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A MURDER OF RAVENS AT THE BRIGHTON FRINGE FESTIVAL May 19, 2017 top of page
Katharine Walmsley writes a review from the UK

If you were to read the programme notes of A Murder of Ravens before entering the theatre, you might decide to give it a miss. Songs and poems titled Dark Side of the Ironing Board, Strange Woman, Valley of the Shadows, Where do you go to?, What has Jesus done for me? might make you prefer to buy a glass of wine instead of a theatre ticket. Yet this is not a depressing show. To not see it would be like not going to an Edith Piaf concert, because Edith regretted nothing.

Adrienne in her deep strong strident voice portrays the fate of women, who find their lives do not tally with their expectations. Rather, they are steeped in the passions of fear, anger, innocence, helplessness, and surprise by their dehumanised destinies. Why? How? No answers. They can only show their impoverished state through song or poem.

Since I visited Portugal and was taken to hear Fado, I love Fado singing. I keep a Fado DVD in my car, turning it on to full blast when stuck in London traffic. So listening to Adrienne’s songs, one is transported to the familiarity of Fado. A Murder of Ravens should not come under the label of cabaret as is currently the case. It is the haunting cry of what, in this case, women have experienced through powerlessness. It is Fado - a Portuguese expression of song from the heart and soul.

Some claim Fado arrived with the invasion of the Iberian Peninsular by the Moors, while others claim it came from the laments of the slaves of Brazil. Overall. Fado is an expression of the human condition of the defiled, the unfulfilled. But can Adrienne Thomas be considered to be the first English Fado singer recounting the lives not of the Portuguese but that of her own countrywomen? She does not deny that she is singing in the style of Fado, but says when she lived in Portugal she was often told that she sounded like a Fado singer. The programme notes claim, A Murder of Ravens is a reworking of a show originally created and performed when Adrienne lived in the Arab quarter of Lisbon, so it may not be surprising that her work is so influenced by Fado.

Full review

DISCOVERING CHRIS MAYNARD May 16, 2017 top of page
Marston Gregory write from Seattle, USA:

Life often has unexpected turns. My wife, Hadidjah, and I were going to take the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, Washington a few weeks back to spend the weekend on that side of Puget Sound visiting our Subud brother and sister Melanie and Frederic Branchflower. Melanie and Frederic recommended during our stay we all go to see an art exhibit of Chris Maynard’s work at the new Bainbridge Art Museum (www.biartmuseum.org) which is conveniently located just beyond the ferry terminal.

Chris is a long time Subud Member from Olympia, Washington, the son of two of our area's Subud pioneers, Andrea Maynard (painter) and Bob Maynard. Both beloved members have now passed on, but one can see in Chris’s work that talent has also certainly been passed on. I was surprised since last I heard Chris was working with our state government in the fisheries dept., not an artist. Also, to be on display at an art museum is quite a privilege for any artist.

The four of us took a morning to visit this beautiful and environmentally designed new museum. Chris’s work, that uniquely uses bird feathers as his medium, was so special, I wanted to share it with the Subud world so I decided to write this short article and send links to his website (www.featherfolio.com) so members around the world can view this inspiring work. I was struck with the simplicity of the design and the understated quality of its display of natural beauty featuring birds which always seem to inspire. I have a very personal connection with birds, and years ago felt in my latihan if I was given a Native American name, it would be “Soaring Eagle”. So seeing art made about birds (many soaring) and created from feathers was indeed a moving experience. For me it was all about flight.

Many of the images display birds of many kinds crafted from feathers to show flight, though many also show them at rest. We also bought his new book: Feathers: Form and Function, which can be ordered through Amazon. We have enjoyed the book with both the brilliantly reproduced art pieces and Chris’ insight into birds and feathers. It is both a visual delight plus full of unique bird information.

{Ed. There is an excellent video to be seen on the site in the About Chris Maynard segment]

URBAN FARMING May 15, 2017 top of page
Beata Delcourt writes from Toulouse, France

I grow fresh food closer to you for a living!

Have you heard of this fascinating new wave called Urban Farming? Allow me to share a little of my experience on diving into something that might be growing near you right now! The idea behind this movement that is making cities greener and citizens healthier is to bring consumers much closer to what they find on their plate.

Why cherish this proximity?

There are many different reasons to why Urban Farming is growing so fast, so suddenly: various food scandals have recently brought people’s attention to how little we know about where our food comes from and how it is produced. Just as the organic sector has experienced a radical boost in the last ten years, urban farming is one solution to knowing how your food is produced, because not only can you see it grow next to your house, you can also take part in cultivating it! Giving sense to our food, giving sense to our societies. More importantly, urban agriculture seems to be blooming because people are literally taking action to find sustainable, economical and environmental solutions on their own scale!

It is fascinating to see how economical instability across the world has enabled very clever, spontaneous and creative projects to grow! For example, the economic and demographic decline that the city of Detroit (US) has faced since the 70s has given space for people to take action to find local solutions to sustain their basic needs: today, the citizens of Detroit have converted abandoned harbours into the world’s biggest urban farms! Not only do these farms feed thousands of people, they also provide local jobs and create new social interactions in the heart of the city!

Read the whole of Beata's compelling article here

Beata is the one in the photo holding the green balloon.

OUR SUBUD STORIES - SICA PRESENTS... May 15, 2017 top of page
From the Subud Stories team

There’s nowhere to hide!.....Our world-wide network will find you and use various and devious methods, to extract your….STORIES. The Subud Youth world-wide are on a mission to capture all your wonderful and extraordinary stories, before they are lost for ever.

The project is called Our Subud Story. YOUR stories are OUR legacy and we want to preserve that legacy for ourselves and future generations This is an official SICA World Congress project, supported by WSA and in receipt of a $500 grant from SESI awarded at Basara. The process and outcome we hope to achieve....

  • Young interviewers around the world are adding to the growing collection of stories, this may include video.
  • Our website, will be launched this year
  • A documentary will be shown at World Congress
  • You will be able to visit the Our Subud Story café at Freiburg 2017
  • We hope to print a book of selected stories.

…and here’s how you can help!

  • Say ‘Yes’ when one of our team asks to interview you
  • Better still, write your story now and email it to us at oursubudstory[at]gmail.com
  • Encourage members to interview each other
  • Send us support, love and dollars via the donation button on the website. We need them and will put them to very good use.
  • If you don’t have the dollars and want to help, you could organise a fundraising event! You can contact the team at oursubudstory[at]gmail.com

Robianto Sumohadjiwidjojo – website, Konrad Muñoz – documentary (the two in the photo), Graciana Mauritti - coordinator, Isti Jenkins – WSA & IH liaison

IMPORTANT NOTICE: ATTACHED TO THIS ARTICLE IS A WAIVER FORM. EACH PERSON INTERVIEWED OR SENDING A STORY, MUST SIGN THIS DOCUMENT WHICH THEN ALLOWS THE PROJECT TO USE IT WITH NO CONSTRAINTS. Some people may prefer to sign the waiver after reading the final edit.

BSO feast of music leaves audience satiated, satisfied May 15, 2017 top of page
Excerpts from a piece taken from the Bangor Daily News

Judy Harrison, BDN staff member writes:

One of Lucas Richman’s great strengths as Music Director of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra is his willingness to introduce concertgoers to unfamiliar works that are as well-crafted as those written by the world’s best-known composers.

The BSO closed its season Sunday at the Collins Center for the Arts with a concert called Celebrating Women that featured the works of Fanny Mendelssohn and Amy Beach, both born in the 19th century, along with a commissioned piece composed by Richman...

...Nearly every year since Richman was named conductor and music director in 2010, he has composed an original piece, often commissioned by a BSO supporter to honor family members. The Dream I Share honored the life of Betty Lupton Donahey, who died in 2014 in Blue Hill at the age of 94. Donahey dreamed of being a journalist, her daughter Roxanne Donahey of Blue Hill wrote for the program notes. The times in which she lived made it impossible for her to fulfill that dream, but she wrote poetry. Richman used the elder Donahey’s writings to create a piece that celebrated generations of women through one woman’s experience in music and her own words.

The maestro turned to his own family to portray the college student, the wife and mother and the woman in her twilight years. His mother, Helen Richman, his sister Kelly Lester and niece Jenny Lester, all of California, brought Donahey’s musings to life. A chorus of female voices helped give a universality to the work, which somehow combined the musical complexity and simplicity of Beach and Mendelssohn’s works. The audience embraced Richman’s family as if it were its own.

Richman has successfully transformed what for more than 100 years was a community orchestra into a professional one. He also has taught symphony supporters to not just tolerate but to embrace new works. Nearly every concert seems like a feast that leaves concertgoers satiated and satisfied.

From QUARRY TO SCULPTURE GARDEN May 12, 2017 top of page
Osanna Vaughn:

Many years ago now, Raymond Herber – another incredibly creative offspring of the Herber family in New Zealand – purchased a disused lime stone quarry and has gradually transformed it into a stunning sculpture park. I have had the opportunity to visit it on a couple of occasions and can highly recommend it to visitors to New Zealand. The site is about an hour and a half's drive from Christchurch, and you can get details from his sister, Renata Peek, of the ChCh Subud group.

Raymond’s story recently featured in thisNZlife, where Lucy Corry writes:

“Life could have turned out very differently for Raymond Herber. If he’d gone about things the conventional way, he’d be shackled to life in the suburbs, working a nine-to-five job and dreaming of one day being able to run away from it all. Instead, he’s living on a spectacular property tucked into north Canterbury’s Waipara Valley. Here, on a sun-drenched site between the rolling wave of the Three Deans and Mt Brown, Raymond sculpts artworks of beauty, strength, whimsy and grace...

...Raymond left school and started working as a welder, which brought him financial reward but little joy. “I really wasn’t happy doing that and I couldn’t cope with working for other people. By the time I was 19 I was working for myself.” He started doing small engineering jobs, which led to blacksmithing and working with wrought iron. In the late 1990s he was living and working out of a tiny studio in Woolston when he spotted a small newspaper ad. “I was just reading the ads and dreaming. Then I saw one for a disused limestone quarry and I thought, ‘If it’s north-facing, I’m going to buy it.’ I came up here to have a look and it was just perfect. It had everything I needed.”

Check out the full feature (including stunning photo's of Raymond's work), and enjoy this video by Rachel Hale McKenna (who also took the photo reproduced here)

PRAISE FOR GUDGEON'S RICHARD II May 12, 2017 top of page
Maya Korzybska writes:

The Life and Death of the Puppet King Richard II - Brighton Fringe Festival May 10 to 27

The show takes place in a dark atmospheric garden called the ONCA Cave on a miniature stage; Gregory Gudgeon appears as Richard II, launching into Shakespeare whilst the action is carried out by two puppets. The Reviews Hub, London/Brighton writes: "There have been more than 30 performances of Richard II since the Victorian era in Stratford-Upon-Avon alone, so to make a production that is this engaging and unique is to be highly commended... Gudgeon is as good as anyone you will see perform Richard II on stage”. Full review

Gregory and Lucas Augustine (his partner in crime) direct, perform, operate puppets, play music and stage manage the entire performance in an innovative and anarchic production, taking us through the gripping story of power and plotting with great passion and intensity. The non-human performers are made up of beautiful, hand-made puppets, wooden spoons, a garden fork and glove puppets, each with their unique flair and role to play.

Brighton and Hove News concluded that “the eponymous anti-hero is brought to life with great sensitivity by Gudgeon, and it is an original, witty and engaging take on a sometimes obscure play, it shines a light on a dark period of England's history and by doing so illuminates today's equally murky stage, leaving us to ponder on just what is waiting in the wings”.

Adrienne Thomas's A Murder of Ravens, will also show in Brighton at the Rialto Theatre, 11 Dyke Rd, from May 14 to 18, every evening at 10:30pm.

Natalie Sheppard of bjornal.co writes: "This funny and touching parade of characters and stories will entrap you with broken dreams, witchcraft, power, revenge, murder and the magic of ravens. With a voice that could draw blood, performer Adrienne Thomas, is arriving in Brighton to present to you a series of anger, disaffected, boredom and vengeful women portrayed in this one woman act."

Tranquil Awakening May 08, 2017 top of page
Details taken from noteflight.com

SICA member Thomas Johansson of Gothenburg, Sweden, is the winner of the Violet Commission Contest.

After multiple rounds of adjudication, Dr. Katrin Meidell and Dr. Elizabeth Crawford of Violet selected Tranquil Awakening, stating “when we first listened to the midi realization of Thomas Johansson’s Tranquil Awakening, we were struck by the beauty of the duet. When we later played through the piece, we were enveloped in its soundscape, and are confident in its programmability. We believe our audiences will connect with the emotional message of the piece, and that it will be gratifying for us to play, as well as captivating for the audience to hear. We simply love the work!”

Thomas writes: When I started to write the piece, I tried to create a dialogue by variating the amount of tension between the two instruments, and letting the voices switch motifs that I think led to an interesting variation in sound. This dialogue slowly became a story in two parts (or movements), which probably will have different meaning for every listener. For me the first part is about the winter slowly fading into spring, and the second part (the Allegro) is where spring is culminating. I really enjoyed writing the piece and I’m very excited to hear and see it performed by Violet. This was my first serious scoring with Noteflight, and I think the tool is very intuitive, so it was easy to create a score with a professional look with very little effort.

The Violet Ensemble will premier Tranquil Awakening in Wellington, NZ at the International Viola Congress concert on September 2, 2017! As winner, Thomas receives a $500 prize and the live performance video recording.

You can listen to the piece here

CRISIS AT ANISHA May 01, 2017 top of page
Taken from the May issue of Subud Voice

ANISHA is a small rural development project located in the remote Martalli region in South India. Although Martalli is covered by family owned farms, many of its residents lack access to adequate and healthy food. This is due, in part, to the high costs associated with chemical farming and a widespread shift to cash crops to meet these expenses.

Anisha works with small-scale farmers and landless farm workers to increase their household food security by promoting organic farming practices, encouraging the establishment of home kitchen gardens, lending them native seeds from Anisha’s seed bank, encouraging them to save money and support each other through self-help groups, and spearheading income-generating initiatives...

We have just received word from Anisha seeking immediate financial assistance. The drought is very bad in the area and farmers are at risk of their cattle dying due to lack of fodder. Many cattle have already died. Anisha is in need of money to purchase fodder to last the farmers two months and provide immediate relief.

Valli Krishnaswam, founder of Anisha, (photo) writes... "Karnataka is hit by a serious drought (http://www.ndtv.com/topic/karnataka-drought). The situation is very bad here; water scarcity and no fodder available in the region. The panchayat (regional administration) is supplying water to the villagers which is insufficient. Animal fodder we have to get from Kollegal which means that the price is very high and the farmers are not able to pay. Some already lost their cows and buffaloes or had to sell the meager animals far under price. The cattle of 30 different Sangham farmers are in critical condition and immediate relief is needed. Each farmer has an average of ten heads of livestock. If we give two tons of fodder to each farmer, they can manage for two months. One ton is Rs. 6000."

The total of $5000 needed in a sum that will be difficult to raise on such short notice. It is also likely that more cattle will die or have to be sold under price. But if we could manage to save a minimum stock of cattle for each farmer to build on later on, it would be a great relief for the farmers and Valli.

Please read the full article, with details of how to help, in Subud Voice May 2017.

WONDERS OF OUR WORLD Apr 29, 2017 top of page
Raphaella Sapir write from the UK

Greetings! As some of you know, I am the Artistic Director of PATINA, a Local (Lewes, UK) children arts charity. We organise creative event with and for the community. Our flagship is the 'Moving On Parade' - a celebration of the transition from primary to secondary school in Lewes District.

The theme this year is 'Wonders of Our World'. Each school will represent one amazing place on the planet. Leading up to the Parade (7.7.17), we do different projects related to the theme, one of which is sending our logo far and wide and asking people to print it out and take a photo with a good background that is clearly not Lewes UK.

So, I'm attaching the LOGO here, in case you are up for helping us do that! Feel free to forward to your own people from all over! I can email it to you directly upon request. Anyone in NY? Anyone passing the Taj Mahal? Hawaii? Pyramids in Egypt? Or in Mexico? Sydney Opera house please? Madagascar?!? The Artic? Tibet? China? you get the idea.

You can email me the photo (raphaellasapir@yahoo.co.uk) or whatsapp me (+447787726069) or put it on FB & tag me to get my attention, so i can share it on the Patina page. The photo shows an example of the one I got yesterday from a mate who went to Pisa.

Thank you, thank you, Wonderful People!