Recorded, mixed, and produced by Ken Crossen, Paul Ford, and dandelion john, except
Agnus Dei produced by Claudia Lopez, A Synthetic Lullaby produced by Ari Picker, and
Old Ship Of Zion produced by Johnny Price.
CD package design and photography by Ken Crossen, except
photograph of Ken Crossen by Alix Pentecost-Farren.
Recording Russian singer Jamuna has been an unexpected adventure in cultural differences. We started talking about iconic songs, songs that represent powerful experiences in a culture, and the topic of war songs came up. One such song, Zemlyanka, written in 1941 during the battle for Moscow, goes something like: "...Somewhere an accordion is singing about you, about your smile, about your eyes, and about you the bushes whisper to me... It's so far over snow-bound steppes to you, but to reach death is just four steps." In contrast, during this same period Americans were listening to "The Boogie Woogie Bugler Boy of Company B".
A young girl's father kisses her goodbye, promising to be back, and within days is killed at the front. Her mother, and all of her brothers and sisters are killed during the battle for Moscow. This is profoundly different from the American experience of war, but common in Russia.
We are attempting to reinterpret these beautiful Russian songs to be more interesting and accessible to Americans, as well as fresh and surprising to Russians, while remaining sensitive to the songs' meanings. Yamsheek is Russian blues; the words go something like "carriage driver, drive slow, nobody waits for me...". The original crossover concept was a horse-drawn carriage taking a coffin to the graveyard through the streets of New Orleans. This recording of Yamsheek was made with a single stereo microphone during a rehearsal session.
This song expresses Claudia's memories of childhood in Catholic Chile. Powerful, evocative, and mystical, it sings to that part of us which stands in awe of a star-filled sky.
Four young women, collectively One Voice, associated with the Omega Choir, laid down this gospel gem in a studio session. Johnny Price gave us this track to publish when we were recording the Omega Choir. The Omega Choir, featuring deep solo talent and Johnny's imaginative direction, is one of the finest choirs I have ever heard.
Ari has another gig as singer/songwriter with a band that has a record contract, The Never (formerly the b-sides). The Never plays really good rock 'n roll in the same way that Frank Zappa was good, but Ari's sweet voice and quirky lyrics also deserve solo treatment.
These could be our modern spirituals, antidotes for our self-absorbed culture and a heart-healing philosophy from the Bahá'í faith.
Among the many gifts Cynthia has brought to my life is her music, but perhaps her most important gift has been teaching me to listen to women's voices, in every sense of voice. Here is the voice of the woman that taught me to listen to women, and to venture beyond my own limited perception of reality. Honeysuckle Night features the collaboration of our son Jesse, who knew, at age sixteen, that his mother's music was the genuine article.-Ken