Incidentals introduce children to frame drumming at Heptonstall Family Day 2016

More community outreach with my frame drum band Incidentals

Incidentals and Todmorden Frame Drum Group

Beth Hardman and Sandi Beth Hardman and Sandi

Oxana and Sandi of Incidentals were excited to introduce adults and children to frame drumming at Heptonstall Family Day 2016. We were warmly welcomed by the organiser Beth Hardman, who subsequently said: “It was really good having you as part of the day.”

FirstTestOfFrameDrums26032016We had families with children young and younger join us informally and check out the instruments.

We played a couple of songs and instrumentals and led an introductory session of frame drumming.

Oxana and Sandi by the stained glass windows Oxana and Sandi by the stained glass windows

Children had their first try of frame drums along with shakers and other percussion in the beautiful interior of Heptonstall Church.

Frame drumming inside Heptonstall Church Frame drumming inside Heptonstall Church

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The Seventh Quarry Poetry Magazine, Issue 22

Peter Thabit Jones, Editor of The Seventh Quarry
Peter Thabit Jones, Editor of The Seventh Quarry

I enjoy reading The Seventh Quarry Swansea Poetry Magazine. One of the reasons is that it unapologetically publishes poets from around the world, including many for whom English is not their first language. Issue 22 for example, features poets from India, Bulgaria and Canada. Lolita Ray from Sweden saw two of her poems published in Swedish, without translation.

But more than that, I like The Seventh Quarry because there I find poems which are firstly, about something and secondly, written with considerable thought to the form, much more often than in other publications – paper or online.

philosophy

Peter Thabit Jones interviewed a poet and a philosopher Christopher Norris for this issue, who talked about high-class poetry journals, “where review-articles are often much better written – even at times more poetic – than the sorts of poetry they typically publish.” [p.23] I found so many times that, after reading a poem and a short description by an author, I think, “Yes, this description is so interesting and poetic. Why did you not say precisely this and in this way in your poem?” It’s a bad sign for poetry when reviews and descriptions are better than the poems themselves.

kalashnikov-296478_960_720Christopher Norris’  “The Beauty of It” explores the thoughts and feelings the creator of Kalashnikov, Mikhail Kalashnikov, might have had about his creation. The poem is composed in rhymed couples of iambic pentameters. This adds an imitation of machine gun fire: ta-Ta-ta-Ta-ta-Ta-ta-Ta-ta-Ta to the iambic pentameter’s repertoire.

Jane Blanchard definitely writes about something. Her “Encounter” is enchanting both for its elegant form and for its subject matter: an encounter with a moth and wishing it well.

This is a stance poets often have to take in life: noticing little things – so that there is stuff to write about. But how about noticing a whole person, yet walking past him because of his unsightly look and unpleasant smell? “scabbed with dirt, sores, pus,/other excrescences” This is “Squalid Sights” by Gary Beck, a mercilessly accurate observation of contemporary society.

VenancioMolaCloseupI liked Maria Mazziotti Gillan‘s poem “Gray Clouds” for its optimism, which is expressed in detailed and sensual description of colours and textures of her clothes, namely – the move away from the gray wool shawl to multicoloured, multi-textured garments. The coloured drawings on Gillan’s website are just as lovely and life-affirming.

“Revenant” by Jenny Hockey caught my eye because I am currently reading a book about vampires (not in the gory-fictional sense, but to find out the origins of many folklore and mythological beliefs about evil spirits). The two long stanzas of sometimes loosely rhymed, lightly rhythmed lines kept holding my attention. Partially it was due to the clever use of line breaks, which took me to the next line. Moreover, the flow of narrative of tense and mesmerising – which made this poem stand out for me.

BookPoolSue A’Hearn’s poem “Anyway” delighted me with its bravery and freshness. The text emulates everyday speech of working class people and features the refrain “Anyway”. The feeling I had reading the poem brought me to a conversation I had long ago with a friend, when it struck me clearly that my friend was not in control of the words she was saying, but rather they drove her.

My friend was using some sort of a staple, like “Anyway”: perhaps “You know what I mean”. I remember realising that she did not actually mean what she was saying, but was producing the words automatically, and every time she did, the conversation took a new predicted turn. This is similar to what happens in “Anyway”.

Furthermore, the use of this street lingo brings home the conundrum of reading a poetry magazine of writing for it. What words do we use as poets and as citizens? For whom do we write poetry?

I mentioned Carolyn Mary Kleefeld in my previous review of The Seventh Quarry. In this issue, her poem “Plowed by the Love of You” touched my heart with its direct joyful abundant images of universal love. Both the love of this kind and its reflections in poetry are rare these days. The poem is accompanied by Carolyn Mary Kleefeld’s illustration done in Persian style.

adeste-fideles-872317_960_720The poem by Adam Szyper (who, incidentally, speaks Polish, English, Hebrew, Russian and Esperanto) “Father of mine behind great waters of time” lifted my spirit by its simple yet lofty message. The lyrical hero simply asks his father to give him strength, so that he “can ascend the rest of my life with dignity,/Proud among stars and columns of clean air.”

Amen/Amen/אָמֵן/Аминь and amen to that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watercolour: Mango Skin

Mango Skin
Mango Skin

This painting is no for sale. It is special for me. I painted it maybe in 2010 when I was only re-discovering painting and watercolours. I might have started going through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way or was about to start it.By that time, I had not painted for about 9 years – since I graduated from a 4-year Arts School for adults, which I loved. My favourite subject was watercolours.

I dug up my old watercolors, found a piece of watercolour paper and painted the first thing that my eye caught: a mango in a wooden painted dish.

I can see now that the main theme: uniting the green and the red – is still with me and I am still trying to solve it in my watercolours. Another theme has developed in various ways, but basically it is one of what lies beneath and of life, passion and power of nature that is visible almost immediately as we look.

This painting has remained an inspiration for me and a reminder that just the same powers sleep in us all the time, until we let them out through creativity. It is NEVER too late to start, restart or take an unexpected turn in what you do.

My Sherlock – what was all that about?

MySherlock

With “My Sherlock” we arrive at the end of the 11-poem odyssey that is Sherlock Suite. It is a quiet good-bye to the era of black doors, black cabs, black coats and dark turns. It is a quiet sigh as you glance for the final time from Euston Station to the right, where North Gower Street is more Baker than Baker street ever was.

Good-bye, magical and cruel London.

Rene Sens wrote the most melancholically-Russian of tunes for this poem. You can almost see the birch trees behind the crystal stream of notes. He called the track Next week.

And he is right. Good-bye, Sherlock. Next week, there is always another obsession waiting.

 

Check out the Alternative Route

AlternativeRouteThere is one hidden reference to the BBC series Sherlock in this poem. Write in down in the comments section if you know what it is.

I used a change of rhythm in Alternative Route. It can be frowned upon (by poetry writing manuals, if they could frown). However, in this case I feel it’s justified. The regular structure of the first part of the poem reflects the orderly exercise it’s about – meditation – and the calm breath that underlies it.

The second part of the poem is about things that take you off-track, like Sherlock. The flow of the poem becomes more free and sometimes there are bumps on the way. Or maybe it is not so much off track as an alternative route to something.

Rene Sens‘ musical track called “Sketchy Monk” for this poem is truly groovy, with hypnotic percussion and mesmerising flute inviting you into the world of mind – or heart, if you prefer.

Incidentals lead a drumming session at Hebden Bridge Women’s Institute

Doing our bit for flood relief

Incidentals and Todmorden Frame Drum Group

HBWIDumming18012016 Members of Hebden Bridge Women’s Institute drumming with Sarah (far left)

On 18th January Incidentals led a drumming session for Hebden Bridge Women’s Institute. We are donating our earning to Calderdale Flood Fund to help local residents and businesses recover from the recent floods.

We had an excellent turn-out, with about 50 women coming to the drum circle.

I had never heard frame drumming and it was really lovely and relaxing to listen to Oxana and her drummers.  She was also an interesting speaker and a patient teacher!  I enjoyed the session and would like to do more. – Polly

We played a composition based on variations of a rhythm used by Sufi as taught by Layne Redmond. Oxana spoke a little bit about history of women playing frame drums and about Layne Redmond, who inspired so many women to connect through frame drumming.

Such a wonderful…

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Egg for Pig

EggForPigThe poem “Egg for Pig” from Sherlock Suite contains 3 hidden references to the BBC series Sherlock (that is, three references that are not direct naming or description of characters or events of the series). Find them and post them in the comments box below.

Rene Sens’ track for this poem is called “Morning” and is quite upbeat, which is very appropriate. After all, you have to look at the sunny side of the street after having consumed half of your cupboard reserves (including a forgotten pack of raisins at the back, who had lost the hope to see the light of day again).

You have to eat. You have to eat crisps. You have to eat crisps to fill in the singularity within you, to send your mind to doze off, to pacify your body to the couch. There is no other way – as you have set a limit for yourself: watching Sherlock just once a week.

Notes on the Fridge from Sherlock Suite

NotesOnTheFridgeYou know when you have a thought so great that you just have to write it down, for posterity, and put it on the fridge? I have lots of those. Find three such ground-breaking insights in the poem “Notes on the Fridge“.

Listen to the soundtrack to the poem by Rene Sens called “Ring a Bell” here. The tune is appropriately drone-like and cyclic.

This poem does not have hidden reference to the BBC’s Sherlock series. Instead, it contains a hint on two filmmakers who butchered not one, but two great fantasy novels. Your guesses are welcome in the comments box below.

 

 

In-laws came and took husband and child for a drive

InlawsCameAnd

The gentle, yet to-the-point track “Rain” by Rene Sens perfectly captures the atmosphere of this poem: uncertain light shining through moist air of a November afternoon in North England.

“In-laws came and took husband and child for a drive” is set during one of these late autumn days when the light seems to be hiding, but then spring out on you unexpectedly: from a yellow birch tree, from a reflection on your coffee pot, from your laptop screen with Sherlock on…