancer Awareness month. That one is going to be fun, hee hee!

However, I've been avoiding the classic, much done and much revered love song. Yep, I'll admit it. Avoiding

If you asked me a year ago why I've never written a love song, I would have said that the abundance of romantic love songs that exist as compared to other songs has raises my hackles. I would say, Yes, romantic love is a huge part of the human experience, but really, aren't there enough of them out there?  I would say, There need to be more songs about food, or nature, or taking a long hike. There need to be more songs about telling someone to take a hike. I would say there needs to be more artists sharing goltrai, geantrai and suantrai, the Celtic tradition of a bardic performance - songs to make you laugh, songs to make you cry, and songs to make you fall asleep. Bring 'em back, I'd say. (I still say that.)

I would say, there need to be more great artists like Weird Al Yankovic and Spike Jones who were able to make a musical career out of basically NO romantic love songs at all. Those guys are/were GENIUSES!

Love songs? Piffle!

But, since last year, I have been doing some major work on being authentic and telling my insecurities to go jump in a lake.

The truth is, while it is true that I love every sort of song, I am a die hard romantic. I am someone who is a sucker for the schmaltz. I cry ALL the time at movies, even movies where I already know my emotions are being manipulated (any Disney film). I love Shakesperean comic romance and awkward nerdmance. I love big sweeping Austenesque stories or a Nicholas Sparks novel. I love horribly depressing Celtic slow airs and coquettish Italian art songs. I love Leonard Cohen, The Smiths and Edith Piaf. 

Come on! It would be foolish of me not to write love songs because it would be refusing to share a big part of who I am.

I realized the other day that part of the reason I was avoiding writing love songs wasn't so much because I don't want to write them, its just that I am realizing that often writing them will be rather painful. Or a pain in the patoot. Likely both.

I think that to actually be able to access the spirit necessary to write a great romantic love song, there must be some drama to write about. However, it is a challenge to draw on those memories because the dramatic times in our lives are often fraught with feelings of being overwhelmed. Its tough to recall a big baffle of images all tumbled together in a pile of egads. It is the landing, the end of the turmoil, that is easier to remember as things don't happen so quickly and painfully.

Also, that stuff is so personal and it feels weird to share it openly.

I think therein lies the gift of an genuine love song. The song writer is unearthing some mighty touchy stuff to come to light with a whole heap of strangers. But aren't you glad that that artist wrote that song for you to sing along to in the car, to help you emote when you are tired, or to remind you of a good memory? I am!

Here is one of my favorites these days, The Book of Love by the Magnetic Fields:

 

So, here's to taking writing genuine love songs for a spin.

It might be a train wreck a few times but I know it will be worth it. 

Songwriting in August 2014

These days, I am working on writing songs accompanied by the harp, and in some cases the ukulele. Most of the songs are for an adult audience, though some of them are for children. It has been a wonderful practice, putting into words and music thoughts, pictures, stories, feelings and moods that I want to share with the world. 

Since last year I have struggled quite a bit with this process. I knew that I wanted to write songs but it took me quite awhile to learn how to get into a space where I felt I could let the words flow out onto a page. 

Part of the struggle had to do with going from being a very picky instrumental player to accessing the space of composition and writing. Though I'd composed music here and there before, it was usually one thing at a time that I would work on for several weeks and play just for myself and then years would go by. There was no constant commitment and no deadline to set my hair on fire.

I am used to spending months learning, memorizing, and perfecting a single piece of music written by someone else. Writing for myself feels entirely different. I am not trying to impress anyone but myself. And to tell the truth, after studying with musicians for so long that I KNOW have wonderful taste, I came to the realization that I had to learn what my taste actually was.

How else could I impress myself when I am the only judge? That is pretty tricky if you haven't been paying attention to your own taste, and rather spent most of your time worrying about impressing someone else, no matter how amazing and lovely they are.

But in the end, I think this is all there is to it. If I don't like something and put it out there and by chance everyone loves it, I do not want to be playing that thing over and over again. I want everything I write to be like watching my kids open a gift I chose for them on Christmas when I play it. I want to be jumping up and down ecstatic to share it.

It took awhile to journey into that head space.

For the last few weeks I have spent an hour a day in the early afternoon writing. A schedule has worked wonders for me. In a few weeks I've come up with six songs! Will they all make it onto an album? Right now I think they are fabulous. So, likely so, though I need to polish them up a bit before I go to the studio. In the end we will see what makes the final cut. One thing is for certain, I'm not putting it on unless I think it kicks ass. 

So after all the talk, I should share something, right?

I'd intended to share more over video the last few months but I'll admit it has been difficult to find the time. Scheduling the time to write the music was challenging enough let alone finding the time to set up and share video. And, yes, I still plan to share more video in the near future. I do believe that just needs to be something new I put on a schedule.

In lieu of sharing a video, here are some of the lyrics to one of the songs I am working on. This one is for ukulele. Enjoy!

All Figured Out

I went walking on a sunny sunny day

And I thought maybe I could make my worries go away

So I hatched a major plan, genius and true

And I goes like this, its for me and its for you

Refrain:

I've got it all figured out

Got the whole thing all figured out

From the atoms to the stars (figured out)

And there ain't no more to learn at all

Forever

All figured out

Got the whole thing all figured out

'Bout how the human genome works (figured out)

And there ain't no more to learn at all

Forever

 

Announcing Southwest Harp Publications LLC on Amazon!

Recently I created an LLC for my publications work. Check it out on Amazon.com - my first Southwest Harp Publications book, The Silver Lyre! It is available here:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Silver-Lyre-Anne-Kilmer/dp/0615868762/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407551334&sr=8-1&keywords=the+silver+lyre

If you have the book and like it, would you be so kind as to write a review?

I plan to release original sheet music as well as my own arrangements on Amazon.com under the Southwest Harp Publications name in the future. So stay tuned... 

 

Picture Puzzle Piece

During the last few years I have been falling in love with poetry. It all began after revisiting Shel Silverstein's poems from A Light in the Attic a few years ago. We bought a recording of Mr. Silverstein reading a collection of poems from this book for our son when he was about three years old. After hearing "Picture Puzzle Piece", I  knew I'd been missing out on an entire branch of art for years. The poem gave me the shivers. I knew I wanted to do something neat with it!

The ironic thing is, A Light in the Attic is the first book of poetry that I owned (at age 8 perhaps?). I'd overlooked this poem though. I was more fascinated by the humor of Mr. Silverstein than anything of beauty for so long. In particular "Bear in There", "The Mehoo and the Exactlywatt", "Nobody", "Ladies First" are splendid favorites of silliness. "Picture Puzzle Piece" is a bit hidden in the book on page 21, with only a tiny illustration of a puzzle piece in the bottom right hand corner.

For any other Shel Silverstien fans who might be interested in other beautiful poems they might have missed in the book, check out "Tryin' on Clothes", "The Little Boy and the Old Man", and of course, "Light in the Attic". Lovely!

I put music and added song to "Picture Puzzle Piece". Here is a little video I shot today right after a rockin' monsoon rain in our backyard.




The Bright Green Bough CD Release Party Photos!

I felt so blessed and honored by the wonderful guests who came to my first ever CD release party. It was a much needed celebration for a project that I worked on so hard for so long. The Auld Dubliner was a great venue as well and the atmosphere was perfect for sharing tunes with friends.

Enjoy the following slideshows - 

Photos here by the fabulous Amber Brewton:

Here are some shots from my awesome hubby Jeremy:

Mending Honey the Harp - Send her good vibes!

I'll admit there has been quite a break in my postings as of late.

At first I blamed it on the busy life of parenting amidst playing harp, and possibly because St. Paddy's Day playing was a little exhausting (albeit great fun) and I needed a little rest.

But too many weeks went by and I finally came to accept that it was that it was because I missed my Celtic harp Honey. Let me give you a little back story first though.

A few days before St. Patrick's Day I was making dinner in the kitchen when I heard a crash! bang! and saw Violet tiptoe out of the studio.

Ow! Poor Honey!!

Ow! Poor Honey!!

Well, I'd not been careful enough to keep her out of the studio unsupervised. She'd never been rough with the harps before and I had a false sense of confidence that she wouldn't ever do such a thing.

But she did. She is almost two, for goodness sake, and very active and curious.

I was lucky, Violet was OK and the back of the harp had a big crack in it and that was it.

And I do insure my harps that I play professionally so Honey was covered.

I sat down with Trish a few weeks ago and she could tell I was behind in what I'd planned to do for those weeks. Just offhand she said something like, "I know you are still sad that your harp is broken, but just remember Violet is fine and that is all that matters."

Until that point though I didn't realize how sad I really was about the accident. The harp is just a thing and I had the pedal harp to practice on for the CD Release Party in the meantime.

But truly I have a lot of anxiety about sending Honey out though to Rees Harps and the trip home.  

Of course Honey will be well taken cared of at Rees Harps. Its the shipping I am biting my nails about. Sending harps across the country is always so nerve wracking! It used to be that one carrier would get a good reputation, such as FedEx, USPS or DHL but then I'd hear stories about all of these big guys from the harp makers or from friends delivering broken harps. It is just always a risk to ship a harp.

On top of that, you do not want to ship a harp to Tucson when it is summer because of the high temperatures and the glue involved with their construction. And it's starting to get hot here in Tucson.

So Honey is set to come today. Crossing my fingers, toes, eyes, eyelashes, and elbows. The delivery window started 45 minutes ago. I know I will feel a whole lot better once she is here!

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

shamrock.jpg

Playing harp somewhere on the weekend of St. Patrick's Day is a must. Finally the old magic tunes can all come out and dust themselves off and really dance a jig.

This year I played for my son's kindergarten class, played for folks at Bookman's on Speedway and then played in the green grass for dancing children in the Civano park. The fabulous Amber Brewton took some great photos in the Civano Mary Webber park.

Photo credit 2013 Amber Brewton

Photo credit 2013 Amber Brewton