rekindling the folkie in me

Hi.Currently in week two of holidays; sitting at Townsville Airport en route with Dale to Cairns. Recently, via Apple Music, I downloaded Peter, Paul and Mary – the Prague Sessions. Orchestra dubbed in later, but it’s a delightful and representative collection of the trio’s songs, recorded not long before Mary Traver’s death in 2009. Just finished listing to it!

Amazon link

I’m more and more reminded that much as I love the anthemic, lyrical rock of Coldplay, the earnestness of Springsteenand the tunefulness of the likes of Billy Joel, among others … at heart when it comes to musical taste, I clearly lean towards folk music. My love of John Denver’s music in times past, the folkier side of James Taylor and Emmylou Harris and the collection of worship songs currently “in formation” with my own worship song album (due for release in February) – they all draw out the folkie in me.

I continue to love songs which are genuinely singable (too many in recent times aren’t), employ great harmonies, are memorable, and more than anything actually say something – and do so evocatively and unambiguously. Surely that’s so central to folk music.

I guess that’s why this mid 2000s P,P&M album proved so enjoyable. Yes, I’ve heard most of the songs countless times before, but they are as fresh as ever …

The anti-discrimation/bullying sentiment of Don’t Laugh at Me

The lament of Where have all the flowers gone! and Jesus on the Wire

The patriotism of Woodie Guthrie’s This land is your land

The “Coming together” of Day is Done and Light One Candle

The “childlikeness”of Puff, the Magic Dragon.

Nothing beats good music, and to a greying folkie like me, this Peter, Paul and Mary album so hit this spot on one sunny spring Queensland morning.

Cheers – David

New Zealand 2016 – post #2

Our fifth day in/around Taupo on NZ’s North Island is drawing to a close. The past two days have been especially enjoyable; first of all by a prevalence of sunshine. It makes such a difference.

Monday morning we woke up to a much clearer view across the lake to the distant mountains of Tongariro National Park, which we’re just back from. I’ll get to that.


Taking advantage of the sunshine, we booked into a 90 minute Lake Taupo cruise. We almost had the cruise boat to ourselves; just 6 others. Gorgeous weather. Cruise highlight: checking out the contemporary Maori rock carvings (think 1980s) at Mine Bay. Here’s a link. Here are some nice pics:


It really was such a nice cruise, with coffee and freshly cooked blueberry muffins to top it off. 

Some down time after we’re back and mid-afternoon, via Huka Falls we’re off to the Mitai Maori Village in Rotorua- just over an hour’s drive north. Huka Falls is right near the source of NZ’s longest river, the Waikato. The surging of water through a narrowed passageway creates one incredible, mightily impressive surge of water. Huka Falls claims to be one of NZ’s prime tourist attractions. Sorry, we gave the jet boat ride a missūüôā


Mitai Maori Village in Rotorua was worth it! Good blend of Maori culture on show (especially dance and music, haka included), sumptuous hangi meal, tasty desserts and nighttime guided forest walks. Not overly commercialised and believe it or not – no gift shop at the end! 


That was yesterday. Driving home, I stayed awake enjoying Joan Baez’ 75th birthday concert via Apple CarPlay – great guest artists with her including Emmylou Harris, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Indigo Girls and heaps more.

Today, enjoying another sunny morning we drove the 90 minutes south to Tongariro National Park, with its three active (or at least dormant) volcanoes of Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu – North Island’s tallest mountain. One of these acted as Mt Doom in Lord of the Rings. This is definitely Rings country! These volcanoes are ever present, seemingly whichever way you look or drive, impressive indeed. Tom, Diana and I took the “easy” 6 km walk of the Taranaki Falls Track. No regrets, as I passed through or by open alpine fields, subtropical rain forest, the falls themselves and fast-flowing Mountain streams. I will remember this walk for a long time.


Before heading back to Taupo we all enjoyed a high tea in the amazing Chateau Tongariro – this huge old-fashioned British-in-style hotel in the “middle of nowhere”.


Views from our seating there, aided by the cheese platter before  hand were stunning indeed.


Wonderful couple of days, wonderful sights and experiences , and wonderful spending this time with Diana and Tom.

Until next posting.

Blessings – David

New Zealand 2016 – post #1

Hi. Close on three days in NZ, North Island. 

After flight delays, Dale and I finally make it around 1.30 am to the Heartland Hotel, Auckland Airport – finally meeting up with Dake’s sister Diana and husband Tom – they had arrive from the States two days earlier. It will be great to spend the next 2 1/2 weeks with them in NZ, home in Brisbane and in Cairns for four nights.

With just enough sleep, and after picking up our rented Hyundai Tucson, and with overcoast skies we head east (?) to the Coromandel Peninsula, looking forward to checking out picturesque Cathedral Cove. Well, the 80 minutes round trip walk tested my fitness – sharply inclined walking track and all, but glad I made it there. Just like in the travel pages





Cathedral Cove done, and we’re off to our destination, Taupo – on the northern shores of Lake Taupo, largest natural lake in the Southern Hemisphere, so the say. After fish and chips at Tarua mid-afternoon, Tom drove much of the way to Taupo, getting in at 7.30 to our Lakeside Villas base camp for the next week. A trip to the Countdown supermarket (think NZ Woolworths) for basics, and I join Tom, him fully versed in the peculiarities of American Football, in us watching the enthralling Broncos v. cowboys rugby league semi final. A fun experience explaining rugby league/rugby union differences as they game went on. Glad we have Skyports on our NZ TV here. Sadly, a gallant Broncos loss in extra time.
Saturday turns out a quiet day. The weather is on the miserable side, so we have breakfast at Taupo McDonald’s (only Maccas in world where you can eat above ground in a converted DC3!) apart from light shopping, we take it easy for the rest of the day. Well- apart from a wonderful roast lamb and veges dinner cooked by Dale, that is. It was so good! Nex Zealand lamb – yes 


Today – Sunday , we accompany Diana and Tom to the local Roman Catholic church for Mass. Huge building, large congregation, relaxed-accessible liturgy, lots of child-leadership, good music and great leadership by the priest. 

After morning tea (just got to use my Coffee Club VIP Card!), and under uncertain skies, we head to just out of town to a thermal area called Craters of the Moon – a must see/do if in Taupo. Plenty of steam spewing out of the ground as one passes by on a well-constructed Boardwalk.


Late afternoon, the sky clearing somewhat, Dale and I walk across the road to see if the mountains of Tongariro National Park can be seen in the distance. No luck, but nice to see the lake in sunnier circumstances. 


Cheers,

David

A Child, a Woman and a Man – poignant Brian Wren lyrics, my new setting

Hi.mother_teresa_0820

Yesterday in preparing for coming Sunday’s worship and its Interfaith September focus, I came across these most powerful and poignant words by iconic contemporary hymn writer – Brian Wren. The song:¬†A Child, a Woman and a Man. ¬† As I wrestle with the discipleship implications of hospitality with other faiths, the ever-present refugee/asylum-seeker issue, Christ’s call via Matthew 25 to attend to the hungry, naked and homeless … as Mother Teresa was “sainted” by the Roman Catholic Church, a new melody came to me. ¬†It does use a common chord sequence. ¬†So what! ¬†It works for me in this song. ¬†See what you think. ¬†Eventually I’ll arrange a vocal track – not sure when – busy times. Anyhow, after this song, the way I engage the dispossessed or discarded people of this earth might never be quite the same.

David

score  mp3 backing demo

Continue reading ‘A Child, a Woman and a Man – poignant Brian Wren lyrics, my new setting’

O for a thousand tongues … grace in the unexpected

OForAThousandTonguesToSingYesterday was a memorable one for me, culminating in a pre-arranged medical procedure at the nearby hospital. That didn’t begin until 7.30 pm, having “checked in” at 11.30 am. ¬†Waiting has never been my strongpoint. However, as memories recede, one hopefully won’t. ¬†I’m in theatre. The procedure is about to begin, medical people in their dark blue scrubs, facemarks etc all around me, I’m wired and tubed up all over the place, and someone (having discovered I’m a UCA minister and also musical) asks me what my favourite hymn is. ¬†All a bit surreal, me knowing that any time I’ll be given a general anaesthetic that will put me to sleep.

Now; I have lots of favourite hymns. ¬†Those who know me well know my worship song tastes are broad and eclectic. My charles wesleyfavourite hymn (or one of them)? ¬†Charles Wesley’s¬†O for a thousand tongues,¬†originally 14 verses long, usually sung over about six verses these days.

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great¬†Redeemer’s praise!
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

I remember being affected to the core Рexhilarated as I sang it with hundreds of others at Sydney Town Hall in 1994, with pipe organ accompaniment, at the opening of a national Uniting Church Assembly.  I remember recounting this at the conclusion of my 2007 Masters thesis.  It is such a great hymn!   Some worship songs do that to you.

Why am I telling you all this? ¬†Well, hospital procedure about to begin, no sooner have I suggested this hymn as my favourite, one … maybe two medicos around me start singing … yes …¬†O for a thousand tongues. ¬†How amazing! What a gift!

And that’s all I remember. Some time later, I wake up in the recovery area. ¬† The sounds and song of this act of grace still ringing in the grogginess of my being. ¬† Yes, the triumphs of God’s grace. ¬†And what an act of grace.

Thank you hospital persons. ¬†Wesley’s classic hymn continues to bless … through people just like you.

David


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