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Sweet After
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)

imageSweet After is the final tune of the Manitou session recorded in the Garden of the Gods park. Between two towering, blade-like red spires, we dwelt for a few magical hours in the natural world using the echoes of the red rocks to lift us. After nearly three hours of playing and laughing and camaraderie and thrilling musical exploration, we reflected sweetly on our time together with this composition

This tune is off of Manitou: In the Garden of the Gods. There are other places on my webpage where I write about this CD. In case this is some folks first visit, a lot has duplicated in this one, with some additions. 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.

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.

These tunes were all in major keys. Then the flutes and didgeridoo came out along with bells and tambourines, thanks to Judy. We Invocated 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.

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, 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.

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 the session 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.

Sweet After 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, bells, didgeridoo, Native American flute and any other thing she could lay her hands or feet on during the session.

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