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Coda Coda
Author: Force, Futch, Stephens, Zimish, Batti, Ford, Piazza
Date/Studio: 2007 GOTG Park, Colorado Springs, CO
Engineer: Rick Laurenzzi
Producer: Robert Force & Manitou
Original Release: Manitou, In the Garden of the Gods (BSR309)
Current Release: Manitou, In the Garden of the Gods (BSR309)

imageIndeed, we couldn't let go of the Celebration tune, the previous “cut” on the In the Garden of the Gods album. Every time we thought we had it wound down to a close one or another of us would pick it back up. When Roger Zimish mixed the CD, we thought it best to let ALL of what happened during that session stay on the record-- figuratively and literally.

First there was a coda-- a tag on to the Celebration tune, then the coda had a coda, and so the name. It is an interlude, a bridge between the end of a a tune, of an entire experience and the tickling, mischievous sense of not letting go at all-- just once more. Is it a tune? Nah. It is the musical meanderings of friends poking each other in the ribs, twinkles in their eyes.

This interlude is off of the Manitou CD In the Garden of the Gods. For a number of years I had been attending a small folk festival put on by the Ford family in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Every year Bud III would lend me a Vespa motor scooter from his collection and I would putt the few miles up to the Garden of the Gods Park to spend time in that wonderful, unique, spiritual place.

In the park, between two towering, blade-like red spires, was a natural amphitheater. How fun, I thought, it would be to record here using the natural echoes. The talent that had been coming to the Manitou Mountain Music Festival was awesome. Many of those folks gladly jumped in to back me up as we flowed on and of the stage during each other's sets.

One year my friend, Rick Laurenzi, was making a movie about weight loss (Dropping a Ton and making it Fun). He had acquired a bunch of camera and remote, in-the-field recording gear. The stars were right. I asked several of these people I had been playing with to record with me in that spectacular place. Yes! We got up (an unnatural act!) at seven in the morning to get to the Garden and set up equipment. By nine we were recording. By noon, with the hot sun now banishing the cool shadows of our alcove, we were done. Rick had left the Mac computer running the whole time.

What strikes me about the session is that we were all there to listen to each other-- not just to make up our own riffs for others to follow. Everyone there had previously played with someone in the group but we had never played all together. As a result, the entire album came out magical. A camera crew was shooting the event.

Maybe one day that footage will see the light. For now, there are a few YouTubes out there that capture some of it. Net-search under Manitou Music Garden of the Gods. Bing Futch preserved a lot of the footage on his Dulcimerica podcasts. In particular, Episode 30 In the Garden of the Gods: Manitou, is where a 10-minute video of one of the tunes, Boy On Rock, is archived.

Celebration features four dulcimer players-- Quintin Stephens, Bud Ford III, Bing Futch and myself. Dave Batti is on bass. Roger Zimish on guitar and Judy Piazza on hand drum.

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