Posts Tagged Don Francisco
Man’s Best Friend?
Actually, it may be 41 albums — I’m sure that have lost count. But it has been at least 40 albums in-the-making since Peruvian shaman, Don Francisco hit me on the head with his hefty medicine bundle while transferring to me the 9th Incan Rite-of-Passage (the Creator Rites).
Shortly after that, master flutemaker, John Stillwell appeared in front of me out of nowhere in the Mojave Desert and something like this:
“Hey, Man … take these two flutes. I want you to have them. Pay me — don’t pay me — it’s up to you!”
I accepted the flutes and embarked on a magnificent flute and recording journey that continues to this day.
Notes To Myself on Following the Muse
Becoming a recording artist in the middle of life has been mysterious. But even more surprising is the range of the comments that I receive on the music that I publish. (I don’t take a lot of credit for the music – most of the time, I cannot technically play what I hear in my mind’s ear).
I think that I am beginning to understand what pianist Helen Jane Long meant when she responded to a question during a radio interview about what her compositions meant. I paraphrase:
” …. I’ll let the listeners decide what the song’s meaning is. What I was thinking at the time that I wrote it might unduly influence the listener’s experience.”
So, too (in the receiving direction), the comments and interpretations that I receive seem to depend on the mood and circumstance of the listener. My Mother, for example, may have completely different (and sometimes opposite) feedback on the same song at different times.
So, over the years (for my own amusement and improvement — and with a light heart), I have attempted to categorize the type and source of feedback that I typically get after each album. I have also tried to recognize any patterns. But so far they have eluded me. Here is a sample categorization:
|Mother||“Too Frenetic, but I am your No. 1 fan!”|
|Son||“I’ll be sure to not operate any heavy machinery or drive while listening to your albums. By the way, why [when I listen] do I suddenly feel the urge to be in the nude and to wear healing crystals?”|
|Brother||“Are you ever going to get a real job, or are you just going to keep playing that ‘beaver medicine’?”|
|Sister 1||“When I try to listen to one of your albums in the [health food] store, somebody buys it. I’ve tried three times today! Will you send me a personal copy?”|
|Sister 2||“Oh, you mean you have albums out? I didn’t know that!”|
||“Whatever …. “|
|New Age Fan||“When are you going to do an album with just plain flute?”|
|Old Age Fan||“Just take the flute out of it — and it will be perfect”|
|Fellow Musicians||“Very … interesting.”|
|Law Enforcement||“Step over here, Genius”|
|My Dog||“Fantastic!. The best that I’ve ever heard! No … really!”|
The Next Album
Is it any surprise, therefore that the next project has the working title, “Let It Happen”?
‘May you walk in Beauty.’
–(a Navajo prayer)
Reflections of Q’ero Elder, Don Francisco
“You look like a strong guy, Bill. Would you mind taking Don Francisco’s despacho* materials over to his room? It’s just across the parking lot.” Before answering, I said to myself, ‘how hard could it be?’ “Sure!”
The nice lady parted a set of draperies and there were three large Rubbermaid storage containers with contents I would guess weighing about 100 lb. I set about my task, staging the containers through the parking lot individually and finally I stacked them in front of Room 104 somewhere in Park City, UT. Before knocking on the door of the Q’ero elder, whom many revere as the penultimate example of the spirituality of the lost world of the Inca, I thought that I heard some small sound from within. I knocked … quiet. I knocked again … silence.
Not to be deterred, and positive that my instincts were correct, I knocked loudly a fourth time. That did the trick! There was the soft rustling of clothing and I thought that I heard a water spigot close. Then, a faint brush at the door. “¿Quién es…? [Who is it?]” I thought to myself, ‘how should address this elder? With deference? Perhaps some sort of greeting in his native language of Quechua?’ Then I remembered the words of advice given to students and supplicants throughout time and space: “Be yourself!” So I answered, “¡Es la Policia! [It’s the Police!]”
The door knob turned slowly, and the door cracked ever so slightly. There was one brown eyeball staring intently … seriously through the crack in the door up at me. A moment of recognition on his part and the door flew open with a force that surprised me. And there he was, standing in most of his formal regalia including the multicolored ceremonial poncho coming toward me with outstretch arms. An embrace. “¡Ah, Policia! ¡Policia International! ¡Gracias, muchas gracias!”
Seven years later, Don Francisco still calls me “Policia.”
A couple of years later, Don Francisco gave a group of us The Creator Rites. It was immediately after the rites that I went home and found a place to begin recording the Native American-style flute. The musical journey continues to this day and is a constant source of healing and awe.
I saw Don Francisco this weekend last, and made the above image of him at a fire ceremony. I can’t help smiling when I see him.
* the despacho is a major ceremony of the Q’ero, during which the prayers and intentions of a person are placed symbolically in a mandala of materials that are subsequently burned or buried for the purpose of achieving ‘right-relationships’ in one’s life.