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Kate Taylor’s Music
Dear Golden Nuggets of Goodness,
We’re trying out this download capability of my albums here at katetaylor.com. We’ve started with “Sister Kate”, the album I made in Los Angeles in 1971. This record was produced by my then manager and producer, Peter Asher. If you would like information about who played on this record and how the songs got chosen, etc, or if you want a copy of the art work, please let me know.
It was very cool to be in Los Angeles at the time we were recording. Hey, it’s cool to be in LA anytime. But those days were special. If you have any interest in reading some tales from those days, I’m going to be posting some soon. Meantime, check out “Sister Kate” and let me know how your “shopping” experience is on this site. We want to make it nothing but pleasurable!
Kate will be appearing Sunday, September 25th at 1:30 pm at the wonderful venue, the Infinity Hall and Bistro, in Norfolk, CT.
20 Greenwoods Road West
Norfolk, CT 06058
Kate is at The Me and Thee Coffeehouse in Marblehead, MA on Sept 23rd. Showtime: 8:00.
28 Mugford Street
Marblehead, MA 01945-3449
Kate is at The Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY on Oct 5.
Kate is at the Cape Cod Cultural Center in West Yarmouth, MA, on Oct 15.
We’re still working on getting our latest releases up and available for you to acquire on this page. If you would like to contact me personally to get copies of any of my recordings, write me anytime at email@example.com.
I have this amazing musical friend, Jemima James. She is a gifted writer and a grand person all around.
She has many friends who play music too, and she has invited a number of us to play on her show, the Jemima James Variety Show, at the Featherstone Art Gallery in Oak Bluffs, MA on Monday, July 18, out in the back field at 6:30. I urge you all to come. For my part, I will be singing with Jemima a couple of Hazel Dickens-Alice Gerrard songs that we do together. Jemima’s dynamic son, Willy Mason will be there, along with the incomparable Nina Violet, the soft and sultry Lexi Roth, the guitar playing humorist Dan Waters; yes, the list goes on and on. Here’s your chance to get a taste of some of the sweetest grapes on the Vineyard’s vines. Tying it all together is this wonderful soulful sister, Jemima James.
I had the nicest visit with friend Gretchen Baer yesterday. We were on the porch. Look what greeted her. This dear plant of mine sits in it’s pot all winter, waiting for it’s chance to spend some time outside getting rain and direct, if dappled, sunshine. This makes it so very happy that look at what it does!
I had a chance to do some painting with Gretchen. Stay tuned for further painting adventure posts.
Hey! If you are in the Cambridge Massachusetts area on Friday night, May 20, come on over to see us with Ramblin’ Jack Elliot at Leslie College’s Prospect Hall, 1801 Mass Ave.
This guy is rode hard and has the stories to prove it. I am thrilled to be riding shot gun with him Friday night.
He played along side Woody Guthrie. He grew up in Brooklyn and fell in love with the great and expansive American west. He’s the real deal.
Then Saturday night, May 21, we’re off to celebrate another great American storyteller. We’re heading to our generation’s hometown, Woodstock, NY, to sing a couple of Dylan songs at a gathering to honor his 70th year. 70th year!!! Can this be?
We’re in good company that night, and I’m delighted to be joining my buds from upstate NY.
Saddle up your ponies and come on by, pahdnah’s.
Hi cats and kitties,
If you’re anywhere near New York City during this week, May 3 through May 6, I encourage you to head on down to Feinstein’s at the Regency, 61 and Park, to hear and see Peter Asher’s retrospective show. Peter was my producer and manager at the very dawn of my performing career, back in the late 60′s and early 70′s. I met him at Apple Studios in London when I was there visiting James, for whom he was producing a record at the time. I was very excited to be going to see Peter doing his own show, I’d heard he had put this together and I knew it would be interesting and fun.
He did not disappoint. The man was immersed deeply into a very vibrant time in our cultural history and has some fabulous stories to tell. He’s got pictures, film and a band. They sing some of the songs he made famous with his singing partner from the mid 60′s, Gordan Waller. He tells inside stories from the days when Paul McCartney was his house mate at his family home. He tells the story of when …
No, I’m not going to tell you, I’m going to implore you to catch this show yourself. You will write me and thank me for the tip.
Love to all, yours truly,
Here’s a picture or two of the hotel we were in in Nairobi. It was a far cry from our tents in Aweil, South Sudan. There were crystals hanging in spiraling swirls from the ceiling in the lobby. There was a lobby! And a business center where I could check my email. Somehow, it was too much to try to convince facebook that it was ok for me to log in, the hotel’s computer was way off my home base. I was being charged to be on line by the minute and I didn’t have many minutes to spend in the business center in the first place.
I can’t deny it; indoor, running hot water may be one of the top inventions of all time.
Hot bath, hot shower, oh yeah.
And a night’s sleep without “Coq au Vin” at 5:30 am. Am I spoiled? I guess!
Morning in Nairobi. Our last day in Mother Africa dawns. We’ve got lots of ground to cover.
First stop; brunch. Fresh fruit, coffee, bottled water.
Then it’s into a couple of vans to head to the center of town. Our friend Lynn, the nurse who has been working with the CSI group for several years, has a stop to make and she wants to share it with us. Our vans wind through heavy traffic. We’re off to Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, maybe the largest slum in Africa. Lynn says it’s the largest slum in the world. One million people, 600,000 of them children, in territory the size of Central Park. I’ve never been to a slum, much less perhaps the world’s most large.
After being with the people of South Sudan, and seeing how they survive with nothing, it seems so much saner than how folks get by in this place.
We wind in through the tin shacks and commerce and stop at a door that says “Love is Here”. We cross over some sort of drainage gulley to climb through this door. And yes, love is there. A pristine school yard lays before us. The children, perhaps 75 of them at this event, are all dressed in navy blue V neck sweaters with white blouses and shirts, blue skirts and pants. They enter the courtyard in neat rows and stand at attention. They sing some songs for us. These are kids who have been born into this slum, with families in crisis mode, with nowhere to go. And here they are, putting on a skit in English that they wrote for Lynn, depicting the help she brought them, thanking her for the money she gave for the food it bought them. Food that has allowed them to not be distracted by hunger so that they can learn. We go to their classrooms. The work on the blackboards shows extremely advanced, critical thinking. Thank you to the “Drug Fighters” Organization for starting and running this school, and to Lynn for her support of them.
We leave the slum area, it takes some time, the roadways are windy and small and we share them with the chickens, the dogs, the folks on foot.
Next stop: The Dr. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust where we see baby elephants who have been orphaned in the wild and saved in this place. There are several of them being presented to us, the first large crowd of white folks I’ve seen in days. The elephants are rust colored, as they are covered with the red dust that makes up the stomping grounds around this, their temporary home. They get the care they need and are slowly worked back into the wild. It is a wonderful place that does great work rescuing wildlife, we all buy sponsorships of one or another of the elephants. We’ll be getting updates on their progress via email.
Next stop: Feed the giraffes. Hello! We climb up to a treehouse balcony and get up close and personal with giraffes. Purple tongues. Lips like some of the characters on the Simpsons. These are some graceful beings.
Next stop: Carnivores. Lunch! All meat all the time. They have a ring of fire over which they roast every kind of animal that is legal to consume. I apologize to all my vegetarian friends. Crocodile, camel, lamb, beef, chicken, ostrich. Etc. After a round or two of this, all I can say is Uncle!
Next stop: I’m gonna take you surfin’ safari. Very close to the outskirts of Nairobi, within sight of the city off in the distance on one edge of these plains, we ride for a couple of hours through bush and over stream. We catch sight of zebra, impala, black rhino, giraffe, Ugandan crested crane, elan, ostrich, those massive black oxen like creatures with the curly horns…
The sun is setting on our day in Nairobi and our time in Africa. There is a mountain range to our west, the sun is going down behind it, we lament not having seen any lions but we are filled to the brim with awe and satisfaction at what we’ve done, seen, and felt over our time spent on this continent. Our plane leaves tonight. We are heading out of the safari “park” when what are we given as a parting shot but two lions resting together on the side of our road. Puurrrrr!
Good night lions, good night mother Africa.
Thank you all so much for coming with me to Africa via these posts. If anyone has comments or wants to know more about any aspect of all this, including any of the organizations mentioned, you can write me here and I’ll get back to you.
Shebop shebop my babies…
It’s 8:00 in the morning. The Heart Women have walked to Dr Luka’s compound. It takes up to two hours for some of them. These are all women that, some just freshly returned, some within the last year or two, have come back to their home turf after years enslaved by their Northern Sudanese fellow countrymen. Ellen has started a breathing/meditation group with them. They have been coming to Dr Luka’s to gather, talk, laugh, heal. They probably haven’t heard the term “post-traumatic stress”, but they’ve surely got it as they have been beaten, raped and have seen loved ones murdered.
They have spirits that have seen the dark side of human kind, but choose to look for goodness. I can see that they are great with their hands. They make meticulous baskets out of the grasses. Ellen has asked me to come to this place to show them how to make a beaded heart that she can market for them. She is calling it “Have a Heart for Sudan”.
The first group is about 15 women. We gather in the shade of a tree and they sit on cloths spread on the ground. They are looking at me with innocent and expectant eyes.
The film crew is around. Barbara Koppel knows her craft. There’s a reason she’s won two Academy Awards. She can work good stuff out of people and onto film. She suggests that I start with a song, Charlie and Inez Fox’s “Mockingbird”! I dive into it, acapella. The women’s faces light up. They smile, clap and cheer. They have this really cool way of applauding after a song, where they all clap in unison. Be prepared, if you’re at one of my shows, I’m going to ask us to try this together.
I go into my “Shebop shebop shebop my baby” and they join in. It becomes our theme song for the next three days of beading sessions.
I have an interpreter, and I ask him to tell them that I have just learned this technique myself, it took me a long time to learn it, and I haven’t had a chance to try teaching it to anyone. I ask them for patience. They nod. They clap! I am loving my Heart Women already.
Ok, here’s what the finished product will look like, I tell them. I hold up some samples of the hearts. 73 beads, one step after the other, and there’s no room for a misstep. Don’t be afraid to cut the work apart and start again.
Step one, step two, step three. Put one bead on the left hand string, two beads on the right, and cross the left string through it. One bead, one bead.
This beading technique, the right angle weave, is not for the faint of heart. These gals have lots of dexterity and smarts, and are nowhere near faint of heart. After each move I check their work. We move along through the steps, and we’re at it for a little over a couple of hours.
It’s going slowly only because it takes a while to check every one’s steps and correct where necessary. It feels like we’ve just about had it for the day, and we take a break. I start up with the next group of 15-20. We start from the top. These women are like the last, cheerful, game and quick. But, it is still taking time, and we stop at the same place we’ve stopped with the first group. I will be seeing them tomorrow.
One bead, one bead. This becomes another mantra, along with Shebop shebop shebop my baby. I ask the interpreter to translate “my baby” into Dinka. I can’t remember what it was, but they think this is really funny.
The next day there are fewer of them, the ones who are there will show the others.
We go on like this, laughing and singing and going in and out of frustrated as we work through the technique.
You’ll know what I mean when I show you if you’re interested. It is worth the work, the hearts are pretty.
By the third day of work sessions, we’ve whittled the group down to 8 or so, and they finish their first hearts.
I could go on and on about it, but suffice it to say that these women are talented, resourceful, funny and bright. They are not afraid to work and want to very much. I wish I had more time with them, but I envision them sitting in the shade right now, singing and stringing. One bead, one bead. Shebop shebop.
While the Heart Women and I are at this stringing thing, my fellow tent dwellers are at another slave group one day, the governor’s house the next. They go back to the polio people’s place and deliver 25-30 goats that Ellen has raised money to buy for them.
Late in the day one afternoon, we all go to the brand new basketball court that Ellen has raised money to build. There’s a coach and a teams worth of young men and a couple of girls, running drills across the courts. Ellen and her brother have brought them bags filled with new sneakers.
The final morning we are there, I gather with a few of the Heart Women and they watch while I string up one heart so they can see it done without the stops and starts we’ve had to go through together. I go through the supplies with an elder and one of the younger ones. I have the interpreter read through my written instructions. I give them the photo album I have made of each step.
Our little pod of people loads into the Rovers and heads to the airport. Our last hour and a half of bumpy roads. Good bye dear new friends, good bye South Sudan.
We head back to Nairobi for a night with some running hot water and indoor plumbing. The next day is filled to the brim with stuff we do. Would you like me to tell you about our day in Nairobi?