Tagged: musical experiments

One Love Raag

Prompted by the invitation to contribute some music to a project, and divinely ‘poked’ by feeling the need to revisit the, (actually NOT all so happy), lyrics of Bob Marley’s ‘One Love. One Heart’.

In these ‘pandemic’ days ‘getting together’ is becoming increasingly difficult and nothing, as yet, seems clear.

I found myself wondering what his song would sound like in a MINOR key?

That, in turn, ‘jumped’ me back to India and the, often melancholy, Indian scale.

I once studied classical bansuri (flute, taught in a similar way to voice) in Benares, for a short while, (over 30 years ago!), so have the very, very basics….

My guru, of then, would be appalled at this. Like martial arts, each tone/stroke/phrase, in the classical traditions, must be practised for many, many years, before such experimentation can even begin!!

I also attended a wonderful raaga learning afternoon, more recently with our very own, local, genuine, raaga STAR, Rajeswar. Pretty sure he would be appalled too!

Anyhoo… in the end….in the spirit of One Love…..this is what ‘arose’, in a few hours of playing around with Audacity app and an old keyboard.

A Jamaican inspired, Hindu-raag-style melody, sung by a middle-aged, Anglo-Finn, in a box room in Scotland!


(video is of a kind of ‘altar’, of collected, treasured, inspitational, ‘forms’ I stare at a lot when I am working: on my windowsill. Yes, there are dead insects…..and a real spider’s web there at the moment!
Also some of Frances Drewery’s, (local friend and very talented artist’s), work….that I kind of collect …placed among them….)

Sa- ni sa re / pa- ga re sa re sa ga- re- sa-
(One Love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright)
ga ma ni sa’ ga’ re’ sa’ / ga’ re’ sa’ da sa’ da ma-
(Hear the children crying, hear the children crying)
Da- ma pa ga re ga sa ga- re- sa-/
Da- ma pa ga re ga sa ga – re- sa-

(let’s get together and feel alright)
ni sa ni ma ni sa (optional variants)
(whoa, whoa)

Ma- pa ga- ni da ma
(let them all pass their dirty remarks)
ma da ma- pa ga ma pa ga pa ga-
(there is one question that I’d really like to ask)
ma pa ga- sa’ ni da ma
(Is there a place for the hopeless sinner..)
ga re ma ni sa’ ma pa ga sa ma ga- re- sa-.
(Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?)

(repeat One love section…fade out with ni sa varients)

self-heal withers 28/72

working as part of a ‘Japanese 72 season micro-climate’ artist collaborative initiative within Treesisters)

Japanese season called ‘Geshi’/ summer solstice, 21st June until 6th July .
Micro climate ‘self-heal withers’ 21st – 26th June.

What a great title for a micro-season!
My first response to this title was ‘What happens when we interfere with the planet’s ability to heal herself?’.
Answer ‘It becomes up to us to support her in healing.’

But Yes! to summer solstice and the longest day.
It intrigues me that the Japanese should celebrate such a humble herb in this way. It must be important to them.
A plant often treated as an undesirable weed here.
I went online to see what it was and realised that we have something very similar here!
I was taught that this flower is called ‘bugle’, (Ajuga reptans) and I always let it seed and grow where it likes…often in the lawn though so does get the chop sometimes….but on closer examination I am not so sure….perhaps this is self-heal (Prunella vulgaris)!
Of course it is possible we have both here….but whatever it is, I think it is the same species, just adapting to different conditions.

How privileged I feel to have either variety as both have powerful healing properties for wounds. Good to learn!

The cut on my thumb is healing nicely and needs no bandage now….but I am suffering, (what are my usual), mid-summer sinus and throat infections. The humidity here, coupled with the warmth, seem to bring all into mould.
My cherry trees always succumb to some kind of fungal disease at this time of year and all food has to be carefully packed and stored. My sourdough starter has gone off (not the mother though…the table top one for everyday use…thank goodness as my starter is now 7 years old!).
I used my neti pot this morning to clear out my face (and feel much better for it!) and need to step up my vitamin C……which is easy now, with all the elderflowers out, ready for making into a cordial and the plethora of ever-giving herbs popping up all around. Herbal salads will bring me round, I am sure, and I picked a huge bunch of rhubarb today.
Rhubarb ginger crumble calls!

On my search for flashes of purple on this plot I had an unexpected surprise! More orchids! Growing where I have never spied them before. Hidden at the base of my husband’s garage bund. The purple one might actually be considered quite rare, but I have not had time to identify it yet.
The one on the left is a Common Spotted Orchid, not rare, but I do find them utterly enchanting.

Work on the tiny gallery continues.
It was quite a significant day when I cut out the side hatch/window. I felt terrified as I approached it with the jigsaw! But all went well. Phew!
I have designed this so that I can pop the whole hatch out like this. A ‘hide’ or artist’s viewing window….serving hatch even, but also to use as a puppet show theatre.
A real piece of ‘found’, recycled glass is waiting to be inserted, as a window, into the pop-out bit, so light will still come through this wall, even when the hatch is in place.
Something lovely about opening up spaces to the great outdoors, letting the air through, my ‘intuitive build’ structure breathes too now.

I have been continuing with making time to thank the Earth and Gaia daily in meditation.
Asking for strength and guidance on this quest and connecting back into the OM of life. It always brings me back to here,the breath, and sets the intention for the day, enabled to proceed, mindfully, with the next step, stopping me from racing on. The message always ‘Slow down little one, slow down…’
I cannot imagine life without this ritual now….my disabling anxiety is becoming a thing of the past, that is, unless I do not do this!!
It really is very noticeable how this practise helps me to control my serious ‘time’ anxiety and general over thinking of everything. Thank you Gaia and trees for this breath!
This image has been popping up for me a lot so I thought I’d do a quick doodle.
When I lie in ‘child’s pose upon the ground, I often feel guided to widen my legs and become ‘frog-like’ against the soil. This image is born from wondering what that might look like from underneath!
At the moment it is called ‘Earth Touch’, but feel like there is a better title coming soon…..

Then there is this little musical experiment to share.
I do not know if anyone has changed the words of this familiar song before in this way, but it seems fitting in these times….I cannot stop humming this as I build….so I thought I’d have a play with myself again!

safflowers bloom 23/72

(working as part of a ‘Japanese 72 season micro-climate’ artist collaborative initiative within Treesisters)

Japanese season called ‘Shoman’/ Lesser Ripening. 20th May until 5th June .
Micro climate ‘safflowers bloom’ 26th May – 30th May.

I meant to make this video last night…but life, oh life, meant that after returning from town, (from my son’s karate run and grocery shopping), I was too tired to finish this project.

But here I am, still in my nightie at 11 am, working on this now.

It is still raining.

It is curious to notice how the peace and relief I felt yesterday, at this welcome rain, so quickly turns to a kind of despair as I see my roofless gallery and imagine Scotland doing ‘doing the usual’ and this continuing for weeks, potentially!
My thoughts turn to those whose profession it is to build in Argyll and I tell myself to put on those ‘big girl pants’!

(A phrase used by Cali White in her fabulous ‘ Healing of the Burning Times‘ workshop I attended this last week also! Powerful stuff of life!)

A similar thought I have had once before this week, when I realised that the pitch of my roof was too high and had to dismantle all the previous work and begin again!

So in Japan the safflowers are blooming….
I have heard of the safflower. It’s bounty lining the shelves of most health and wholefood stores, but I realised I had no idea what it was! A cross between a thistle and a marigold it seems to me. And so full of goodness and with such an interesting and long relationship with us humans.

Here is the offering I began yesterday……and I think I will leave it at that for this season…..

  A spell is cast

It rains today.
Summer  rain.
No wind.
At all.
So still,
Only the gentle raindrops
Softly fall.

A spell is cast.

The droplets hang like diamonds.
The rain is come at last.

The rushing green is halted
To be decked with jewels so bright
And though the sky is gloomy
They sparkle in the light.
Even the birds stop singing.
Everything stands still.
The leaves droop heavy under the weight
Of their diamond frills.

The whole world seems to stop and sigh.
The sky is crowding round.
The shining flowers bow their heads
Their roots sing in the ground.

A pause in all the rushing.
A moment, still, in light.
No wind to push us onward.
We hang like brilliant diamonds.
We sparkle in the light.
Caught, pregnant with potential,
Hanging on is our delight.

It rains today.
Summer  rain.

No wind at all.
So still, only the gentle raindrops
softly fall.

A spell is cast.

Kat Robertson May 2019

The rain continues.

Hey ho, I am sure there are other things that I can usefully, and creatively, do with this precious time!
More round ‘Rolling Om’ style cooking perhaps!!?
My grape cake (sons said they didn’t like these ones and I could not bear to see them go to waste) and a favourite feta spinach pie….
Perhaps working on designing a door.
Something positive about designing doorways…..

first reeds sprout (16/72)

(working as part of a ‘Japanese 72 season micro-climate’ artist collaborative initiative within Treesisters)

Japanese season called ‘Kokuu’/ Grain Rains. 20th April until 4th May .
Micro climate ‘first reeds sprout’ 20th April – 24th April.

This was easy in February.
Still half in hibernation.
Now SO much is going on around it is virtually impossible to share all I am touched by! SPRING! It really is all rising!
Interesting that this season is called ‘Kokuu’….nothing to do with the bird I am hearing all day either!

(Oh….thunder….only 4 micro-climates too late! But hopefully it will bring a bit more much needed rain!! We had a little rain today and within a hour all the buds in our garden opened! A blaze of colour!!)

So I am going to focus on my journey with the ‘reeds’….

I went down to a local pond yesterday and saw that the bull rushes (the closest to ‘reeds’ that we have here) are, indeed, sprouting.

I went for a paddle….feeling the peaty moss between my toes…

Then a remembered song began bubbling in my mind….
‘Green grow the rushes o…’.

So, on my return, I began looking for the lyrics of the song.

The first song that popped up was the beautiful Burn’s song ‘Green grow the rashes o’…but that was not it…then Google suggested another old English folk song (also known as the Dilly Song) and that really was not it (very religious references…but the debate re the true meaning of the words was entertaining!)….
Then I remembered the next line…’down among the valley o’…
Of course!
My remembered song was the famous Christie Moore track….’The Well below the Valley’ and had nothing to do with rushes at all….that one is ‘green grow the lilies o’ and is a bit of a horror tale where a pilgrim exposes a selfish woman, at a well, as a liar and condemns her to hell!!
So I was not struck on working with that one!

I returned to the Burn’s song…. I know all my sisters around the world would appreciate these words from a man (even if he was a bit of an infamous womaniser!).
Ahh dear Rabbie, he knew which side his bread was buttered….here’s to men who love Nature and women!

It is a bit rough and ready…but here goes….

Chor. - Green grow the rashes, O;
Green grow the rashes, O;
The sweetest hours that e'er I spend,
Are spent amang the lasses, O.

There's nought but care on ev'ry han',                                           (care on every hand)
In ev'ry hour that passes, O:
What signifies the life o' man,
An' 'twere na for the lasses, O.                                                        (if it was not for the women)
Green grow, &c.

The war'ly race may riches chase,                                                (warring peoples)
An' riches still may fly them, O;
An' tho' at last they catch them fast,
Their hearts can ne'er enjoy them, O.
Green grow, &c.

But gie me a cannie hour at e'en,                                                 (a beautiful hour of evening)
My arms about my dearie, O;
An' war'ly cares, an' war'ly men,                                                  (fighting worries and fighting men)
May a' gae tapsalteerie, O!                                                            (go somersaulting out of my mind!)
Green grow, &c.

For you sae douce, ye sneer at this;                                            (you are so fine you sneer at this)
Ye're nought but senseless asses, O:                                          (self explanatory!)
The wisest man the warl' e'er saw,                                              (the world ever saw)
He dearly lov'd the lasses, O.                                                         (dearly love women)
Green grow, &c.

Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears                                       
Her noblest work she classes, O:                                                (Woman are natures best work!)
Her prentice han' she try'd on man,                                          (Nature was only practising when she made man,
An' then she made the lasses, O.                                               and then she made the women!)
Green grow, &c.

When I was looking, through my diaries to find the original song, this fell out.
I really have no idea now where/who it was from….but there were two copies of it on a pea green paper, typed with typewriter (remember those!?)

Man cannot cope with Man.
The desire to make a spiritual connection with a man is like throwing a stone across the river. Without motives or spiritual manipulation. I want only to go into consciousness. Deep thought with my own image and likeness. To know who I am. I want a partner in crime. The crime of Love. Someone with a mutual interest, whose sensitive and free of guilt. A free spirit that has no country. No boundaries and the wall of confusion will come tumbling down.

I searched the corners of the world for a ‘real man’. A mystical roller coaster ride. But only found one problem after another. We haven’t evolved past the singular cell into anything nearly as interesting as it could be. Approaching is the year 2000. It’s hard to watch Man wallow in the past. Thought stuck in secrets and showing superficial emotion. You never know what Man is thinking and few are open enough to share it, they ask no questions, if you try to go beyond it’s own sexuality and transcend to a higher level.

I yearn to meet a person who understands the theory that this world is not it and that past the physical plane is the mental and astral plane. A place that’s hard to reach.

But if I go get the orange and you the bread, then we would have time to reach it together. There is Love other than with woman that can’t be seen or felt. Only experienced. And until the right calibre of human being comes into my space, I must struggle on the physical level. Which does nothing for me. Leaves me cold. The material world is only temporary satisfaction and the unknown or invisible world has so much more power.

Take me now. Under your wing. For I am lost and need to get out.
Take me away so I can devote my Life to this…to You.
I have nothing to loose. Inspiration is my only offer.

I am your butler on the edge of the abyss.
Forced into a corner because….

Man cannot cope with man.

p. missing 95″

What a strange and mysterious missive! And I have no memory of it at all!

Back to paddling in the now….seems this post took a bit of a twist…but perhaps, with Beltane looming this dance of masculine and feminine is on my mind…..yes..thank you owl for hooting your agreement!

first rainbows (15/72)

(working as part of a ‘Japanese 72 season micro-climate’ artist collaborative initiative within Treesisters)

Japanese season called ‘Seimei’/ Pure and clear 5th April until 19th April .
Micro climate ‘first rainbows’ 15th April – 19th April.

As this year progresses I am even more certain that lots of spring plants were very early. I have been comparing photos from last year, and the year before, throughout this experiment, and, certainly, the spring blooms were much earlier, but now that we have reached blossom time it seems we are catching up! The dandelions are up and almost salad worthy. The ferns are poking out.
I still have not seen a swallow, but a friend, who lives close to here, saw her first just yesterday so they are on their way. The tree leaf buds are further on though…..I put it down to the erratic nature of the weather now. We did have an unseasonably warm spell in February this year!
It was Primrose Day on the 19th (in honour of Disraeli, apparently, who loved them, and they are certainly at their best right now.)

The lack of rain continues, so no rainbows either (although there were lots, I noticed, last year at this time), but the wind has died down and things are really beginning to heat up.

I have been building styles and making accesses. Both internally and out.
Overcoming barriers.
Connecting places in this landscape.

The fallen tree, on the sacred knoll, is not an oak as I first thought on a quick look…..it is a huge rowan!
Most of it appears to be dead, so I feel I can still use it for my ‘future grove’ fires and seats. Very special.
But I am going to leave the few, big, branches that are budding and perhaps they will grow into a living seat which would also be very special!

My tiny gallery is a bit delayed and this panics me slightly.
This is mainly due to finding the perfect source for my beautiful wood and the time it takes to mill, dry and plane it. There is , of course, no real need to panic. All in divine and perfect order. This was the year for building this long held dream and I am doing it. I might as well do it properly, not too bound by schedules and plans.
As long as it is open and ready for business in August, it will still be a great achievement!

Cedar. It smells so divine.
A North American ‘Tree of Life’ and the Norse ‘Grandmother Tree’. Jupiter is my planet and I do love the sun! (there are some contradictions in this article!) And, according to this link, my tiny gallery will be well protected and I do hope it will draw people in….

I also significantly saw a pair of goldfinches just yesterday……

My Earth turtle has developed a bit, going to let nature green it anyway she desires, looking forward to seeing what comes up!

Bought the alpines for the ‘rolling’ garden-wheel and bee-bombed it all with wild flower seed….looking greener by the day. I will share better pictures in a later post.

Still having to water daily as no rain, but enjoying sitting in it to meditate these glorious mornings.

Heard the first cuckoo this micro-season while doing this.

I did this kookie, wee, vocal experiment to share what I thought, for a moment I could hear in the dawn chorus yesterday.

(Yay! Now I just saw the first swallow out the window as I was typing this!)

first cherry blossoms (11/72)

(working as part of a ‘Japanese 72 season micro-climate’ artist collaborative initiative within Treesisters)

Japanese season called ‘Shobun’/ Spring Equinox 21st March until 4th April .
Micro climate ‘first cherry blossoms’ 26th – 30th March.

Been out in the garden mainly.
I am reworking our veg patch, using recycled tyres from the garage as raised beds…sick of the couch grass growing into my patches. It did look beautiful though, as I let it take over, but not very productive! And I’d like the space around to look pretty for visitors to the ‘tiny gallery’ in summer. Building a fire pit as part of the design.
Heavy work, but a great feeling, getting stuck in and moving this too long, hibernated, body.

Digging and sculpting my round garden of rounds. What comes around, goes around…..rolling om….

I also had several more surprise, encounters with the same toad! Wherever I move him, he seems to pop up again, under the plastic or rocks. Keeping an amber eye on the proceedings. I think he will be happy with the result…there will be lots of damp nooks to lurk in and I certainly saw many, many worms, most of which escape the slicing spade…so no shortage of food for him!

Our ornamental, cheery, cherry has been out over month now already, leaves now joining the blossoms, but no sign of the native cherry’s blossom yet.

It is the plum tree’s blossom that shines here today though.

Victoria plum blossom.

Another mandala arose…

This was made for the centre of the above mandala….but I quite like it alone in its complex simplicity!

I also put into airtight containers my, now dried, spring prunings of bay, rosemary and thyme from early March. I found myself singing an old, old song…which brought tears to my eyes in its new pertinence….all about the impossible things that men and women ask of each other…..

And now I am all caught up with these seasons….in 3 days it’s the next season, named ‘distant thunder’….hoping that we have reached the end of our ‘storms’…an, increasingly distant, ‘thunder’….

mists start to linger (5/72)

(working as part of a ‘Japanese 72 season micro-climate’ artist collaborative initiative within Treesisters)

Japanese season called ‘Usui’ / rainwater, 19th February –5th March
Micro climate ‘mists start to linger’. 24th February – 28th February.

Japanese season called ”Usul’/Rainwater 19th February until March 5th.
Micro climate ‘mists start to linger’ 24th – 28th February.

Mists are forecast tonight.
The world is heating up….it really felt soft, almost like a summer’s day today….and the sun was shining. A truly beautiful day.
I felt to share a song I wrote a long time ago, so I recorded it, for this, using Audacity app. It’s raw and messy, (like me right now, so much personal tragedy and life sh*t to assimilate). It was written as a travelling song…..but as we all stride into the new unknown it feels fitting….

The percussion on this is two driftwood sticks I found on a beach years ago.

This song was written at the 12th European Rainbow Gathering in Slovenia, 1994.
There was a natural phenomena that happened in the bowl-like valley where it was held (in fact the valley was named after it ‘the place that swallows the clouds’).
In the evening sometimes, when the conditions were right, a thick mist would descend, so thick one could barely see your own hand held right in front of you.
Some of the Rainbow family had built a tree platform, high up in a lone tree. Walking in this mist, singing this made-up song, I bumped into a ladder attached to a tree trunk. Nothing else to do but climb it!
I popped out into the early morning sunrise…..the tree and I were all I could see and below me an ocean of cloud, so thick it felt as if I could jump down onto their softness. A truly magical gift of an experience.
This memory helps me to see that I must just climb out of this ‘mist’, rise above and enjoy the bigger view. Somewhere in everything there is beauty.
I had a go at drawing it today.

‘No ones Slave, no ones master’ song

Playing around with Audacity app again. Inspired by all the rising action on behalf of our planet in the form of the Exinction Rebellion. And some once learned protest songs rising also in my mind.

Original song written by Theo Simmons of ‘Seize The Day.’

‘I have walked.’ song

I have walked on these hillsides since I first was my mother’s daughter,
And you just can’t take these hills away without me fighting.

This old land’s been walked by many people,
Some still young and some not living,
But if you’ve come to take these lands,
Well I’m not here to give ’em’

This old protest song from my past has been haunting me recently. Thought I’d have a go at producing it using Audacity program. Still not very good at this, but I do kind of like the raw sound as I ‘play with myself’! Think I need a proper drum too…the old djembe drum I mistakenly agreed to accept as a trade for a painting has a hole in its skin. I had meant to re-string it…but I wonder when I will ever get round to it! I gave the song a wee twist at the end….hope all enjoy.

Earth I love you.

I have been playing around with the app Audacity recently and sharing the results with special interest Gaia orientated groups.

The initial aim was to find ways that I could harmonise with myself in my lonely, wee, boxroom studio/artden. I have talked to many other musicians who tell me of the magic of looping and ‘garage band’ etc…..but I simply do not have the technical know-how to work out how to even begin with this on my own.

So my son showed me ‘Audacity’ and I have, tentatively, been singing into my laptop with my headphones on! Still no idea how to mix properly, but I quite like this raw, simple sound with of lots of ‘mes’ singing together!

This was inspired when I was doing the dishes and realised that our wok had a lovely tone!

The real prayer made 4D!