Wednesday
Oct192016

All Kinds of Beings ~ A Movie ~ And How You Can Help

All Kind of Beings ~ How Do We Bless?

~ a movie produced by a street cellist
about th
e rogue valley and the beings who live there ~

Here are ( at least) four ways you can contribute to making this vision a reality, and at the same time enjoy it’s fruits!

  1.  download a CD at danielaustinsperry.bandcamp.com. I have eight

    CDs. Every one you download supports this project.

  2. Host a house concert. Gather your friends to hear beautiful music. You’ll hear updates on the movie-making as well as music from the movie.

  3. commission a “portrait” for a loved one ( including yourself!) - either a “musical portrait” for $500 or a “movie portrait” for $1000. Take part in the mysterious and gratifying process of creating musical medicine or “blessing”.

  4. Become a collaborator or “co-producer” of the movie. If there is a particular person or “cause” you have passion for, and who you feel could fit into the movie, talk to me. The production costs for a 5-10 minute segment are roughly $1000. I can help you fundraise this, or perhaps you have a network of your own to support it. The movie is a community proposition and I am inviting all local visionaries and “changemakers’ to have a stake in it.

Contact me at 541-973-7415 or cellomansings@gmail.com All my best!
Daniel 

How Did You Get Where You Are? from Daniel Sperry on Vimeo.

Monday
Nov092015

How Poetry Changes The World - A Conversation...

This morning I walked back from the little grassy haven overlooking our mountains here in the Rogue Valley to the East after sitting with a little bit of rain falling and abiding there for a while in the ritual I have given myself for the last few months. I walked through hundreds of red leaves plastered by moisture to the ground, and thought about all the leaves of thought and impulse and currents of response that have come to me as I began reaching out to people distant from me in just a little less than two weeks.
Before this weekend, I asked the question on Facebook, “ How Does Poetry Change Our World?”. I am sitting with this question because I decided not too long ago that I want to share my work with a much wider circle of people, and my work is woven together with poetry - poetry that demands my attention the way that Robert Frost describes it: “ The right reader of a good poem can tell the moment it strikes him that he has taken a mortal wound – that he will never get over it.” As a musician, it is almost impossible for me to hear words that call me toward an extraordinary experience and not be inspired to bring music into that experience, to add my voice and magnify the beauty I have found.
Here I am, then, walking, thinking of all the responses I got to this question, and how over the last two weeks, people have paid attention and also not paid attention, strangely circling around the phenomenon of one artist’s presence in the online world we navigate every day.
The most baffling response I got – although I know it was an honest one – was “poetry helps people escape from reality, specifically that global overpopulation is killing all life on our planet, much like Nero fiddling while Rome burns...”
.
This raises the question, what is real? Because another eloquent answer was, “ Through poetry, we connect to the real and leave the unreal behind.”
Almost everyone who commented made a connection between poetry and the soul, and that happened enough times to think that there are many people who believe they can feel something like a soul, and that poetry is a language through which the soul speaks. It is definitely a language we are not accustomed to. William Stafford called poetry, “lucky talk”. He was fond of downplaying the erudition of it, and eager to open us all to the sense that we are encountering it much more often than we think. Someone asked him, “When did you first become a poet?”, and he answered “Everyone is born a poet - a person discovering the way words sound and work, caring and delighting in words. I just kept on doing what everyone starts out doing. The real question is: Why did other people stop?”
The response that moved me the most – although they all did – was a private message from a woman who came to one of my concerts probably more than three years ago. She described how much a part of her family life poetry had always been, how her family played a “poetry game” where each family member said a line from a poem and the others had to guess what poem that was from. And that would be a beautiful game to play, I think. But then she described how in this summer just passed, her 22 year old son had been in a mental hospital, diagnosed with schizophrenia and in the week before he took his own life he sat with her and a book his aunt had created, a collection of poems they had loved together, and marked one that reminded him of how he loved to run. He was a runner, a champion runner, and this poem spoke something to him and became one that was written on a card that was handed out at his Life Celebration:
One Morning
I remember my littlest one in a field
running so hard at the morning in him he kicked the heads off daisies.
Oh, wild and windy and spilling over the brim of his sun-up juices
he ran in the dew of himself. My son.
And the white flower heads shot like sparks
where his knees pumped, and his hot-shod feet
took off from time, as who knows when ever again
a running morning will be so light-struck,
flower-sparked-full between him and me.
John Ciardi

From this story, from this poem, I see that one way that poetry changes the world is that it breaks your heart open. I cried when I read this. And often, that is what happens when I am touched by a poem. There is wonder there, and a way of feeling something underneath – a current – that I believe we all belong to. Another woman who responded, emphasized the way that poetry “bypasses much of cognitive judgement or thought”. And that is one of the things I love about it the most. If there ever was a way to save the world, it might come if we could let go of our rigid attachments to certain ideas and begin to wander together in the world where there are answers waiting to be discovered.
According to one view, I am an escape artist, and I am distracting all of you from seeing that we are killing ourselves by the way we are living on the planet. Coming from a mysterious place inside myself, one that appears to live inside some numbers of other people, I am being hurled into a greater connection with all of you, through this journey of walking with words and music. I think it is my work. I do not know if I am employed, if I am working for you, or with you, if I will be sustained through this work. If you feel moved to assist, please go to www.patreon.com/poetrysandwich and think of a commitment you can make of a few dollars – maybe the same amount you might give to a person on the street in this world where perhaps we have overpopulated so much that we are killing ourselves, and in fact, some of us find ourselves homeless.
Maybe we are all looking for a way home and it is only through a steadfast love of each other and the things that move our hearts that we will find it. Poetry seems determined to be to us a guide, an adventurer and a companion on that quest.

 

Wednesday
Jan072015

Doing my best….

Now, an overview of how all of the projects I am working on are going. I have several! 

William Stafford CD - "Cutting Loose"

I have about 9 of 13 tracks completed. This CD will be entirely spoken word, like When Your Life Becomes Poetry, and Secret Pouch of Listening. There are songs that have been created oit of the poems, but those will be released on another CD. The release of "Cutting Loose" now rests on the completion of another, much smaller Kickstarter, which will provide funds for artwork and duplication. I am working on creating that video beginning next week. The poems on this collection are stunning, and hearing one Stafford poem after the other is so satisfying. I am heartened by the way it is all coming out, but there is anotehr stretch to go before the CD will be shipping. At this point I am targeting February for the release.

Musical Portraits - back in production!

In 2013, I was still producing a pretty steady stream of musical portraits. In 2014, I spent a lot more time gathering myself and starting to grow some roots in Ashland, OR where my home is now. I think I may have completed two musical portraits the entire year.

But I am back in production with those pieces now. I have a small queue of 3-4 pieces that need to be completed, but I am accepting commissions for new musical portraits for this month of January, to be completed either late this month or early next month. And I am offering a special price on the next two commissions, of $250 - half the normal investment - for anyone who signs up in the month of January. This is a great opportunity to give a gift or celebrate an occasion, with a special piece of music crafted just for that purpose. You can reach me at 541-973-7415 or email me at cellomansings@gmail.com to find out more. 

Local Performances

Getting through the winter in Ashland as a musician is not that easy, because the tourists are gone from the Valley from late October to mid-February. There aren't a lot of venues that pay well, but I have been reaching out to community organizations like the Teresa McCormick Assistance Center, Oregon Action, and The Magdalene Home, to schedule performances. These are all community groups who are doing good works in the area and my providing music for their gatherings has been an inspiring way to participate in the good works they are doing.

I have also been playing with some regularity at a local kindergarten class, at a local tea house, and for dancers at a local dance studio. Some of these things don't pay at all, some pay pretty well. It is mostly that I want to continue to be available to the community to provide the medicine of music when it is needed. 

Since sustaining the work right now is a primary focus, I will include here a link to the different ways you can participate, if you are inspired. 

 

Tuesday
Dec302014

Dear Friends….

The following is the beginning of a series of articles that will be attempting to fill out the story of my work, in an online format, on my website, and to some degree, shared on the different social media platforms.

Each article will be part of my Journal on the web site, and also will have a home somewhere else on the site, so it can be easily accessed.

My purpose is to do as much revelation and education as I can about the path I am on. I have a feeling it is a rather strange path. I have that feeling most days and nights. That is one reason why I want to write about it, because we all seem to want to be understood. At least I do.

In the end, though, my path is not very different than the path we are all on. To the extent that we share a human body, which I am assuming if you are reading this, we are on a very similar path.

The fact that I am walking through life in an attempt to be a musician and an artist - well, that may be different or similar.

But think about it! Every time you speak to someone, in some way you are singing: trying to express something from the deep. 

Or, when you take a boat out on any water, it is a performance, a dance with the elements, and in that, there is art, and skill, and a way of coming from a deeper place, of responding to the welling up of this humanness that is yours.

There will be lots of things to cover, and I will try to connect my experience to yours, or at least to this one deep stream we share. I plan to send these out in a digest to my list on a weekly basis. If you have not yet, you may subscribe to that list here. You can, of course, always Unsubscribe, and I completely understand if you do, because there is way too much to digest these days. What I have to say may not make the cut of things you want to follow or have an interest in.

If you decide you want to follow along more closely, the posts will be available on my Journal, and it is even possible to subscribe to an RSS feed that gives you access to this evolution on a daily basis. That is all up to you.

The beginning is about how I got started on the path that I am on, the genesis of my current work. But first, I will give you the best possible description I can of what my current work is all about.

It is my hope that if the articles interest you, you will send me your comments. Or, that you will participate in some way that makes sense for you. There are some ideas on that here. 

I am not pretending to be an expert on anything. Rather, someone who is learning my way. And laying all of this out for those of you who are following along will surely help me to learn what I need to know to survive and grow on my path. Thank you so much for being here, and listening, as I search for the words...

 

Monday
Oct272014

Something different starting to happen...

There are so many problems in my mind, posting things online.

I have a struggle with who it is that I am publicly in relation to who I am artistically and privately. I have come to a place where I don't like to add layers of self promotion to everything I do. Believing in it is a big enough thing, because especially when you take a larger artistic leap, you do not know at all where you are going. Picasso said, " "I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." And John Berryman, the poet said, " You should always be trying to write a poem you are unable to write, a poem you lack the technique, the language, the courage to achieve. Otherwise you're merely imitating yourself, going nowhere, because that's always easiest."

So that is what I am in the midst of now. I have written about four songs out of William Stafford's poetry, and I have learned to play and sing these accompanying myself on guitar and banjo. I have created a vocal arrangement for "What Happens When You Get Lost". I have spoken with and gotten together with, a number of musicians who might prospectively play on the CD - a couple of singers, three banjo players, three bass players so far, three percussionists. And I have also spoken to and begun to interview three different engineers to do the recording. 

What I am learning is a lot - the singing is huge fun, the banjo playing is quite wonderful. But the recording hasn't really landed and something needs to start happening with that. I am close enough to start recording these pieces. 

And in the mean time, there is the ongoing question of making ends meet and that is not a sure thing by any means. I am at the point of deciding I will post my financial picture on the web site so that what I am doing can be more clear. There are so many issues here it is close to overwhelming. But I am getting nearer and nearer to just putting it all out there, because I am 100% serious about realizing these visions and maybe the only way that is going to happen will be if I am willing to just say it all out loud, or on the site, so everyone or anyone who is interested can make comments, suggestions, help me come up with ideas for how to get all these things done. 

Just to say this much feels like a lot, but it is a start anyway. I think the more visible and transparent all of this is, maybe the better it will get. 

This is the beginning...