Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Lullaby with Green Rowboat"

Lullaby with Green Rowboat

for Sheila

immemorial silence before you were born a
full moon fluorescent thru blinds

then sound—raindrops syncopating outside
your window a banjo plucked in a room next door

in the woods the jack-in-the-pulpit’s purple &
brown inflorescence unfurls in May’s green

dusk air off the river these vegetative
ghosts clustering above an island the island

catches your eye without fail these
raindrops pooling beyond the window these

notes absorbed in a flow of quavers the
same shade of green as the rowboat that

floats atop sawhorses thru night’s
larger dream about rivers & full moons blooming

Jack Hayes
© 2013

Saturday, May 25, 2013

“O Cantador”

“O Cantador”—the singer, the poet who gives voice to the essential & elemental: life & death, grief & love in song. Archetypal, mythic, always familiar, always a stranger. The poet whose love & loss is intensely personal, but also existential & universal.

This is so beautifully presented in one of my favorite songs, “O Cantador” by Dorii Caymmi  & Nelson Motta, a song I first heard sung by Flora Purim on her album recorded live at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1974, Five Hundred Miles High. "O Cantador" is a standard in Brazil, & it has been covered by such great singers as Elis Regina & Gal Costa, but I always liked Purim’s version best. The song also exists in an English version titled “Like a Lover,” with lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman, but the English lyrics bear only a tangential relationship at best to the Portuguese original—the Portuguese is existential, the English, a mostly conventional love lyric. It also misses the central pun of “O Cantador” ("the singer”)
& “eu canto a dor”: “I sing of grief.” From a musical perspective, versions I’ve heard of the English version even by top notch jazz singers seem always to “square the song up,” & miss the lilt & flow of the Brazilian versions.

So Purim’s version was my favorite—until I heard this version done by Anna Setton  accompanied on piano by Evaldo Soares. This is transcendent music, & if a singer as young as Setton can be said to have rendered a definitive version of such a deep song, then she has certainly done so here.

A beautiful performance—enjoy!

Image links to its source

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"the meeting"

the meeting

i bumped into Truth on the subway,
his clothing was ragged and torn,
and he looked with dismay
at Hatred and Rage,
and with pity at Anger and Scorn.

it seems he had left with the world in this mess
and had given up trying to try.
and he gazed up at me,
with this look so serene,
and the tear of Fate caught in his eye.

he had hidden himself in the details
by sealing up all of the doors.
he retreated inside,
just a new place to hide,
far from the violence and wars.

he had lost all his faith in Humanity
and Humanity lost faith in him,
as he started to fear for his sanity,
seeing children abused
and the face of Love bruised
while Ignorance lied on a whim.

’cause he needed a decade to think
and mix it around in his brain.
the Hurt we inflict,
the Evil, the Sick,
the Torture, the Horrors, the Pain.

he returned with a sense of frustration
that no one could help him defeat.
quite unable to find
a Peace in his mind
that would aid his attempts in the street.

see he couldn’t abide by Injustice
and he didn’t find Racism fair
and he just couldn’t see
why someone like me
could’ve found any reason to care.

i bumped into Truth on the subway
and our meeting just doesn’t seem real.
to encounter blind grace
in such a chance place,
that’s made up of concrete and steel.

Barbie Angell
© 1995

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Carinhoso: affectionate—desire distilled to its sweetest & most gentle manifestation in a choro from 1930 by the great composer Pixinguinha, choro being an instrumental form, & according to Villa-Lobos, the true musical incarnation of the Brazilian soul. The lovely lyrics were added in 1937 by Braguinha.

& what a warm & lyrical interpretation here by Anna Setton, her voice floating & weaving through Toquinho’s intricate & delicate guitar accompaniment. Music for the heart & the soul—enjoy!

Image of Anna Setton links to its source at circuitomusical.com. Circuito Musical is the record label for both Anna Setton & Toquinho.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"astral pickup truck"

astral pickup truck

the girl
with the astral pickup truck
might be kind of a redneck
because she says 'y'all' a lot
and she thinks those jeans
are an outfit

but her exhaust
sinks down to earth
as fog
rolling off your bay

and she drives on roads
even satellites can't see

there's an angel riding shotgun
and nowhere she can't go

you sleep

they park
their red pickup truck
over your dreams


they fuck in the bed
regardless of the shovel
and salvaged stars

Mairi Graham-Shaw
© 2012-the present

Image links to its source at Wiki Commons
Fish Market At Intersection Of Illinois. 100 And U.S. 36 (1973) – National Archives & Records Administration; public domain

Monday, May 6, 2013

"Flor de Maracujá"

Passion flower, intricate, iconic, sexual, allegorical, medicinal—& sea breeze across a vernadah in the bright light of noon or in the moonlight…all coming to us through a dazzling voice & a jazz trio’s élan—Anna Setton, one of Brazil’s rising stars, here backed by Evaldo Soares on piano, Lito Robledo on bass & Jorginho Saavedra on drums & percussion.

“Flor de Maracuja,” a Bossa Nova song composed by João Donato & Lysias Enio—what a lovely thing on a lovely May afternoon!

& stay tuned for more Anna Setton right here on Robert Frost’s Banjo!

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons
Flor de maracujá by Ismar Schein, who has released the image into the public domain