“However Improbable” is a confection of ska, border polka, country, dance and brass band. The tune, written by yours madly, is a perfect example of the Mad Maggies “Hard to Describe, Easy to Love” style.
When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
-– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, stated by Sherlock Holmes
Listen to a high quality audio file on our BandCamp.
The Streets of Montreal. I had big fun filming the hood during snow storms. Each shot had to have snow falling.
The streets I wandered looking for video shots for Groove d’Hiver are specifically the streets of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (Ho-Ma) and Viauville, two neighbourhoods on the eastern side of the island of Montréal which border the St. Lawrence River.
Before the Europeans came, Iroquois inhabited the area. By the early 1800s, it was a rural village, then a working class slum, then a busy manufacturing district. By the 1980s, the manufacturing sector had shrank and the economic decline hit the area hard. There is some rebound now because of the affordability of the real estate.
All this history makes the area’s urban landscape a hodgepodge of blight and gentrification. There’s Beaux Arts architecture from its glory days, remnants of factories, blocks of condos, empty storefronts and plenty of graffiti. Alleyways thread through the backs of most streets, some rough and ignored, some family friendly and “greened”. Copper-clad church steeples are everywhere.
Johny Blood: tuba
Ray Fernandez: saxophone
Ian Luke: drums
Maggie “Mags” Martin: accordionist, composer/arranger
Mark Nemoyten: trumpet
Tim Sarter: bass
Ned Stone: trombone
Gary “GDub” Wium: guitar
In Norse mythology, under the huge tree of life, Yggdrasil, there is a well. This well is called the Well of Wyrd (Well of Urðr). Three Norns tend to Yggdrasil every day by bringing water from the well to the tree to keep it green and healthy.
These beings of time, Urðr (what was), Verðandi (what is) and Skuld (what will be) are said to spin our destinies.
I think of the “Wyrd” as the twists and turns of our lives, a weaving of experiences — some ordinary, some extraordinary. We’re all in this tapestry of life together.
Music from everywhere flows around and through us. It flows from the past to the future. In Within the Wyrd, the sounds flow from the Caribbean to the Northern realms to the west coast of California.
Our friend and musical colleague Scott died yesterday, November 26.
He was an exceptionally gifted fiddler, dedicated to the Irish/Celtic traditional music community.
We met him many years ago through our mutual friend Roxanne Oliva, who was his musical partner and, as time passed, his longtime caregiver.
The best way I can think of to honor him is by sharing his playing.
Here is a set of hornpipes and reels from the album ” 水精 Water Spirit ” which he recorded with Junji Sirota (guitar) and Robin Petrie (hammered dulcimer).
Walsh’s – The Knotted Cord – Green Groves Of Erin – The Flowers Of Redhill
Go mbeidh neart ceoil ann cibé áit a bhfuil tú anois, ár gcara.
(May there be plenty of music wherever you are now, our friend.)
The Mad Maggies have another new video. This time it’s something blue for blues waves and the blue skies ahead. Let’s dance and celebrate a little.
Enjoy our live version of the ska classic “Blue Ska” on YouTube now.
“Blue Ska” was recorded by the Cavaliers most likely in the mid-60s. The 45s I’ve seen on YouTube list J. Willacey as the writer. I can’t find much about him except that he was trained in the Alpha Boys School, a catholic educational institution in Kingston which produced some of Jamaica’s finest musicians. Willacey recorded with Lester Sterling, the Jamaican saxophonist and trumpet player best known as one of the founding members of the Skatalites.
When I first heard the tune, I loved its simple but infectious hook and its irresistible dance beat. I arranged it for us making sure we were true to the original groove and giving plenty of room for the horns to strut their stuff.
Videographer Mira Stenger caught us live at Lagunitas Beer Sanctuary. The live show audio was impressively good. Add some B-roll from our Cotati Accordion Festival show (thanks to Jeff Stafford) and other bits and I was able to edit together an authentic taste of a Mad Ms performance.
We’ve also recorded “Blue Ska” at Wally Sound and will be releasing that studio version soon.
WARNING: Contains subtle political commentary and explicit calls to action.
10 days until the USA midterm elections on November 6, 2018. We can turn the tide.
SYNOPSIS: There’s that horrible feeling when you realize that you’ve been duped by a brazen con-artist. It keeps you up at night. You know you’ve got to fix the situation. You CAN do something.
It’s three in the morning
I’m losing sleep
How did I fall for a
no good lying cheat?
There were so many warnings
I should have seen
through his gold plated charm and
lavish thieving schemes
but I strayed, yes I strayed
and was played for the fool
my careless heart made an easy mark
Far from gilded seats of power
Stars still shine, lovers meet
Sweet melodies ease our sadness
the madness is washed to the sea
It’s three in the morning
I’m wide awake
It’s time I put right my
sad, sad mistake
AVAILABLE as a single on BandCamp:
from the Mad Maggies’ 8th album “Naked Ladies”
THANKS to Sean Pete for concept consultation and new headlines footage.
THANKS to all the Mad Ms for video material:
Ray & B Fernandez
Johny Blood & Juliana
Ian Luke & MJ