New Thanksgiving Feast

I started writing this song after playing a show on Cape Cod.  Mike and I were driving back towards Boston, seeing signs for towns with Native names: Chicopee, Mashpee, Cotuit. 

I had just read about how the leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux would start each day of protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline with a prayer: they would pray both for the protesters and for the Army Corps of Engineers who were threatening their safety, their lives, their water.  I thought, that’s the most powerful spiritual example and it comes from the people who were here in this land first.  What if Americans, white Americans especially, could learn this practice that is some way Native to this land (a similar practice to MLK, Gandhi, Jesus)?  How would it change us? 

Since I was writing about Thanksgiving, I thought about football, a sport I grew up loving.  We would have a touch football game for all the families on my street every Thanksgiving Day.  I thought about Colin Kaepernick’s protest,  I thought about racism against Black Americans and people of color.

I wanted the song to be structured like a mirror - the first half talks about what I was taught/not taught about the origins of America and the second half talks about what is really happening now as the result, I believe, of the un-resolved pain and tragedy that have been part of our true history.

It felt vulnerable to write and to sing this idea, that we could find healing if we look at our true history, really listen to each others’ different experiences.  The truth is, in every abusive relationship, (except in the case of sociopaths), both the abused and the abuser feel pain.  The wounds are there and everyone is walking around with them subconsciously.  Hurting people hurt.  Power without moral conscience creates a spiritual wound that can only be healed by coming completely clean.    

Since Thanksgiving reminds me of family, I thought about my grandparents, Jewish Russian immigrants to the US - they left Russia to escape the Pogroms, massacres of Jewish people.  It was so horrible they wouldn’t speak about what that part of their lives was like.  Here we are with politicians who are attacking immigrants, again.  That could be my family. 

As we lead up to Thanksgiving, I hope this song helps you find a way to find gratitude for the reality of your own history, for our shared true history, and that it inspires you to move forward with that gratitude in your heart.

#Thanksgiving #Gratitude #BacktoMyGreen  


Singing Burt Bacharach with the Berlin Brothers

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One of the great joys of living in Hillsborough, NC is getting to sing & perform with the Berlin Brothers.  The brainchild of William Dawson and Vernon Dowdall, the Berlin Brothers is an ever-expanding/changing collective of musicians who perform theme shows throughout the year.  A few weeks ago we performed a night of Burt Bacharach tunes, complete with a horn section and harpist!  I got to sing "Don't Make Me Over", made famous by the great Dionne Warwick.  Here's the live recording!

Vulnerability/Healing

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I witnessed something very simple but moving this morning. About 45 minutes into a weekly Zumba class, our teacher stopped the music and said “I’m sorry, but my mom passed away yesterday. I just need to say it HAS been a struggle for me to be up here, and I hope it’s ok if we cut class a little short and just cool down now.”

Immediately every woman in the class, of every shape, size, color, and age moved towards her with tears in our eyes. Several of us asked if we could give her a hug. She said she preferred to finish class instead. I found her willingness to open up to us to be incredibly brave, and a gift to all of us in the room. If she had just tried to muscle through, we would have all left thinking “I did my exercise for today: check!”, and each gone on to the next task on our to-do lists. Instead, because of her willingness to be vulnerable and honest, she gave us a chance to feel the immediate, simple desire in our own hearts to help another human being who is in pain. As my mentor has told me, vulnerability is always the more powerful moment. When we are vulnerable, we give others a chance to step towards us and experience their own strength and love.

To paraphrase something I read in “Lion’s Roar”, a Buddhist magazine, “We need to feel the world’s pain.” I think allowing our pain to be expressed honestly, and letting others’ pain in cleanses us. It brings us back down to earth. It gives us an opportunity to live in the moment.

Just some thoughts on a rainy Saturday after what has been, in so much of the world, a week filled with conflict and tragedy.

#hope #gratitude #love

 

Thank You Ireland and UK Fans!

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I am one of those people who always think that whatever is happening right this moment is how it will be forever. You can imagine easily how this can cause problems in day to day life – if things are going badly, it can feel like there will never be any hope again and it will never change. If things are going great, I have the ability to fly off into a sort of mania and become disconnected from reality all together.

On stage though, I have found this immediacy has been a gift. What I'm feeling is real and no one can argue with me. If they do I can't hear them! What is right now is forever. I can honor it and release it and celebrate the contradictions, truly feel the entire moment.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the people who helped me to arrange this Ireland/UK tour, including @Michael Chang, Paul McGee , Nigel Martyn, Jim Sellick, Christina Humphries and Paul Kemp. Thank you to the promoters for giving me a place to unleash the tiger. Thank you to Siobhan Begley & Mark & Danu and especially to everyone who came out and listen and spoke to me after the shows. I very much look forward to returning! And thank you to my man, Mike June for welcoming me home with open arms. 

Thank you to Paul Kemp for this picture of me with the cats at The Greys in Brighton. I will always be a crazy cat lady in the depths of my soul.

HOUSES

HOUSES

Many of you know that my dad passed away in 2011 from ALS. We hadn't always had the best relationship; to be blunt, my dad was often pretty self-centered. We could sometimes have good conversations but I would see him shrink away in fear when, as a child I would come to him upset or in tears. 

THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR A GREAT EUROPEAN/UK TOUR!

Mike June and I had a blast in Spain, Ireland, UK, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic & France.  Thanks so much to EVERYONE who put on a show, came out to see us, spoke to us afterwards!  It was a little nuts to try to do so much in one month so going forward we are going to split things up a bit!  But it was incredibly inspiring and reaffirmed for me why I do this.  Connecting with real people about real experiences through music is magic and I feel so blessed to do this.  #gratitude

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