RETURNING HOME a thanks-giving

FAUN FABLES North American Tour

Sept.1- Nov.13th 2012

There are things more steadfast than humans,

I think, as I see an old film shining with sea & hill vistas I just traveled through and played along last week, on California’s Lost Coast: the same nature, same brilliance, same cycles, and yet most of the actors are now dead. But in the repeated patterns of our living over the generations (how I see myself in most of these characters !) …we DO live longer than our one life. I can feel myself extending from these people, long ago, and into future lives, with my children especially.

Hard to describe, but I do.

I’ve just finished up travels that put me on highways I’ve traveled before.

A gypsy life; pedaling songs and enchantment, with my children and husband along with me. Blessed, however tumble bumble.

After the trumpeted worldly ambitions of youth set their sails and finally reach the distant shore, what remains to me is the simple patterned dance of the seasons of life itself.

Mama.shadowIt’s quite humbling; what can you do, really? Exist now until you don’t anymore.

But do the dance. Drink the nectar. Salute magic. Live the daily turns with exquisite beauty and mad reverence. And then be proud to cast your ingredients back to the sea you grew out of..! And what an incredible sea it is.

When I arrive back home from a long, interesting tour, I’m saturated with the banquet of life;  amazed with what I’ve been given to partake in, as all humans have…

And this tour contained plenty of gold. . .

I think if you can begin a tour with some time off (and even better if with kindred spirits), then you’re doing yourself a great favor, since the week before leaving is such a sleepless Herculean push.

I want to THANK our shimmering Utah family (Stefanie, Mattson & Shari) for taking us in at the onset with such depth and flair; it seems to exude from everything they touch…especially eats! It’s always a banquet in more ways than one to spend time with y’alls.

This whole tour felt like a victory march- returning to the scene of battle – after the losses during our last big national tour in fall 2010:  our boxy 1976 RV home-on-wheels ‘Half Pint,’ and our home-on-the-range; a forlorn ranch in northern Sonoma county we moved to in 2008 to step through the portal of becoming parents. The whole ranch property sold suddenly, and we had to acknowledge the grace of how it mysteriously came into our lives at the perfect time, and how it now was mysteriously leaving.

This time, not only were we returning with a vehicle intact, but also to a cozy bungalow home on an Oakland hillside.  Now there’s some grace a soul can sink into.!

Our new tour vehicle, THE SILVER GOOSE (goose, because it has a nest inside) and our nanny JORGE were of a hearty stock, fortunately, because the travels were long and the temperature conditions- both of landscape and little girl children- were extreme at times.

It took us awhile before we realized we could use the Silver Goose’s A/C (something Half Pint lacked), instead of our usual method of pouring water over our heads and fanning books at each other.

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Some Tour Highlights

(great acts, venues, people, nature spots, food finds, books, bookstores..)

**A venue we’d never played in a state we’d never played, was a real reminder of why it’s worth it to travel across the country, finding incredible community art spots:

Mama.shadow2THE BOTTLETREE in Birmingham, Alabama.

It’s run by a brother and sister team who are connected to THE POLYPHONIC SPREE. Nice work, folks! And here I’ve spent so many years passing over the deep south;  assuming there weren’t any receptive venues for experimental music to play.

**THE PILOT LIGHT in Knoxville, Tennessee

Owner Jason Boardman has done years of tireless work of pure intent for this rare cornerstone of support for experimental music in Tennessee.

**CONUNDRUM MUSIC HALL in Columbia, South Carolina

A big fan of experimental music- almost as big as his heart is- has opened this venue to bring a true listening room to South Carolina: Tom Law.

**Our kindred spirits, the McCamish family, who recently relocated from the Bay Area to Tennessee, brought our girls to their home for a break from touring. A gesture real organic, since our girls have felt at home with them from the beginning, since they were babies and we shared our time & our homes together.

**We’ve fallen into a dreamy world in Boston… with the passionate chamber rock of JAGGERY, led by the incredible vocalist MALI  SASTRI.  And we were amazed by the lush, virtuosic piano playing by the youth named TRISTAN ALLEN

**And finally made it back to MAINE. Biddeford has a lovely place called the Oak and the Ax that treated us real well:

One of the proprieters was a gem of a musical discovery!

And his full band, originally from Brooklyn, NY:

**There’s a lot of fuss to cross the Canadian border, but boy was it worth it.

Toronto, promoted by a wunderkind lynchpin of music-community TAD MICHALAK, introduced us to the charming lad known as THE HOLIDAY RAMBLER, and to a voice that haunted me all along the highways for the rest of the tour:  SIMONE SCHMIDT of FIVER.   Wow. I almost feel possessive of her, like she is a secret find.. and since she has all the texture and gravity of an older woman sitting alone on a rocking chair with a rifle in hand in the sparse North Dakota winter. . she sings from a deep, precious, haunted, intimate place. Whew.

For me, finding a singer who truly transports me is like finding gold.

And Montreal, besides being the chosen home for the late, extraordinary singer LHASA (whom I had a penpal friendship with, even a loose plan to collaborate with someday..) is just an incredible, tasteful Euro-French city. It was the one show on the tour I performed with laryngitis, but it made us take a different approach and the awesome, focused audience would’ve gone down any road we presented.

**CENTER FOR SYMBOLIC STUDIES in New Paltz, NY is a worthy place/venue to mention.

“…our own individual lives…are connected through that still point to people of all times and places…we tread the same earth on which the ancient shamans danced and sang their spirit songs, and King Arthur’s men rode in quest of the Holy Grail. Can it be that our journey through life is to be no less wonder-filled than theirs?” – founder Stephen Larsen


Dawn-&-Melora**We played 3 weeks with RASPUTINA.   Friends. Great band to share shows with. What an easy fit! MELORA CREAGER is a rare storyteller par excellence and a brilliant woman I’ve been a fan of for nearly 20 years. I still sometimes blush when we’re together. She dwells in some bewitched place; like childhood’s imagination and play. It is like finding a precocious child you’re enamored with and want to go to their house, be their friend, see all their toys and run around with all summer under the sun &


**And in Seattle, we have found sisters-in-mind CLEARLY BELOVED.

They have a rare element of kitchen wench magic and playful paganism added to some inspired prog-folk. Check them out.!

**On California’s Lost Coast, there is a hamlet called PETROLIA that may be one of the last vestiges of old-style community; remote, free from most of the world’s business, and living richly in their own business…of coastal elemental life and artistic, salt of the earth people. We played the community center as our tour wrap-up show; heading down the coast on our way back home. It was organized by the folks who create the incredible body-care products BY NIEVES; dear friends and artistic comrades. My ideal of whom I’m getting such things from? Someone of the rural ilk, knowing earth magic. Someone cosmopolitan enough to add good, cultured flair & bring forth the goods to the wider world.  Nieves Rathbun is just the lady.

THANK YOU, folks, for making our muse-following and gypsy lives worth it!

And now, here’s some other elements that make the gypsy-life gold:

I wore a Russian Fairytale dress  (had to be up-close to see the delicate vine & flower embroidery!) by Selene Ahnese:

Our fawn t-shirt design that sold out was made by an artist in Paris, France:

Thank you, Arnus !

My gorgeous guitar strap was from Sue Schofield in Louisville, KY:

thank you, Sue !

Great independent bookstore in Lexington, KY, full of rare titles (Nils found a James Joyce biography by Helene Cixous that he’d been looking for for years. The kind owner let our girls pick out a free book each):

I found this wonderful book there, a favorite subject of mine!

Here is my fantasy bookstore, in the French quarter of New Orleans. Cruel that it was closed during our day off there!


I love old fashioned cookbooks with quaint anecdotes. I love British Isles cottage culture. & wicked humor. So this book is perfect! By Irish writer Molly Keanes:

Lots of rich, dark dark chocolate on this tour ! That happens when you travel during your birthday time and Halloween..

One of the most excellent chocolate salons I’ve found:

This lady specializes in toffees & beautiful chocolates poured into molds:

Another lovely place, especially because it’s in my ole humble hometown:

Why I love Kansas:

I found a cool book here all about cast iron cooking, including Dutch ovens.

If I’d known of the dreamy world these candies come from (check out this website…) and how they taste like a fairytale.. I’d have bought them all up at the Provence store in New Orleans; who’s one of the only places in the country that sells them.! Me and my girls are a bit delirious with these right now:

For every spice you may want, located in Milwaukee, WI:

Even just to treat our noses to the incredible smell, we always stop here. My favorites: their selection of vanilla extracts & pastes, truffle oil, curries, sugars (lavendar, strawberry, maple..) and check out their maple-garlic seasoning !

Sodas made from witchy plants:

Elderflower soda & more.. .!

Intriguing tarot deck. Herbs and the kabballah join.

Mesa Verde National Park

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Blue Springs Park in High Springs, FL

The dogs here say everything; they wander around, mellow. I’ve never seen dogs like this. This native American village has been occupied for over 1.000 years:

TAOS PUEBLO  Taos, New Mexico

passing the joys along ~

~ ` * ` * ~ ` ` ~


(& Nils, Edda, Ura)

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