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Learning to Dance
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)

imageHow better to describe this tune than by its name!  We were all kids.  We knew what we could do (musically) but had no idea what anyone else (not really) would do.  We threw out themes and pig-piled on.  Oh, we listened but we did so in the rambunctiousness of the joy of discovering.

In context:  We set up and went about honoring the place in song, In the Garden was cut one. We played exciting music that attracted a young boy to sit down and watch, Boy on Rock, cut two.  We were feeling each other out musically since not all of us had played together before though each of us had played with at least someone in the group.  No one was a stranger.  We were Learning to Dance.

A lot I have written about this session is duplicated with some additions here.  Read the other pages about this release, too.  What is important to know is that when we were recording this CD, we just recorded-- just played.  Later we looked at what it was we had done.  We were moved by each other, by the music and by the spirit (the Manitou) of the place.

These first tunes were all in major keys.  Then the flutes and didgeridoo came out along with bells and tambourines, thanks to Judy.  We Invoked the spirit of the place.  We invited ourselves to participate in the experience of being on hallowed ground.  Next we Convocated.  We called together.  We affirmed.  We came together.  We played assured in the knowledge that everyone there was holding both themselves and everyone else up-- supporting, encouraging, empowering.

In that part of the park, between two towering, blade-like red spires, we dwelt in the natural, using the the echoes of the red rocks to lift us.   We next came to Celebrations, back to a major key, a funky riff start and a sense of fun.  After nearly ten minutes of that we found that we could not let go of the experience .  Every time the tune tried to wind down, someone would again pick up a theme and we were off again for a coda, and another coda, a Coda Coda.  Finally, calm prevailed.  We reflected sweetly with a final, melodic tune, Sweet After.

Rick Laurenzi had left his Mac computer running the whole time.  It was almost noon.  Some of us had to be back at the Ford's Manitou Springs Mountain Music Festival to do our set.  With the hot sun now banishing the cool shadows of our alcove, we were done.  We posed for a group picture and then left. 

What strikes me about the session is that we were all there to listen to each other-- not just to bounce off with 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, including this cut. 

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 the 10-minute video of this tune is archived.  All pros, it's cool when at the end of the video you watch as the musician's raise their hands as their instrument fades, signaling that they are done.  One by one the hands are raised as everyone else stays silent, not moving, until that last note is over, then we all break into laughter knowing that we had just accomplished something wonderful.

The CD has 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, bells, didgeridoo and any other thing she could lay her hands or feet on during the session. 

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