May 2, 2015

Gurdonark - I cannot play my Mother's Marimba

Our old friend, Gurdonark has a new release out called Constellation Blackbird from the netlabel, we are all ghosts

WAAG describes his sound as "weirdbient".  That works.  We have enjoyed the Gurdonark sound for almost of decade now.  His music appears both in BSWC the show and here in the feed.

WAAG has a nice way with words:
“Constellation Blackbird” continues the musical journey Gurdonark first started with WAAG back in late 2012 with “Open Spaces”. This isn’t easy listening: it has dissonant frequencies, naive sounds and glitchy melodies that may not be instantly accessible. However I, for one, enjoy his particular style of minimalist expressionism … I look on it aural ginger that cleanses the palate from a meal of ambient sushi. 
Clear your palate.

Gurdonark - I cannot play my Mother's Marimba

1 comment:

Gurdonark said...

Thank you for the shout-out. I consider the weblog and the show to be a friend, as well.

I'd like to tell you the story behind this song title.

Though I was born in Texas while my father did his military service in San Antonio, my people come from Arkansas.

My mother and my father both went to high school in a small town in south Arkansas called Camden. My mother's father worked as a cross-tie man, buying and selling railroad cross-ties for a large concern.

My grandfather did not make a huge income from his day job, but he liked to help people out when he could.

One day, he met a traveling evangelist passing through their small town. As could be the case in 1940s Arkansas, the fellow proved to be a bit down on his luck. He was short of cash with which to function. But he had a curious thing--a marimba.

My grandfather helped him out with his dilemma. He bought the marimba from him, so that he could keep on going.
Then he gave the marimba to my mother, so that she could learn to play. Though my mother's background was in piano, she took up the marimba. She played it for her school band. She won a state award on the marimba.

She and some of her friends even had a small town radio show, in which they played jazz-oriented popular music of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Their salary for this show was comprised of being bought a nice dinner at a local place similar to the now-lamented "Duck Inn".

During my childhood in the 1960s and 1970s, my mother would pull out the mallets and play songs. I believe that her repertoire included "Girl from Ipanema" but I mostly remember the magic of multiple mallets hovering and descending like a hummingbird over multiple marimba notes.

I never took marimba lessons. I took years of piano, which taught me to read music but otherwise mostly did not take. The analog instruments I play are the mountain dulcimer, the can-jo, the autoharp, and the nose flute.

My mother passed away ten years ago. My father followed her eighteen months ago. We still have her marimba. My sister could probably play it with a bit of effort, as she learned to play melodic bells in high school.

But on some level, none of us lived in that born-in-1933/childhood in WWII/big-band world she and my father experienced. Even if I knew the way, I cannot play my mother's marimba.

But I can make music by sequencing a kalimba, so I did, and this is my song.