new CD coming soon!

new CD coming soon!
contact: spiesarts@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tell Me a Story

Thanks to The Mount  in Lenox, MA for great programming.
I heard five terrific storytellers there this past week-end, and went to a storytelling workshop led by Matthew Dicks that was excellent.
Speak Up in Hartford and Matthew Dicks

Today's story kernel: Ran into a woman at the chicken counter at the Big Y who asked me to help her read the price on the package. She was an older woman who thanked me warmly when I noticed that the price was hanging over the counter. We laughed about the plot to confuse us, and when I saw her about five minutes later in the dairy section, she felt like an old friend. 
Since I come from Chicago, I don't have real family nearby, and now and again I get the urge to adopt someone as my mother. This lady would be a keeper...
From a simple nugget or realization a story takes shape...

These truths get organized differently in songwriting for me. Usually I'm getting other people's stories and writing my take; it's a whole 'nother story to tell a truth about your self in the first person.

recycled propane tank makes beautiful music


                                                       Tank drum 

               The last  track on my new CD is called 'Rest Awhile,' and it features the tank drum along with Robby Baier creating a drone with bass. It's a deeply relaxing and healing journey of sound. 
I've been exploring these beautiful instruments in my work with CATA, where tones bring relaxation to people recuperating from a broken leg as well as those with Alzheimer's who find new ways to connect with others through the music.
              Last spring I created a listening game using the drum at Undermountain School in Sheffield, MA with music teacher Elizabeth Petty. Each player uses a mallet and listens before saying their part of the conversation on the drum. Loved hearing students sing my songs about the watershed and seeing their curiosity about watersheds, dragonflies and waltzing.
                People ask how the drum is made from a propane tank. Here's how:

cutting a tank drum

playing the tank drum

         Some folks have brought tank drums to first period in schools where fifteen minutes of meditation accompanied by a student playing the tank drum has increased peace in the classroom.
 Makes sense!  I wish everyone had their personal tank drum to ease the stress of the day and to have a deeper way to communicate with self and others.
        I called my first tank drum a story drum, as it lends itself to making up words and rhythms in the moment.
       There are many different places selling tank drums. Here are a few that I know and recommend:

Ithaca Tank Drum

Berkshire Gold and Silversmith





    

Thursday, October 9, 2014

FODfest October 10 in Sheffield, MA

Come to Sheffield on Friday, October 10 to honor Danny Pearl and be a part of FODfest.
 Danny played fiddle with my band a few times when he lived in the Berkshires, and was a loyal friend to many here. We honor him, his commitment to telling the truth as a journalist and his love of music as a way to connect.
I'll be at Dewey Hall @ 4:30 and many fine musicians and bands will be playing from 3pm onward.
A note from Todd Mack about FODfest:
This Friday, October 10th, on what would have been Danny's 51st birthday, Music in Common will celebrate the 10th Annual FODfest from 3PM until midnight.The recent, brutal murders of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and others are painful reminders of the hate-fueled violence that took my friend Danny's life and serve as an urgent call to band together to fight that hate and violence with tolerance, understanding, peace, and love. Together, we can raise our voices of hope and resolve above the voices of terror and fear. This Friday you have the opportunity to stand up and be counted simply by being there. I hope you will do exactly that.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Join in International Day of Peace September 21


There are many ways to raise your voice for peace on Sunday, September 21.

International Day of Peace event at Eastover
Lenox, MA
This free event at Eastover begins at noon. I'll be leading everyone in singing 'Survivor Tree,' and look forward to seeing you there:
Jane Goodall explains the significance of the Survivor Tree

Pathways to Peace

People's Climate March
NYC


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

As I Sit Down To Eat

Since May I've been working at Soultube Substation studio in Housatonic, collaborating with Robby Baier and hip-hop artist Jackson Whalen on a new CD.
Can't wait to share the first song about mindful eating. Stay tuned!

Have been reading "The end of overeating : taking control of the insatiable American appetite" by David Kessler. It's an interesting overview of how our eating habits have changed the past few decades and why.

Meanwhile, one in five children goes hungry in America.

Locally, a link to food banks:
Berkshire County MA Food Banks

An excellent national organization:
End Hunger Network

Friday, June 13, 2014

what's in a name?

since recording 'Mindfull Eating,' my grandmother's Italian name for me is sticking.

call me Giovanna.

Dolce family in Chicago 1915.
                                                    Grandma Dolce seated third from left

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Atop Mount Greylock at Bascom Lodge June 30th

Bascom Lodge atop Mount Greylock



Come join me Monday evening at Bascom Lodge  at 6:00.
Stay for dinner if you can, as the food is excellent.
I'll be sharing new songs and poems from a week there as a 'Creative Resident.'