Song Stories for Tethys
Linda Khandro, December 2007
Slip Stream, 2005 (Track 7)
Slip Stream began while recording a cricket and the trickle of the stream in Blacktail Canyon, one of the many tributary streams carving its own slot canyon as it empties into the Colorado River, about ¾ of the way along a 7 day raft trip. Somehow in all this paradise I managed to be sick in body and heart, and then couldn’t even tune the little harp. But at the bottom of all the majesty and a billion and a half years of earth history, the entry pattern of this little piece emerged blowing a reluctant creative spark to life. Thanks to fellow geologist and Canyon explorer (and dear friend) Chris Jonientz for the video clip (click to open movie). More of the piece emerged in Sicamous, BC, 2 weeks later during the hot slow summer days while with my sister and brother-in-law’s theatre company Rhythm n Bones, we prepared for a week’s run of Mid Summer Night’s Dream. And the last 2 sections showed up on a beach a month later, while deep in recovery from the summer’s intensity and illness, floating daily in the warm healing waters of the Yucatan Caribbean. The musical intention is to follow a stream from its birthing headwaters to its mouth in the mother ocean. The ambient water sounds you hear were recorded in Blacktail Canyon and along the banks of the Colorado River, and the surf at the end comes from a beach off the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, April 2006, thanks to my daughter Camille who shared her free flight tickets to New Zealand with her mum.
Video clip credit: Chris Jonientz, at Blacktail Canyon, Grand Canyon, 2005
La Playa, 2006 (Track 2) and Wave Form (Track 1)
Beaches have always held me in thrall, and the beaches of the Baja peninsula no less than anywhere else. In this case, with the little harp in hand, as it always is when I travel, the initial improvisation showed up while playing the sun into the sea at sunset. So the name quickly followed. The surf intro and outro for La Playa was also recorded at Sandy Beach, South Island, New Zealand. The pleasure I get from improvising with Ann and Shiho prompted me to suggest that we play an improvisational opening to La Playa in the same tuning, and thus we have Wave Form.
Salmon Arm, 2007 (Track 12)
After more than 26 years living in the US, I returned home to the rural BC interior this year. While busking in front of a bank in the lovely lakeside town of Salmon Arm, one sunny afternoon in early May, this rhythm popped into being. It is so much fun to play, it became the foundation of Island Spring while we were improvising in the studio, and was later re-recorded under its own name after it solidified a little more.
Harmonic Wind, 2004 – 2007 (Track 9)
A wind blowing through a set of harp strings is its own magic. When Ann heard this December 2004 recording of just such a wind in the small harp, recorded in the doorway of a lovely Baja bed and breakfast we later shared in December 2005, she agreed that we just had to do something with it! So we did.
A note on the name Tethys:
We were casting about for names, one for our group, and one for this recording project you now have(I hope!) in your hands. Without prior consultation, water was evident in many of our individual titles as well as in the nature of the music itself. So while Ann and her husband Jesse were brainstorming words with a watery context, geologist that I am, I leapt upon Tethys as something we could play with, so to speak! In Greek mythology, the Titan Tethys was the daughter of Uranus and Gaia, and the sister and consort of Oceanus, the ancient Greek god of the ocean. In the geological story of Earth’s plate tectonic history, the Tethys Ocean is a body of water associated with the “all land” mass of continents called Pangaea. About 240 million years ago, Pangaea began to break up to form the continents we now know and love.