The Seven Cities of Gold is a myth that led to several expeditions by adventurers such as conquistadors in the 16th century. They had heard stories from natives about cities with great and limitless riches. At the same time, the Spanish were performing colonial expansion in the Americas.
The original motivations were trade and the spread of the Catholic faith through indigenous conversions made by missionaries. This song is seen through the eyes of a priest who accompanies an expedition. The expectation of salvation is eventually replaced by a realization that a culture is being eradicated and that greed and corruption had consumed the once pious hearts of his fellow adventurers.
Inca society held gold in special status. A sacred fluidity that forged a direct connection to the supreme deity, its liquid tears fallen down to earth – Tears from the Sun.
“The westering sun which filled the atmosphere with flame throughout the day, was now wildly setting; and, as he sank behind the hall, its varied and picturesque tracery became each instant more darkly and distinctly defined against the crimson sky” – Rockwood: William Harrison Ainsworth
Imaginings from a gothic dreamscape. Romance, passion, lust and of course a quickening heartbeat of unexpected danger. Memories and infatuation. In dreams crimson skies are most associated with turbulent and tumultuous times.
Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) rose to fame in Venice from 1520, then throughout Italy and Europe. Tintoretto (Jacopo Comin, aka Jacopo Robusti) was born in Venice around 1518, he loved all the arts and as a youth played the lute. Thirty years stood between him and Titian, who was his master for a while. Yet a mutual disliking seemed to take a firm hold between them, and a ‘bitter rivalry’ over commissions appeared as attempts to outdo or thwart the other man.
Veronese, Titian’s protégé, apparently became a pawn in this rivalry and received a large number of commissions, thereby overshadowing Tintoretto. Eventually, however, Tintoretto became one the most acclaimed Venetian artists. His final major work was, ‘Paradise’, for the Grand Council chamber of the Doge’s Palace, completed in 1592. Initially, Veronese had been given the commission but died before work began thus Tintoretto received the commission in 1588. At approximately 74 x 30 ft., the vast ‘Il Paradiso’ is one of the world’s largest paintings on canvas.
Life is a constant journey. We can seldom predict where choices and different paths will eventually lead us. These unexpected avenues present challenges and opportunities along the way. We are all curious travellers searching for enlightenment, knowledge and our place in this lifetime.
“I let my feet spend as little time on the ground as possible; from the air fast down and from the ground fast up.” – Jesse Owens
In 1936 James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens attended the Berlin Olympic Games in Nazi Germany. Hitler was confident these Games would support his assertion that the German people were the dominant race.
Owens faced pressure from both the black community, who wanted the USA to boycott the games, and the American Olympic Committee who stated that not to compete would be “un-American”. Eventually, Jesse decided to participate and won four gold medals, single-handedly crushing Hitler’s myth of “Aryan supremacy”.
On returning home he was not allowed to travel with the white athletes. After a New York ticker-tape parade, he attended a reception in his honour at the Waldorf Astoria but was prevented from entering by the main doors, instead being forced to travel in a freight elevator. He later said; “I wasn’t invited up to shake hands with Hitler- but I wasn’t invited to the White House to shake hands with the President either.”
I had composed an instrumental piece that needed a strong theme to hang ideas on. It contained a simple repetitive drum pattern that reminded me of a Native American style. I found a fascinating tale about the origins of a dream-catcher and decided to add some spoken word to give a firmer connection to these ancient belief systems.
This song is dedicated to the memory of Red Hawk. He spent his life teaching others about Native American culture and seeking after the truth
While listening to a radio programme discussing anxiety and depression, the topic of “green therapy” was mentioned. The idea that spending time away from the frantic city and reconnecting with nature is proven to have positive effects on people’s health.
I wanted this song to have a slightly “jazz” feel as I always associate that musical form with the city. The verses describe images of the cityscape. The chorus is a reminder to ourselves not to forget our origins and to embrace the cycle of nature.
Traditional gems like diamonds, rubies and emeralds, are made by nature and refined by man. Sea glass is originally made by man (bottles and jars) but refined by nature to become smooth, frosty, beach-found gems. This duet is about the mending of broken hearts, how time like the sea smooths our edges and healing allows us to love once more.