Life has seemed a blur since Work o’ the Weavers returned from our 10-day Israel adventure in May. Proof positive once again that timing is indeed everything! We have a hard time assimilating the fact that some of the places we performed are now directly in the line of fire, recipients of Hezbollah rockets launched from across the Lebanese border.
By way of marked contrast, our experience could not have been more idyllic. In the first week of May, Madhumita and I departed ahead of the pack for a few days of R&R, which we readily found at the Dead Sea. At eight times saltier than any ocean, you float whether you want to or not. That and a massage does the trick! We took a day and explored nearby Masada and En Gedi, then returned to Tel Aviv in time to greet the arrival of David, Mark and Martha.
Work o’ the Weavers sang our first notes together in the northern town of Karmi’el, giving us a chance to re-group, as it were, and synchronize with one another. From then on it was a different venue every day. We next headlined the 30th Annual Jacob’s Ladder Festival in the resort community of Nof Ginosar on the Sea of Galilee–beneath a glorious full moon! Two days of performances kept us hopping from stage to stage, either following or preceding the wonderful Irish singer-songwriter Tommy Sands. Madhumita Chakrabartti, my partner in life and occasional song, joined me for a solo/duo set on the Lawn Stage.
From there, we spent a couple of days at Neveh Shalom/Wahat al Salaam (Oasis of Peace), an intentional community populated half by Jewish and half by Arab Israelis, living together consciously in peace. We gave them a concert and learned a great deal in our all-too-brief stay among them.
It worked out beautifully that each performance took us to a new and different part of the country, and each offered quite different performance opportunities. In several places we were faced with the challenge of singing without benefit of a sound system, but in each of those instances any trepidations we may have had in advance were soon easily dismissed when either the room acoustics or proximity to the audience proved appropriate to the occasion, and we were easily heard and understood.
We were offered rooms at Kibbutz Tzora to serve as a base of operations for several days. This agricultural and light industrial kibbutz was founded by South African Jews in 1948, and our concert there was embraced by many longtime Weavers fans, each of whom had a personal anecdote to share about how important the Weavers had been to them over the years. Several recalled hearing the Weavers when they made their only Israel trip, in 1959. From Tzora we ventured out to the Jerusalem Folk Club at the Zoo, the American International School in Tel Aviv, and our ‘farewell’ house concert in Gedera. Throughout our stay, audiences generously responded with standing ovations at each and every performance, making us feel more than welcome.
The group’s final day was spent in the company of Sandy Cash, a marvelously funny and creative songwriter and singer originally from Detroit. She gave us a tour of the Jerusalem Old City, then she and her husband Buddy and family hosted us for a Shabbat supper of sustenance and song. As you might expect, each of their 4 children is also exceptionally musically talented. It was the perfect way to crown our Israel visit.
After seeing off my four compatriots home to New York, I remained behind for an additional week and several more solo gigs. Whereas each was a unique and wonderful experience, perhaps none was so special as playing at the Be’er Sheba Public Library for an audience predominantly made up of Bedouin children of about middle school age. Getting them to sing along in both English and Arabic was a personal highlight of my journey.
– James, 31 July 2006
2003 was welcomed in with two family-oriented sets as part of First Night in Providence, RI, taking place in the lovely Rotunda Room of the city’s Convention Center. Children and their parents enjoyed the opportunity to sing in the new year with me. Madhumita joined me for a couple of tunes as well.
On February 1st, I set off solitarily for India. My first week was spent leisurely recovering from jetlag among in-laws in the ‘suburbs’ north of Calcutta (now known as Kolkata), and enjoying the festivities surrounding a family wedding. It was my first experience with a Bengali Hindu wedding ceremony, which stretches out over several days of rituals.
On the 9th I flew to Delhi, where I was met by my hosts from the American Center, Rekha Jatav, Miriam Caravella and Siobitha, and whisked off to the railway station to catch the train heading north to Amritsar, in Punjab state. Due to construction or some delay on the line, however, the normally 6-hourlong ride consumed 10 hours, putting us at our hotel at 2am. Which would’ve been ok had the concert sponsors at the Guru Nanak Dev University not just rescheduled my event for 11am, making for a short night. The students’ enthusiastic response, and active singalong participation, made the long trip entirely worthwhile, I must say. I was even inspired to improvise a duet with the tabla teacher from the music department, much to our mutual enjoyment. And I surprised the audience by singing a Punjabi translation of the chorus to my ‘Cycle Song of Life’ (adding it to the Bengali, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati from my 2002 tour). In the evening, I enjoyed the company of several friends for dinner and a visit to the world-renowned Golden Temple, spiritual nucleus for adherents of the Sikh religion; a glimmering and awe-inspiring site/sight by night.
Upon returning to Delhi, I entertained a concert audience at The American Center, lightly attended due to the unfortunate co-incidence of my only available day falling on the Muslim festival of Eid. Among the attendees, however, was the folkmusic-loving ambassador to India from the Czech Republic and his wife. I was also warmly greeted by Mr. Pran Bhatt, who heads up the activities in India of my favorite NGO, Heifer International, the brilliantly conceived and executed effort to combat hunger on the planet for the past 60-some years (www.heifer.org)
Next stop on the tour was Mumbai (formerly Bombay), where my Valentine’s evening concert was part of the annual Kala Ghoda ArtFest, my event taking place in the lovely urban gardens of the historic David Sassoon Library. A full house sang and laughed and applauded in all the right places. The following evening I was part of the program invited to entertain the 400+ folks attending the annual banquet of the Indo-American Society, another open air experience, with stage standing between the American Consulate and the sea.
On Monday and Tuesday, the 17th & 18th, I was engaged for a 2-day residency at the American School of Bombay, a relatively new international school providing a first-rate education for students from some 40 countries. I enjoyed presenting several assembly concerts, provoking even Middle Schoolers to sing along, then visiting with virtually all the students from K-12 in classroom settings.
On Wednesday the 19th, I flew to Indore, a primarily agricultural city northeast of Mumbai in the state of Madhya Pradesh, accompanied by my American Center hosts/friends Sanjay Mehta and Anne Grimes. Our Indore hosts were faculty and students at Devi Ahilya University, who had originally envisioned an open-air concert event for some 900 people. Alas, political unrest in the nearby town of Dhar caused local authorities to impose a precautionary curfew, so the concert was moved to the school’s auditorium. As a result, our anticipated outdoor Indore concert became an indoor Indore one instead. The audience seemed to especially appreciate my new song, ‘Internationally Unknown’, laughing and applauding after nearly every line; most unusual in my experience, but delightfully welcome and affirming.
At the end of the tour, I gave myself a little 4-day vacation among Bengali friends (Madhumita’s closest childhood friend & family) in Goa, the small state situated on the Arabian Seacoast in Southwest India. Visits to the shore and a tropical spice plantation were among the highlights of our time together, as well as an impromptu concert beneath the stars on the roof of the house one evening, for family and workers from the fiberglass manufacturing plant owned and operated by our friends. I gave them a new slogan for their company: “When the goin’ gets tough, the tough get Goan!” They may or may not find a use for it.
Throughout the tour I took great delight in surprising audiences, particularly those of Bengali persuasion, with the wonderful song in Bengali, ‘Duranta Ghurnir’ (by Salil Choudhury), which basically says that life is a whirlwind. In addition, folks seemed to respond universally to the family humor of the classic ‘I’m My Own Grandpa’, which I’ve shared with audiences since I learned it from Steve Goodman around 1971.
On the 8th, I sang to benefit the ‘Heart to Heart: Vietnam Children’s Fund’ in Hamden CT. Despite a disappointingly low turnout, we managed to raise several hundred dollars to send to help pay for coronary surgeries for needy children in and around Ho Chi Minh City.
Avid attendees at concerts on the 9th at Somers (NY) Library and Sounding Board Coffeehouse in West Hartford CT highlighted the week that followed, and especially getting to sing several of my choral arrangements with the combined choirs of the West Hartford UU Church on Sunday morning, the 16th.
2002: Our Year at a Glance
— White Plains, December 2002
Early in January, James set off for Korea, where he conducted a 3-day residency on 3 of the 4 campuses that comprise the Seoul Foreign School. Well-received concerts and enthusiastic classroom workshops filled the days with song.
From there he flew on to India, where he merged with Madhumita at the home of her family in the Kolkata (Calcutta) suburb of Birati. While there, the two presented a concert at the American Center; attendance was somewhat lighter than expected, as security was heightened as a result of a terrorist shooting that had occurred just days before. James surprised the audience with a song in Bengali.
We enjoyed around 2 weeks of visits with family and friends before Madhumita had to return home and back to work. James flew on to Mumbai (Bombay) for concerts there and in Baroda and Pune in the first week of February. For each occasion, he sang the chorus of his Cycle Song of Life in either Hindi, Gujarati or Marathi. The success of these has led to a return invitation to Mumbai and also New Delhi in February 2003.
Returning stateside mid-month, James had just enough time to re-pack and dig the van out from the snow for a drive south to Jacksonville and the annual Folk Alliance Conference.
Madhumita then flew to Orlando where the two converged once again, this time to celebrate her March 3rd 40th natal anniversary with visits to Epcot, the stunning Cirque de Soleil and the warm, lakeside hospitality of her dear friend, Chitra.
The following month took James to California, where in addition to visits with Mom & his sister Judith, he completed mixes of tracks for his CD, Element of Surprise™, which subsequently came out in June, after an 18-month gestation of recording, mixing, & mastering.
April performances included a visually memorable concert experience at the historically significant Union Church of Pocantico Hills NY, whose renowned stained-glass windows were created by Henri Matisse (his final commission) and Marc Chagall.
In May, James began recording work on what became a CD companion to his award-winning children’s singalong videos, entitled Isn’t This A Great Day For Singing?! and released ultimately in November.
James spent the week of 17-22 June in residence on Star Island, the Unitarian-Universalist retreat center off the coast of Portsmouth NH, conducting daily workshops and contributing music wherever possible. One serendipitous revelation was the discovery that James’ canon, Fog, begins on F# – the very same note that faithfully peals every 30 seconds from the lighthouse foghorn! Coincidence?!
Another of our R&R entertainment pleasures was being in the audience of A Prairie Home Companion when they broadcast from Tanglewood on June 29.
The second weekend in July we drove to western New York for the annual reunion of the Farnham clan, which is the ancestral lineage on James’ mom’s side of the family, just this year discovered. You see, Mom’s dad always thought of himself as an orphan (it’s a long story in which he changed the spelling to Farnum), hence we knew nothing of that line until James’ dad did some genealogical digging prior to his passing in 2000. Next year, Lord willing, Mom plans to meet her extended family, which numbers in the many hundreds and is thought to extend back to one Ralph Farnham, who came to these shores from England in the 1600s.
Later that month James opened for legendary singer-songwriter John Sebastian at the equally legendary Towne Crier Coffeehouse in Pawling NY – with Letterman Show’s Paul Schaffer in the audience. A personal thrill.
On August 9, we finally saw, and thoroughly enjoyed, Mel Brooks’ The Producers. Proximity’s advantage.
Most of September found James touring in Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland. In October, James’ sister Judith stopped in New York en route to visit family friends Liane and Jennifer in Erfurt, (formerly East) Germany.
On November 6, James’ birthday, he enjoyed a hearty breakfast with Mom in California and a sumptuous Indian dinner with Madhumita in New York. And lunch with American Airlines.
On the day after Thanksgiving, Madhumita and James became the first Westchester couple of dissimilar gender to register as Domestic Partners at the county’s newly established registry. Surely a step in the right direction after 5.5 years together! No gifts, please.
Throughout the year, Madhumita has continued to work long and diligently at her corporate job as a financial planner with Starwood, the umbrella company that encompasses the Sheraton, Westin, W and Four Points hotel chains. The work is exhausting but challenging. For some much-needed respite from all that, the two of us spent Christmas and the following four days in New Orleans, and returned in time for James to sing in Providence for First Night.
Among James’ professional accomplishments in 2002 include 1) having his story Searching for #77, the gripping account of the 1971 theft and recovery of his beloved hand-crafted 12-string guitar, published in Bruce Pollock’s newest book, Working Musicians (Harper Collins), 2) two of his songs, Cycle Song of Life and Starlight Star Bright, published in the new 4th Grade music text, Making Music (Scott Foresman), and 3) having his song, Holiday Invitation included in the NPR Holiday Special, Peace on Earth, hosted by Judy Collins.
We wish you the warmth of the season’s celebrations and an abiding peace.
2001 In Review
Refurbished Website Launched
Since 1998, jamesdurst.com has served as an invaluable tool for booking and audience building, providing touring and descriptive information at the touch of a finger. It’s quick, easy and economical (saving untold costs of printing & postage) as well as ecologically friendly. I’m grateful to my friend Jeannie Lay for helping us to get up and running, and for maintaining the site from its inception. Now we’re delighted to announce the launch of a freshly designed, more easily navigable, altogether new and improved site. It’s been rethought and reconfigured from top to bottom by the husband-wife team of Lynn Nichols and Don Krüger, collectively and professionally known as Starstruck Design. And it will continue to be an evolving work-in-progress, keeping those who care to visit informed of news, current activities and developments.
Choral Residency in Honduras
In March, as the result of a successful informal visit in October 2000, I was invited to return to Honduras to conduct a weeklong choral residency at The National School of Music in Tegucigalpa, the nation’s capital. As is customary, I sent ahead the choral arrangements of a number of my songs for the students to learn prior to my arrival. I was pleased to discover that not only had they learned their parts, but were eager to learn more. Like sponges dropped into water, they absorbed everything I could think of to offer them; even the day before our concert, they eagerly took in new material. And even though their English was sparse and my Spanish less than rudimentary, we somehow managed to communicate through music’s common language. Included in the program were my Cycle Song Of Life (The River Song) in both our languages, Starlight Star Bright, an enthusiastic rendering of I Am A Seed Of Peace followed by a bilingual I Am One, and a newly co-created 3-part version of the ancient Spanish love song, En Que Nos Parecemos. In addition to my residency and concert at NSM, I gave other concerts in Tegucigalpa at the National Teachers University and the US Embassy, then traveled to the towns of La Ceiba on the Northern Coast and El Progreso, near San Pedro Sula, for programs there. The concert in El Progreso took place at Teatro La Fragua, a community theater collective headed by former Chicagoan Jesuit priest Jack Warner. The interplay between my songs and his introductions/translations was warmly genuine and the result was a hearty standing ovation and 2 encores. The residency and tour were made possible through generous support from the Public Affairs Office of the US Embassy (PAO Gregory Adams and Carmen Urcuyo), as well as American Airlines and Marriott Hotels.
High School Reunion Honors Choir Director
At the end of April I was privileged to pay tribute to my high school choir director, Mr. Marvin Fennema, who not only guided us through the first years of choral existence at our newly-built Magnolia HS (1962-63) in the fast-growing community of Anaheim CA, but also penned the words to a Brahms melody to provide is with our alma mater, Magnolia Forever. It was Mr. Fennema who helped me to discover how to support my singing from the diaphragm, not the throat, assuring longevity to my voice and subsequent career; for this, as well as for his encouragement and friendship, I’ll always be grateful. The honorific event grew out of yet another choral residency, this time with my own old high school, when I learned that Mr. Fennema was not only still living nearby but still singing as a soloist (at the age of 81) and conducting his church adult choir!
We put the word out as best we could through the alumni grapevine and managed to get a dozen or so former choir members to come together for a brief rehearsal with Mr. Fennema at the helm to steer us through a remembered version of Climb Every Mountain. This we added to my program with the current choir, along with a reunion of our male quartet, ‘Bach’s Boys’ (3 guesses who named us): Ken Krausfeldt (bass), Mike Cochrane (baritone), Mr. Fennema subbing for lead tenor Bill Vakalakis who was unable to join us from Tucson, and me, reaching for those sky-high first tenor notes.
We were also graced by the presence of our friend and first piano accompanist John Hutmacher, who with his wife Margo, drove all the way down from Seattle to be with us. And did he ever play! The evening was capped by the combined choirs singing together under the direction of current conductor, Deanna Leffler. Before the dust had settled, there was already talk of doing it again when the Classes of ’63 & ’64, forever linked dating back to those halcyon days, celebrate 40 years and counting. I’ll be there.
Songs Chosen For Elementary Music Textbook
The Scott Foresman Company is soon to publish a new 4th Grade music textbook that’s been in development for the past two years, and have selected my Cycle Song Of Life (The River Song) and Starlight, Star Bright for inclusion. Each has a beautiful 2-page spread and includes the melody line and chord symbols for piano or guitar.
SONY Selects ‘My Country’ CD Track
Early in 2001, I was contacted by SONY Recordings that they wished to include my rendition of the Turkish traditional song Ali Pasha (from ‘My Country Is The World’) in a compilation CD they were producing for educational use. Naturally, I consented. I’m guessing that since the song is in 5/4 time, they’re using it to illustrate irregular (to Western ears) rhythm.
NPR Holiday Program Underwritten
This Holiday season on your local NPR station listen for a special program hosted by Judy Collins featuring a variety of folk performances of mostly original Christmas and Chanukah songs. For the second year it was proudly sponsored in part by my recording company, WorldWind.
Walkabout Contingent to German Festival
In June of 2001, I was privileged to join a handful of singers and musicians from the Walkabout Clearwater Chorus who were invited to perform at the biennial PresseFest anti-fascist festival in Dortmund, Germany. It was primarily our function to sing in support of Walkabouter John Fisher’s dad, Harry Fisher, whose book Comrades recalls his experiences fighting against Franco’s fascism in Spain as a member of the renowned Lincoln Brigade. The response to our songs, particularly those we had translated into German, was extremely warm and heartfelt. I got the chance to sing the 500-year-old Die Gedanken Sind Frei (Thoughts Are Free) on several occasions (‘My Country Is The World’).
Icelandic Birthday Party
The weekend of March 3, my partner Madhumita’s birthday, was an adventure we spent in and around the wintry wilds of Reykjavik, Iceland. Although I had visited this magical North Atlantic island on numerous occasions since 1971, I’d never been there in winter–and Madhumita hadn’t been there at all. So we took a tourist bus to the must-see locales of Geysir (say Gay-seer, which gave us the generic name for “steamy hot spring”), Hverdagerdi, the greenhouse source of much of Iceland’s produce, the winter-frozen solid Gullfoss (means gold falls), and Thingvellir, the world’s oldest parliament dating back to 900 CE. On our final full day, we bathed in the steamy warmth of the Blue Lagoon, near Keflavik, as the air about our heads swirled below freezing. Invigorating!! Iceland employs its inherent volcanic geothermal energy to heat everything from homes and shops to streets and sidewalks. I sing a melancholic 19th-Century Icelandic lullaby, Sofdu Unga Astin Min (Sleep, My Child), on ‘My Country Is The World.’ And have had my own half-hour musical program in Icelandic TV three times.
Dad: A Family Says Goodbye
(LaVern Harold Durst 1921-2000)
Returning to NY from El Salvador on November 3 (2000), I received an urgent call the next morning from my sister Judith in CA that our dad, who had successfully held off the incursion of prostate cancer for 4 years, was failing rapidly as a result of complications from the radiation therapy; the cancer had spread to his liver and bones and he was not expected to live much longer. I managed to secure a flight out early on Monday, the 6th—my birthday, and arrived later that day. It was apparent that he had summoned all his strength to await my arrival and Mom and I took turns sitting with him through the night; he made his transition in the morning of the 8th. But not before I had a chance to hold and stroke him, and sing for him some of his favorite songs before he departed. Gathered around his bedside when he took his ultimate breath were my sister, our mother–and Dad’s wife of nearly 56 years, Dad’s brother Lewis and his wife Nell, and me. Although extremely saddened, we were all abidingly grateful to have had him in our lives, as well as that his passing was swift and pain free. The first of two memorial services was held the following Sunday afternoon in Palmdale, where friends and family packed the First Lutheran Church where Dad had served as President of the congregation for a number of years. More organized than most of us, Dad had outlined his own service, requesting the singing of several of his favorite hymns, central among them was his mom’s favorite as well, How Great Thou Art, and my song which I had previously sung at the funerals of his dad and Mom’s sister, Thelma, Cycle Song Of Life (The River Song). In addition, I arranged Abide With Me for guitar and voice, joined magnificently by the organ from the second verse on.
The second memorial service was held in conjunction with the interment of Dad’s ashes June 16, 2001 (Father’s Day weekend) at the family gravesite in Pine Valley (near Neillsville), Wisconsin, so that extended family from that area could attend and say their goodbyes. We were blessed with a picture perfect day, and our own songs were complemented by those of the birds in the surrounding trees. Fortunate we are to have among our family, the Rev. Bill McGraw, who shared the morning’s homily in honor of Dad’s life on Earth.
Kerrville: Celebrating 20 Years
2001 was the 30th Anniversary of the Kerrville Folk Festival, but was additionally the 20th Anniversary of my New Folk win there in 1981. I had learned of and begun to attend this marvelous singer/songwriter festival in South Central Texas a couple of years prior to that. 2002 will mark 20 years since my subsequent premier mainstage appearance.
Bob Is My Co-Pilot: Celebrating Bob Gibson’s 70th Birthday
November 16th, 2001, would have been folk legend Bob Gibson’s 70th natal celebration had he not succumbed 6 years earlier to the rare degenerative nerve disorder called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. Although known primarily among his peers, Bob has been credited with being the first to recognize folk music’s potential as a popular medium of expression, rather than simply a back porch generation-to-generation tradition. It was Bob who first recorded Michael, Row The Boat Ashore at his Carnegie Hall concert in 1957; and it was he who first recognized the talents of Joan Baez and introduced her to the audience during his set at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. He’s widely credited with having influenced most of the early popular folk groups, such as The Kingston Trio, The Limeliters, The Chad Mitchell Trio, The Smothers Brothers, Peter, Paul & Mary as well as the likes of Roger McGuinn of The Byrds. Tom Smothers has been quoted as saying, “He taught us how to end songs,” meaning his unique chord juxtapositions that gave songs their dynamic conclusions. For me, however, Bob’s style of playing (and popularizing) the 12-string guitar was a primary influence on my early development as a performer. Enamored of his 1965 Elektra LP release, ‘Where I’m Bound’, I went to see him play at Southern California’s Golden Bear folk club in Huntington Beach. Between sets, I naively approached him to ask him to show me how he stroked the strings with his right hand, and he generously took me out to the alley behind the club and gave me a 15-minute private concert, illustrating the 2-finger scratch technique (down with the thumb, up with the forefinger) which has informed my playing ever since. I was to have a number of interactions with him in subsequent years, particularly when we both were living in Chicago in the late 70s, and again in 1992, when he loaned me his hand-crafted Bozo (say ‘Bo-zho’) to record Tom Paxton’s There Goes The Mountain (as yet unreleased). Beginning on November 15, at my performance scheduled for One Station Plaza in Peekskill NY, I’ll be honoring the life and songs of Robert Josiah Gibson with renditions of many of the songs he’s known for, including some he co-wrote with another highly creative soul no longer among us, Shel Silverstein.
Taylor 12-string Adopted, Given New Home
While waiting for a friend recently in a Connecticut music store, I wandered into the acoustic guitar room and was seduced by the beauty and playability of a Taylor jumbo-bodied 12-string, which to my ears and fingers most resembles the sound of those I’d heard Bob Gibson play over the years. Despite being outside my budget, I employed the American Way of deficit spending to acquire this, my first real 12-string since my own 1967 hand-crafted Miguel Company 12-string was liberated from my van parked in front of our Chicago flat in 1984 (see following story). The back and sides are made from an African hardwood called ovangkol, with which I was unfamiliar; but it clearly lends an extraordinary clarity of tone and remarkable sustain that I’d not experienced since the departure of my guitar some 16 years earlier. I feel giddy as a new father.
Working Musicians Story Published
About a year ago I was invited by author/editor Bruce Pollock to contribute a story to his collection of tales from working musicians, titled…uh…Working Musicians, now scheduled for publication in the Summer of 2002, by William Morrow & Co. (ISBN 0061076006). I chose to finally record for posterity the experience I had had when first my handmade 12-string guitar (see previous story) was stolen on 1 February 1971 from the dressing room of Los Angeles’ legendary Troubadour club, where I had performed at that Monday evening’s Hoot Night. Through a series of serendipitously synchronous ‘co-incidences’, happenstances and, I believe, divinely-guided occurrences, including the assurances of a psychic acquaintance, I got it back exactly 4 weeks later. How it all fell into place is an intriguing read; watch for it at your favorite bookstore, as well as one day soon here under the web page titled Anecdotal Evidence.
Thomastik-Infeld Strings Endorsement Inked
I’ve just signed my first-ever Artist Endorsement agreement with the premier Austrian string maker Thomastik-Infeld. I’m extremely delighted to endorse them and even more so to use them on both my 1976 Jean-Claude Larrivée handmade 6-string and my new 2001 Taylor 12-string guitars.
Pioneering Eco-Friendly CD Packaging Recognized
One of the advantages of having one’ own CD label is the ability to exercise complete control over the choices available for the presentation of the music. Early in the ’90s, when I began to reclaim my solo recording career, I made a conscious decision to eschew the ubiquitous plastic jewel cases in favor of a more environmentally-friendly package for my CDs. At the time there wasn’t much available, but I eventually found a resource for a sleeve that was reminiscent of the larger LP covers we once employed, utilizing a recycled paperboard and vegetable inks. I even tracked down a manufacturer of food-grade cello bags (made from tree sap) that are biodegradable, so as not to have to use petroleum-based shrink-wrap.
WorldWind’s pioneering efforts were recognized recently in the latest edition of Diane Rapaport’s book, How To Make and Sell Your Own Recording, the independent musician’s bible for production and presentation of his/her music. It’s a vital resource covering every aspect of the subject, and highly recommended for anyone wishing to assume command of one’s own musical ship. On page 86 is arrayed the 3-panel inside spread of My Country is the World (WW11). Thanks, Diane.
Management Partnership With Manny Jerman
It gives me great pleasure to announce my new management relationship with veteran musician/arts promoter Manny Jerman. Shy and legendary for avoiding the spotlight, Manny will nonetheless contribute sage guidance and direction from the ‘back of the room.’ Welcome to the fray, Manny.
Upcoming Korean Residency
I’ve been invited to spend several days in residence at the Seoul Foreign School in January 2002, en route to a Calcutta rendezvous with Madhumita and her extensive family. More on that after the fact.