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Music Interviews & Reviews

Interview with Orion Foxwood

April, 2013

Recently, we at PaganPages, have had the honor to review and interview one of our favorite authors again, Orion Foxwood.

 

In February, I did a book review for his newest book The Candle and the Crossroads: A Book of Appalachian Conjure and Southern Root-Work.  Orion Foxwood took some time out from his busy schedule to chat with us about his newest work and just what Appalachian Conjure and Southern Root-Work is.

 

 

PaganPages (PP):  What is American Southern conjure? 

 

Orion Foxwood (OF):  American Conjure is a generalized term for a syncretic American folk spiritual and magical practice(s) that incorporates African (through the slave trade of the 17 and 1800s), Native American (specific to the geographic region), European (depending on the colony and variant of catholic or protestant tradition), and other localized or migratory practices that are primarily of colonial origins. These practices are known by many names including conjure, root-work, hoodoo, blue-roots, spirit-doctoring, etc. and represent a traditional role of magic in the American rural and urban culture. As a general description, they include (but are not limited to) healing, magic, prophesy, spiritual-cleansing, and defense practices.

 

 

PP:  How did you learn these practices? Were they handed down in your family?

 

OF:   I learned some of these practices and philosophies from my mother, neighbors, and friends while growing up; and other’s from workers throughout the American south. They were not transmitted in a formal setting but in response to needs as they arose. For instance, if there was a drought, I learned how to conjure rain. MY mother learned some of these practices from her mid-wife, who was a freed-slave. Other practices I learned while watching people come to workers of spirit-doctoring, who needed help for specific maladies… physical and otherwise. 

 

 

 

PP:  What is the difference between southern conjure and other types of folk magic?

 

OF:  The primary difference is that the work I describe in my book grew in the cultural and social environment of the American South. I think that the defining attribute(s) is the influence of African cultures and the nuances of the civil war and its impact on the internal conflict of “freedom versus enslavement” and “inalienable rights of humanity.” This sculpted my unwavering commitment to equity of rights and resources and adoration of the contributions of the tapestry of ethnicity and culture that makes up America. Specifically, I am in deep love with and reverent of the contributing African cultures, though I am in reverence of cultural diversity in general. By the way, I am not saying this to be politically correct… this is how I am at my core. 

 

 

PP:  How has conjure influenced your life?

 

OF:  I believe it has formed me at the very foundations of my self-hood. Through Conjure I know that there is a force at the center of our being that cannot be influenced or diminished by ANY external force, however oppressive or influential. There is a force, that we can call “our spirit” that is the most important and powerful force in our lives and it must be attended to. Conjure (or “spirit-doctoring”) has guided me in knowing the forces that enslave or liberate our spirits. Through Conjure, we exert ownership over our internal/eternal essence and how it blossoms into our world.   

 

 

PP:   You use a very soulful tone in this book, why?

 

OF:  Thank you for asking this question. True Conjure, as I know it and in living culture, is a way of liberating ourselves from domination and bringing forth the qualities of a fulfilling and good life. There are many very fine books, correspondence courses, and web-sites that provide information, formulas, history and historical foundations. I did not see any that gave the gut-and-soul of a form of magical/spiritual practice (conjure) that could not be diminished or destroyed by the most brutal forces of humanity including slavery and other forms of oppression. Bottom line… I wanted my contribution to the corpus of conjure information to be a guide back to the heart and core of conjure, hoodoo, etc.

 

 

PP:  You do professional conjure work with clients. What does that entail?

 

OF:  I do readings to look at the client’s spiritual attributes and influences as well as their relationship to the roads of luck, love, life and death. This assessment, in addition to the client’s report of their needs and their life-scape, gives me information on the relationship between their visible and invisible life-patterns. From this, I can work with clients on a strategy to cleanse ill-influences and develop relationships with spirits and forces that support the “blessing-roads” of their lives. Professional root-work and conjure focuses on “the invisible relationships between visible things.”

 

 

PP:  You are adamant about respecting the people, such as the African slaves, who suffered to preserve this work. Why?

 

OF:  I am unwavering about this because the powerful foundational influences of American Southern Conjure (as I understand it) was African through the American Colonial Slave-trade. Therefore, the very “soil” of this practice, for me, was built by the slave spirits. In my view, you CANNOT grow the branches of a tree without nourishing its roots. African slave influences are the roots of the tree of my conjure. Therefore  I honor my roots. I am grateful that these spirits found a way for these practices to find the way to my spirit.  

 

 

PP:  Why do you spend so much time in the book focused on “sovereignty of the spirit”?

 

OF:  As my mother and Godmother said (please excuse my language) ‘if you ain’t got your spirit, you ain’t got shit.’ When you claim your spirit and know it… grow it, heal it and reveal it… you have the very kingdom of spirit. Sovereignty of the spirit is about claiming the piece of the eternal that you are… and growing your life from that perspective.

 

  

PP:  What is your primary message in this book? 

 

OF:  Overcome spiritual domination and seek the freedom to become what inspired God to create you. 

 

 

PP:  What other conjure-related projects are you working on?

 

OF:  I intend to use my new book as a manual and develop classes with CDs and DVDs to help interested students develop their spiritual sovereignty. I also intend to make guest appearances on TV and other shows. Over the next 2 years, I will provide an online store for the purchase of products and teachings on Conjure with ALL work in honor to the spirits!

 

 

We will keep our readers updated on Orion Foxwood’s classes, as well as, his online shop in order for us to honor the Spirits, as well.

 

We would like to thank Orion Foxwood for taking this time with us and our readers to explain his amazing book and thoughts on Conjuring and Southern Root-Work.

Peatbog Faeries-Live

June, 2009

peatbog-faeries-live


Peatbog Records

For all of you have never heard Peatbog Faeries they are the very nature of musical polyglot and that incongruent philosophical collection makes Peatbog Faeries faultless. And in this their new, first live album it is evident that once again with their undeviating approach they have integrated their deeply seeded Scottish roots with a constantly evolving mix of Celtic, Rock and blues genres, with the enchanting array of pipes and whistles, fiddles, brass, guitars and drums only add to the intoxicatingly beautiful sound that once again reaches the depths of my being, filling my soul with a plethora of enchanted instrumental magnificence.

So if you only purchase one CD this year take it from me PEATBOG FAERIES – LIVE is the one.

~ Michele Burke, PaganPages.org

Sound Sample- track 10 Caberdrone

Peatbog Faeries Live by Peatbog Faeries- £10.00 = $15.21 USD

HobbyHorse

May, 2009

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“BREAK IN THE CLOUDS” CD

“Break In The Clouds” 2006, a collection of songs each telling a story about hope, renewal, love, finding one-self, being at peace with what you find, and the journey in between.  The instrumental music alone is extremely well worth taking the time to listen to.  There are a couple of songs one in particular Goddess of Mercy that I found easy to use while meditating and “Lullaby”, a easy simple soft tune one I use to ease myself with and I love the instrumentals in it.  The entire CD has several sections where the talents of the artist are proven over and over again.  While I have not seen them in person I can only imagine from what I have heard and read from those that have had the opportunity to see them it is an experience you soon won’t forget.

HOBBYHORSE THE GROUP

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The Hobbyhorse band plays either as an acoustic duo, trio or full acoustic/electric band consisting of vocalist Annie who also plays guitar, drums, Cajun gong, Tibetan bowls and many other percussion instruments.   Phil plays the guitar, (standard tenor and baritone), mandolin, harpsichord and bass.  He also is known to charm in with a tune as well.   Recent new members in the band are Larry on bass and Kelly on drums.

Hobbyhorse plays adventurous folk/rock songs that tell stories inspired by world mythology, love and the Spirit.

Hobbyhorse currently offers three different shows, to suit the venue and occasion.

1. Mythology Show – Ancient Mythology comes alive with an entertaining mix of original songs and storytelling, based upon myths from around the world.

2. Break In The Clouds – favorite songs from their CD “Break In The Clouds”, along with select mythological songs, new material and the occasional uniquely arranged cover song.

3. Electric Hobbyhorse! –  Influenced by the mysterious sounds of Pink Floyd, the rawness of Neil Young and the magic of Donovan, Hobbyhorse will take you for a ride.  This is the full rock version of Hobbyhorse, highlighting our more energetic originals and covers from the psychedelic 60’s such as Mr. Soul (Neil Young), Season of the Witch (Donovan), Get Together (Youngbloods).

They have 3 CDs:

Break In The Clouds (2006)

Bootleg Series Vol 1 (2004)

Wild Nights  (2004) – Songs set to the poems of Emily Dickinson

Links

http://www.hobbyhorsecafe.com/

http://www.myspace/hobyhorsecafe

Hally’s Hints

April, 2009

THE AFFECT OF MUSIC by Hally

From an early age we come to appreciate music as something that is always there. It is something that we use at a party, in the car to pass the time and even in cafes and stores we visit. We come to appreciate music as a catalyst to fun, sadness, opportunity and remorse. It is pivotal in our day to day dramas and yet, did you ever really wonder about music itself?

Based on numerous conversations over the years only those that consciously make music part of their lives does music and the sensitivities we have to music become apparent. What we classify the “every day person” that goes about their business rarely stops to think of music as anything more than an additive to an event.

Music is a powerful medium connecting our unconscious to our conscious. It has the power to move us to tears or lift us up to laughing. This is done through the choice of notes, the progression of chords and keys used to even the tone of the singer, if there is one.

Speaking first hand as a musician and someone that is more sensitive than some, music is one of the rare things in life that is like breathing to me. It can be found as the wind whistles through the trees, it can be found with a busker strumming her guitar on the sidewalk and it is something that I find lives within our very hearts. Music is the song of life.

Consequently when I find myself at events where the music does not complement certain aspects of my own musical chord I can become uncomfortable and it has the power to change my state of mind.  Naturally when you mention this to a friend they look at you as though you are speaking another language because they may not resonate with their own song let alone that which has been written by someone else.

When you walk into a store or a café take note of how it makes you feel. Sometimes this in itself can make you feel at ease or ready to run. Listen to what really resonates with you and ask the question why. You may be surprised to hear what the answer is.

Below is a poetic interpretation to the power of music…

A MUSICIAN’S CONNECTION TO LIFE…

The sensation of feeling alive reflects the ebbs and flows of a song as it journeys from the first verse through the chorus to the coda for the grand finale. And so we live with ups and downs, good and bad coming to an exciting ending, or beginning, on what was our life.

My life I hear in the music of songs, the counter melody, the counter harmony flowing with the main melody, following its own path and yet in line with others.

The single strike of a piano key vibrates through the air as the voice of one that is filled with passion, passion for love, passion for life.

As I sing, I hear the notes coming from an instrument familiar and yet foreign in sound. It has been a while since I have heard you. The sensation of pure expression is liberating and empowering. The song of self is by far the most powerful. I so enjoy hearing it; I so long to hear it more.

I am alive when I hear the beat of a drum and the lyrics of song come to light. It is the breath in my mouth and the blood in my veins flow to the very heart as it beats in time with all that comes to follow.

My music is my song is my life. Every breath I take is for all the songs I am yet to sing and as I exhale, these are the songs of yesterday whispered in the night carried with the wind.

Music is part of my soul, part of my mind and lives within each cell of my body. Every sound vibrates a chord of emotion that flows through to my very core. I shiver from the amazing sensation and excitement of the musical journey.

My breath is song, my life is music and so we are one.

I am free in a single bar of music and have escaped all that is held before me by the end of the first verse. Music is my drug; it is my hidden desire of everlasting passion.

The cost is a life of commitment, devotion and unyielding connection of the explainable. There are no words true enough to express the strength music has and is in life. We hear it every day and never stop to wonder of its affects.

I know the little secret, which I have known for sometime. Music is the addiction of passion. Music is the drug of life to pick up when you are down, to bring strangers closer and create a room of ten thousand people enjoying every beat, melody and journey it has to offer.

Many have tried for a similar following but have fallen short of the same power.

To play, to sing is to live.

CrossRoads by Jenna Greene

March, 2009

“CrossRoads,” her debut cd and what a debut cd it is.   A collection of Celtic original songs each one telling a story clearly and beautifully written and sung so gloriously that it makes you want to stop and enjoy what you hear.  Keep in mind that these are not traditional Celtic songs which is why I am so thrilled with them.  They have the Celtic flair, they have the history but with a twist.

Jenna is also currently working on her second CD, “Dance of the Goddess,”

“ which explores the many aspects of the divine feminine.  It honors the spiritual teachers who have inspired her writings, including Joseph Campbell, Jon and Caitlin Matthews, and Louise Hay.  These themes are woven into the landscape of ethereal, mythic worlds Jenna is known for creating.” *

Do yourself a favor and give the cd a listen to.  Jenna Greene she is and upcoming star.

Here is where you can find on the web.

http://www.greeneladymusic.com/Default.aspx

http://www.myspace.com/greeneladymusic

* Quote from an excerpt from new promotional material of “Dance of the Goddess,” cd.

Music Review: OshunGaia

February, 2009

Artist: Amikaeyla Proudfoot Gaston & Ariana Lightningstorm

Tales of the Serpent Women & Faerie Child

Ancient Indigenous Chants & Original Songs from global traditions  & Spiritualities

Oshun Gaia:
a collaborative to create a collection of music honoring the Goddesses Oshun and Gaia.  For those of you not familiar with these Goddesses, Oshun is the Orisha Goddess of fresh water, the energy of bounty, blessings, home, and hearth. The Goddess Gaia is known as Mother Earth.   While listening to this cd I found a delightful mixture of chant, drumming, fluting, and beautiful voices.  Amikaeyla and Ariana were able to use their talents to call upon the spirits through beautiful harmonies from many traditions and ancestral rituals.  My favorite song from this grouping is “21 Praises of Tara” Perfect music for group gatherings.  I give this collobration 4 Stars ****

Guests artist: Jaqui MacMillan, KIVA (Diana Sunday, David Landis, Diana McFadden, Jim Brewster, Tigre Cruz, Tim Sauerwein), John Wubbenhorst, Ken Anoff, Daveed Korup, Wynne Paris, Tom Wolfe, Aaron Starr, and Anowee

To purchase the cd:

http://cdbaby.com/cd/amikaeylaariana

www.oshungaia.com


Music Artists KIVA

January, 2009

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Kiva’s cd “Out of the Corner of the Eye” is their ninth recording since the bands birth in 1990.  The cd is a collaboration of songs based on fey folk and the world they dwell in.    The band, with talented guest and a specialized set of instruments (cello, guitar, flutes, didgeridoo, violin, bass, and mandolin) recreated a world many of us wondered about and wish we were actually living in.  With each song and story being told you can feel yourself being swept into the story as if Alice in Wonderland.

While listening to the music and lyrics I am easily reminded of being back in the Renaissance perhaps of being part of a midnight summer eve.  The title track “Out of the Corner of the Eye” is a story told by a fey.  How they move throughout our life only letting us seeing them through the corner of our eyes. Making us wonder if we are sane are they real?  The song “In Praise of Winter” by Ariana Lightningstorm is one of my favorites as this will be my first winter in years.  I just moved to Colorado and I find this song a fun, look at winter coming along.  Way too many people look at snow and winter as sad instead of cleansing and beautiful.   The wind instruments throughout this cd are awesome and the musicians that play them are to be commended for their talent.

“Fairie Glen,” fairies playing in a field, that is the first thing that will come to your mind when you this song.  “Rise up the Call,” is one song on the cd to stop and make you think about your relationships and maybe think twice about appreciation.  “The Coming and Going of the Fey<” a whimsical little tune of the parading fey going on through out their day, their merry merry day.

On a personal note, I have a fey garden and a fey village in my home.  While listening to this cd, twice, I noticed that my fey had gathered in my living room around me.  Some by my wine glass, some dancing to the music but mostly just enjoying the tunes.  It had been quite a while since I had seen them as I think I had ruffle them since moving from Texas to Colorado.  I love the beat, the rhythms, the collaborations, and the theme of the music and also thank KIVA for bringing my fey back.  This is a great delightful cd with a very talented band from Washington DC.  Be sure to check them out here is their website to see where they are performing.

KIVA Band Members

Ariana Lightningstorm – Band Leader, Lead Vocals, Percussion, Songwriter, Manager
Diana Sunday – Vocals, Guitar, Percussion, Drums
David Landis – Native American Flutes, Whistles, Drums, Vocals
Diana McFadden – Cello, Mandolin, Guitar
Jim Brewster – Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Banjo, Drums, Flute, Whistles, VOcals
Tim Sauerwein – Didgeridoo, Percussion, Vocals
Tigre Cruz – Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Amikaeyla Gaston – Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Songwriter
Eve Jones – Drums, Percussion, Silver Flute
Jaqui MacMillan – Drums

Visit them at:
http://www.earthsearecords.com/index.html

Jack Montgomery

November, 2008

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Everywhere I Look by Jack Montgomery – a truly impressionable cd, the 1st song “ Next to You” quickly became my new love song.
http://cdbaby.com/mp3lofi/jackmontgomery2-01.m3u
This collaboration of songs contains every genre from country, Celtic, folk rock, the blues to even a love song.  You can’t help but even do a little toe tapping. I was very impressed with Mr. Montgomery’s Roots of Oak, and his song Reflection will definitely make you stop and think and appreciate what you have in life right now.  For those of you who enjoy folk music with a twist this is a must have.  He has a smooth voice that at first I couldn’t quite place until I heard Little Match Girl and I thought of Neil Diamond.  I know Celtic and Jewish, but the Croon is still there.  What can I say I am showing my age Jack Montgomery has a glorious voice to listen to and the talent to writes the songs to sing with it?

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Onward To Avalon by Jack Montgomery –  is a collection of magical and mythical songs with an over whelming passion of telling a spiritual story through a Celtic and folk music.  Jack Montgomery has out done himself with this 1-hour cd.  No matter how many times I listen to it I am swept away by it.  My favorite songs “Isis” and “Sea of Forgetfulness” are amazing, with the rest telling a story each in its own right being worth it weight in gold as well.  This cd is a must for a car trip or maybe for a small house party as background music.
http://cdbaby.com/cd/jackmontgomery

Review: CELIA FARRAN

October, 2008

Blessed Samhain.
Normally in this section of the magazine you would find a great review of a most terrific book which I had found for your enjoyment.  However this is our Samhain issue and Pagan Pages, as you have noticed, has a new look and some new departments and this month I, also, am creating a new department of reviews which may at times included interviews.

With that said, I have taken some time getting to know this artist and it is going to be a blast getting to introduce you to a multi-talented person who is not only a SINGER, but also a SONGWRITER, ACTRESS, and a wonderful STORYTELLER.   The woman’s talents are mesmerizing and her fan base is so fierce that when they know she is in town they will rally together to find a venue to get her to perform for them.  Through her generosity for her friends and fans she arranges her time to do so.

I watched as her last visit to a town in Wisconsin was announced and immediately her fans went to work sending her emails asking if they found a place would she fit them into her schedule.  I thought to myself, “This I want to see”.  Sure enough, they found the place, it was packed and SHE put on the best show just as if they were paying her.  That ladies and gents is a STAR in her own right.

CELIA FARRAN

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“CELIA”
To quote a song from her current smash album, “she has alabaster skin, red hair and blue eyes”, and a lusty sultry voice that has been compared to Enya for this day and age and for one of the great female singers that I loved so much MS June Carter.   Celia also has the comic talents often compared to those of Gilda Radner.
For those of you scratching your head and saying to yourself who is this person Celia and why did Sage pick her?  Get a cup of tea, sit back and read on, don’t fret, by the time you have finished this article you will have come to know her and love her music as much I do. I have included all the links at the end of the article for her web pages, myspaces pages, and her yahoo fan groups as well.  I hope you enjoy the review of Celia as well as our new additional department “Music Reviews & Interviews”.
Happy Samhain everyone.

“I’ve been entangled in your soul
From the moment that we met
I can’t breathe to forgive
I’m suffocated to forget”

Once I heard the above words I kept singing them over and over again back in September of 2003, I can remember as if it were yesterday and for me that is a miracle.    My husband had been deployed for some time by then and the words were so fitting as I was so angry still trying to get over the events of 9/11 and at the fact that he had to be deployed while I was healing and my feelings were just so mix wired.   The name of this song is Trees Breathe.

Once things finally got through my very thick head, and I really took time to listen to the entire song I got back to my roots and grounded with the oak tree outside my house and center and then was able to let go and be free and again breathe and trust in what will be.  That is the magick in Celia’s music.

Celia has a gift and a magical touch with every song she produces.  I have listened to 5 albums, and within that group there is the CD Breathe recorded after the 9/11 disaster and released in August 2003.  This album was completed with lots of love, warmth, energy and spirit.  It is vitalizing and all about re-energizing you life.  Her sultry voice seeps deep into your soul soothing the anguish, the hurt, the pain and encourages the light, the warmth of the moon and energy of your “self” to rise up and breathe once again.

When Celia released this album she did so with all original songs in hopes of touching the world after all the pain it had endured.  I don’t say this often but being one of those that survived 9/11 in NYC the album “Breathe“ does exactly that.  For those of you not familiar with Celia and her music you have truly been missing out on one of most talented performers the Goddess has created.  “Breathe” – enjoy it while on a country ride or just sitting by the fireplace with a glass of wine or great cup of tea on a quiet evening.

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Celia’s current CD release Red Alabaster & Blue, is turning heads everywhere she goes and doesn’t go for that matter.  When I first heard the album I cried.  Being a pagan military spouse the first song that yanked at my heart strings, is her song Symbol.

This song was written when Celia heard about the fight with VA Affairs office by SGT. Patrick Stewart (a Wiccan Soldier) who was killed in action while in Iraq being denied his Pentacle as his emblem of belief on his grave marker.  Celia being stunned as the rest of the Pagan world wanted to show her support and thus “Symbol” was born.  It has sense been named the Anthem for the Pentacle Quest by Rev Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary.

This particular verses is my favorite:

“Well he served as any other with his hands and with his heart.
He prayed to Father Sky, bowed Down to Mother Earth.
He honored Air and Water and the Fire he danced around.
But you didn’t honor him before you put him in the Ground.”

We have several pagan soldiers deployed today who need your support
I applaud Celia for this writing and releasing this song in SGT Patrick’s honor for all the many other ways she supports the pagan military soldiers. You can take every one of Celia songs and in some way it is going to touch some part of your life.

The albums’ title song Red Alabaster & Blue is a perfect example of not only her vocal talent, and writing talent but also reaches out and touches every single American individually with its strength and energy. It is what America is all about and yet it tells you what is also all wrong with America.

Celia is a storyteller and tells a story with each and every song she creates.  With some music you listen to you get a beat and there are words and sometimes you get the opportunity to understand them.  At least I do.  With Celia, she doesn’t leave you asking yourself what the meaning of the song was.  If there is message to be given you’ll get the message.  If there’s a story you hear it and if it is just meant to just put a smile on your face you will have that smile when the song is over.  If you think I am kidding email her and ask her about the Marshmallow Dragon song.  The composition of her work is exquisite, and you feel a kick from her Celtic Roots.

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The song Quan Yin tells the story of young children stripped from the only adopted arms they knew since birth to be given back to the birth parents because they changed their mind and decided they wanted to play mommy or daddy again.  Quan Yin is the Goddess that protects all children.
This Celtic ballad We’ll Always Sing

Last month was the 7th mourning year of 9/11.  Being a survivor I feel it only right to honor the song which Celia was inspired to write to help heal the millions affected on that day. All that needs to be said about this song is take the time out of your busy schedule to listen to it enjoy the Lambeg Drums.  Your heart will race with the tempo and for once you will sing and dance and smile. Thank you Celia for making me smile.

My Favorite Fae

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While I have been a fan of Celia’s talent for a long while now, I have not had the chance to really sit down and concentrate on just her until the past two months.  Celia has a friend that has been hanging around her for a few years now and she simple “wows” the crowds whenever she decides to make an appearance.  If you ever get the opportunity to meet and catch her act, don’t turn down the chance you will so regret it, this awesome creature is “The Trestle Foote Faerie”.  Every great once in a while she is known to “pop in” on Celia’s shows to say Hello to the fans.

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Trestle Foote Faerie is a star in her own right dressed in her pink tutu and her red flowing flocks harmonious singing out tunes as “The Cell Phone Song” where she is addicted to cell phones, aren’t we all? “The Health Care Blues” where middles class citizens die owing the health system everything they never had to begin with and their children trying to pay the system back.  How true how true and  “I’m Not Homophobic”, all about how she fell in love with Curious George, but found out he was Gay.

Trust me when I say, Trestle will always surprise you, make you laugh when the day comes to an end, have you saying, “Yes I would vote for her for President!”  She has announce her  candidacy for President incase you were unaware.  There is even a bumper sticker I am sure you can still purchase announcing there is an alternative to our choices. I am sure we could still talk her into running.

Interview with CELIA FARRAN

October, 2008

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Interview

Hi Celia, thanks for taking the time to visit with me today.  First let me say that I adore your music and so many of your songs move me in ways that I simple can’t explain and for even more reasons they really touch my soul.  I am thrilled to be introducing you to our readers this month as our featured artist in our Music Review section making its debut in this Samhain issue.   So if you’re ready lets get started.

PaganPages (PP): I know you just completed a show in Milwaukee, WI, which I understand was fantastic.  Are you from the area as I hear you frequent the city quiet often?

Celia: Yes, I am from the area.  I was born in Hartland, WI and raised in Big Bend, WI which is very close to Milwaukee.  I try to get back as often as I can.

PP: When did you know you wanted to be a singer/songwriter? And then get involved in performance arts as well.  I understand you were in the Off-Broadway premiere of Connor Macpherson’s “Rum and Vodka.”

Celia: Hmmmmm….I knew from an early age that I wanted to be on the stage.  I think I got bit by the performance bug when I “starred” in the Kindergarten Christmas show as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  From then on I was in every show I could find my way into from the Girl Scout Play to The Grade School Musical to Community Theatre.  I chose a BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Michigan and then headed to NYC to try my luck on the BIG stage.  I didn’t truly begin my singer/songwriter career until  after I left New York although I recorded a solo album of 13 original songs when I was 16 years old.  Don’t even try to find it.  I burned all the copies :)

PP: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Celia: Hmmmmm I get my inspiration from any given thing in any given moment.  If I only followed every impulse I would be prolific with a capitol P!  My influences have been Irish Folk Music, Musical Theatre, The Muppets, Buggs Bunny, Shakespeare, Gilda Radner, and who hasn’t been influenced by “The Wizard of Oz”!

PP: You have 5 cds on the market and each one making greater headlines than the other.  I felt your Breathe cd was correctly titled as it left me as  the listener with the relaxation and the ability to breathe again after 9/11/01.  Being a survivor of 9/11/01 I suffered from severe panic attacks and each time I listen to that particular cd I find myself in a different world, relaxed, calm and at peace.     Now you have released Alabaster, Red and Blue at a time when the USA is a time of heavy debate over a Presidential election, in disarray against each other regarding their race, religion,  and just plain tolerance for each other.  Your timing seems impeccable with each release.   The 2 songs in this cd Symbol and Alabaster, Red and Blue should make every person stand up and take notice of what is going on today and ask why did that have to happen and what is being done to stop it.   Do you start out planning your cds this way or is this just my way of thinking it”perfect timing”?

Celia: I am so glad to hear that my recordings have found you at the right times.  I have not really planned out many of my recordings so far.  The only one that feels that it was focused in the way of timing is “The Bard of Armagh:  A Tribute to Tommy Makem“.  When I heard that Tommy had passed on I wanted to record this tribute.  I completed it in 10 days.

PP: How was Trestle Foote Fairy born? And does she have any other family members?

Celia: Trestle started out as a disembodied voice.  Her name was inspired by a conversation with my Sister on a car ride.  You can read the story of how it happened on Trestle’s Myspace page: www.myspace.com/thetrestlefootefaerie
I had great fun with Trestle leaving voice mail messages for folks.  She came to life for the
first time in Jan of 2003 when she debuted “How Could I Live Without My Cellphone”.   No other family members for Trestle.  She is one of a kind.

PP: Perhaps soon she will do an interview with me for our PaganPages readers I know she has a lot to say and also has her own cd  as well.

PP: Tell me about your immediately family?  Is there that special someone in your life?  What about furry kids and where you make your home now?

Celia: I am the youngest of 4.  My eldest brother Marty passed over a few years ago.  He was a fantastic banjo player or as he would say it “A Purveyer of Banjosity”.  My Brother Brian lives in Milwaukee and is also a musician with the guitar as his main instrument.  He played all the guitar on “Fire in the Head“.  My Sister Annalise lives in Turkey and is an architect.  Yes, I have a special someone.  His name is Chris and we live together in Santa Fe, NM.  We are currently traveling.  I am responding from China.  No furry friends in my life.  My last pet was an African Spur Thigh Tortoise named Liam.  He now lives in the Phoenix area at an alternative school.

PP: I understand you have just finished touring would you like to tell me about that, I know you visited the Washington State and Wisconsin were there other states on your list as well?

Celia: Yes, on that tour I visited Oregon, Washington and Salt Lake City, UT.   The tour after that was a very quick weekend flight to Milwaukee.  All very fulfilling and enjoyable!

PP: I am sure our readers would like to know how long does it take for you to create your songs?  Are most of your songs your own creations?

Celia: Most of what I perform is original.  It is very rare that I do a “cover tune”.  Each song is different so it is really hard to answer how long it takes to create a song.  Some songs come quickly.  Some I am still working on since High School…or rather they have been shelved until something strikes me to finish them:)

PP: Growing up was there one thing you did that you would not want anyone to know about.  That one funny thing that maybe you tried while playacting?  I only ask because I have seen your act and performances and I can only imagine you as a child and what some of the things you must have pulled while a little girl and your parents still tell that one story that makes you want to crawl under the coffee table?  With your fabulous personality and talents you surely were not the normal every day child to have in the household.   What
would your parents tell us about you if I could ask them what you were like as a young girl?

Celia: Um….okay….After a bath I loved nothing more than dancing naked on the furniture.  I thought nothing of it until for my 5th birthday cake my mother made a little frosting figure that was supposed to be me dancing naked.  Some comments from the adults made me realize that this was taboo…so I never did it again.  Hmmmm me thinks I should make a night of it and heal that old wound.  I feel a bath coming on :)

PP: It is so nice at that age to be so innocent and carefree.  I remember being in Hawaii (Oahu North Shore) where they had the nude beach and being able to swin in the ocean nude when I was 21 and thinking of how free I was.  Maybe I need to find an ocean again LOL

PP: I read an email from one of your fans, Lori, of a show you did in Milwaukee, WI at Linneman’s Bar.  In this email she had to let the rest of us know what we sadly missed out on.  With Lori’s permission I want to share part of the email with our PP readers and would also like to get  your reaction for their love for you:

“In all the years I have known Celia, in all the concerts I have heard her perform, all of which were outstanding, tonight’s concert was THE BEST I have ever attended. The best! It’s 2:00 am, I just got
home. Celia played until midnight. Yup started at 8:00, ended at midnight, 4 Hours!!! 4 Unbelievable Hours of sounds coming from this woman that I would not have thought possible from a human voice. it. I’m speechless!!! Celia literally had people sitting there with their mouths open is disbelief. One of her fellow performers may have said it best when she, while dancing to the music and with a huge smile on her face grabbed my shoulders and shook me while shouting a long excited explitive that could only be interpreted as a show of appreciation for what she was hearing. Everyone was smiling and loving the music, everyone moving to the sounds. The bar owner wasn’t even mad that he wasn’t making any money, he was busy listening to the music.”

[Copies from an email received for Lori from the thecreativesymphonyofcelia yahoo group with permission from the author.]

When you read a statement such as Lori’s what was your reaction?

Celia: I smile.  You know that inside smile when your Dharma is being truly seen by those you share it with.  Very satisfying.

PP: Besides concerts in cafes, festivals, Pagan Pride Days where else do you perform and when is your next performance schedule?

Celia: All over.  Wherever folks gather I have played.  My next engagements are in Arizona in October and November.  I always love my shows there and I am truly looking forward to them.

PP: What are some of your favorite things in life?

Celia: Music, Sex and Cookies.

interview-celia-3

PP: A women after my own heart  YEA!!!!  If I get a chance to get to AZ in Oct or Nov I will bring the Cookies!!

PP : Do you a list of things you want to accomplish in life and if so what is left on this list to cross off?

Celia: I would like to attain Enlightenment……Dammit!

PP: Is there anything you want to tell our readers about yourself, that I have not touched on?

Celia: I have never smoked a cigarette, shot a gun, or vomited from drinking too much. I HAVE walked on Fire, worked as a Nanny on a Trip Thru Europe, and accidentally opened up for Melanie (folksinger from the 70’s) when she was late getting to the show.  My father (not a Dr.) delivered me and my birth notice said “Spontaneous Birth”.   It’s been like that ever since.

PP: I know your on your way to China can you tell us a little about your trip?  Is this a pleasure trip  or touring opportunity?

Celia: Not performing.  In fact, they made me sign a piece of paper that made me promise that I wouldn’t…talk about getting your wings clipped!  But I hope to bring The Trestle Foote Faerie out a few
times and grab some video:)

PP: Celia, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to talk to me.   You’re a firecracker; and the energy you put into your work is felt the minute your voice is heard in the air.  Thank you for coming into my life and thank you for coming into the lives of our PaganPages Readers.

Celia: Thanks Faith.   Its been a pleasure spending time with you also.

Links:

Celia Cds
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/celiafarran4

MySpace Links
http://www.myspace.com/celiaonline
http://www.myspace.com/thetrestlefootefaerie
http://www.myspace.com/atributetotommymakem

Celia on YouTube
http://uk.youtube.com/profile?user=CeliaOnlinedotcom

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