It’s been awhile since we’ve updated you. We are busy in some different ways right now, but looking to get musically active again this spring and summer.
We are looking forward to traveling to Sebastopol and playing a benefit on March 20th for Music & Memory. They do amazing work – bringing music to elders suffering from Alzhiemers and other forms of dementia to stimulate their memory. Check out their web page www.musicandmemory.org
The show will be at the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center. It starts at 7:30. For details check this Facebook page or Reverbnation.com
We will also be part of the annual Calaveras Earth Day Celebration on April 26 in Utica Park, downtown Angels Camp.
Hope to see you there.
2014 Beauty Way
After a one-year hiatus we traveled the Beauty Way again. It was a great feeling to be back on the road, sharing music and working together to bring the love to the people on the land. Your kindness and generosity raised $18,000 to bring food, supplies and firewood to the families on the land.
The grass roots, people-to-people effort is always an epic journey from the early planning to the road between the communities of support and the final trip deep into the land of the Dineh. It also means we work on a small budget, run on faith and have to be open to the twists and turns of the road. Flexibility is key and this year we had some special challenges.
The tour kicked off in Sonora, at the renovated Sonora Opera Hall. The drum circle, a new local band – Goldy Different- and a powerful round dance set the right tone for the start of the voyage. It really felt good to get the groove going again.
Murphys was a lot of fun, in a new venue, Outer Aisle. The outstanding food and drinks inside an organic, farm to table store and restaurant, along with a Somer Moon set made for a sweet party. Momentum was building as we headed to another new venue in Grass Valley.
A fall chill was in the air, but inside the Banner Grange it was hot. A large family style soup and salad dinner, a showing of the movie Broken Rainbow and a music line up that included Kimberly Bass, Goodshield and Mignon, and Wonderfunk heated the place up right. It was a very sweaty round dance. The energy continued to build as we set our wheels in motion to Oregon for a show at the Williams Grange.
As we were leaving the small town of Jacksonville on the way to the show in Williams Buster Gillig, aka Busta Move, the faithful band bus and supply hauler suffered major engine failure. We barely got off the road as Buster died. We were stranded 30 miles from the gig with tons of gear, food, supplies and people, a few hours before show time.
A small cavalry lead by Ryan was dispatched from Williams and we were able to get most of the people and gear to Williams in time for a great show. I know I was a bit dazed, perhaps traumatized by the loss of Buster, but the energy of the Williams crowd, the corn dance and all the love carried the evening. Those kind folks poured out extra cash, knowing we were going to incur some big time expense loosing the bus. Meanwhile super trooper Daniel stayed with Buster and facilitated a major tow job, involving two giant wreckers and traffic control.
Now we were gypsies without a wagon and even more to haul, including 3000 pounds of squash. It’s about 200 miles from Williams to the Bayside Grange and the show was the very next night. Buster was back in Ashland at a diesel repair shop with Daniel and a lot of gear and we still had to get it all to Arizona in two days.
The short version of the story is allies and U-Hauls. Volunteer drivers, donated vehicles, a big U-Haul and a lot of hustle got everything out of the bus, plus what we picked up in Williams, loaded and down the road to Arcata, just in time to see Joanne Rand finish her set. We rode the wave of a high vibe in the Bayside Grange, played the show and loaded even more supplies into our ever-changing caravan and zoomed back to Calaveras County.
Here we dropped off what we didn’t need or couldn’t carry, returned the U-Haul, loaded into a new set of vehicles and hit the road. It was late night when we stopped at the Travertine Hot Springs for a break. It was a sweet moment of respite from the manic pace of the past few days.
The next morning Daniel had some red swelling on his arm and a low-grade fever. We also found out one of the volunteer vehicles had broken down on 395 heading south. We pushed on to Flagstaff to regroup. By the time we made Flag, Daniels arm was really swelling-he wound up in the Flagstaff hospital for two nights with a bad infection. The broken truck was left behind, another U-Haul added and somehow we all (except Daniel) met at the homestead of Leta O’Daniel, deep in the Big Mountain region of the Dineh Nation.
By the time we got there camp was in full swing, much of the food already divided, wood was being cut, split and delivered and the place was humming at a high level. Activists from BMIS, the Colorado crew and our network of supporters joined forces to serve the people and get the goods out.
Darlene, Michelle, Brian, Mike and a hard working crew had things mapped out so the deliveries went well. Tzaddi, Taj, Karen and Malachai made sure we got to the most remote homesteads.
In all 90 families received 15 tons of food and supplies. More than 20 cords of wood were delivered to keep the home fires burning. Yes, the numbers are dwindling and some may ask if such an effort is worth it to reach less than 200 people. That’s why we encourage you to join the caravan and make the journey. Once you see the people and what they are going through to hold onto the land and how it ties into the bigger picture I think you will understand why it is so important to keep this connection strong and let them know we stand in solidarity. It’s all there – the first nation people and their land rights, the greed of major energy corporations, the ugly politics and corruption, the environmental racism and destruction of mother earth, climate change, ground water issues and above all the lack of true justice play out in what’s happening to the Dineh Nation. Through it all the people remain and pay the price. So we will keep going to offer what support we can.
There is always reason for hope. One of the places I love to visit the most is the homestead of the Yazzie family in Sand Springs. The family has been farming for three generations in the same spot. They have seen times of plenty when the water was flowing and the fields were full, and lean times of drought and extreme hardship. Like much of the west the drought has been going here for several years. It makes this struggle even harder. For the last few years very little has been grown on the farm that once produced enough to feed the family and sell to a local store.
We pulled into the homestead on Thanksgiving eve. Kids and the young men were playing basketball, the elders were laughing and in good spirits. This year the gardens were tended again. Squash, melons, peppers and corn did real well. Woody and Jonathan proudly showed us some squash and melons stored in one of the hogans for later in the year. They feel good about the coming year and the possibility of growing even more.
One thing I notice about life out there. It is steady. It doesn’t matter what the Dow Jones Industrial Index is today, no one knows what the rate of inflation is or the current interest on a new car loan. The latest international crisis or rumor about Miley Cyrus won’t change what they do or think about today.
So in Sand Springs they plan for the next planting, they get the kids to school in the morning and watch the basketball games at night, they give thanks for what creator has given and work with what they have. Somehow in Sand Springs there is always hope.
Once again the days flew by and it was time to head home in what seemed like an eye blink. Daniel was scooped up from the hospital, healthy and whole. Bear and Somer made it back in his truck, but the pick-up bed trailer that has made so many journeys to the land and homesteads behind the Blue Pearl literally vibrated apart on the rough reservation roads.
Buster has been donated to Ryan and Liz to use as housing for interns on their organic farm in Williams. I’m looking for a new bus – would it be too tacky to crowd source funding for a band bus? One way or another we’ll see you on the road in 2015.
Thanks again for all your support.