Thursday, February 26, 2009

Colin O'Donohoe
Pangean Orchestra

This was taken from a viral musing over on face book. I put down some of the albums that were most formative to my own musical identity. I went back as far as age 7 for some of these. Enjoy, and feel free to comment, agree, or disagree about the quality of my choices.
This isn't my all time favorite albums, just the ones that at some point in my development really did something for me.
Take care and God Bless,
There in no particular order either -

1. John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”
2. Enigma MCMXC A.D
3. Dirty Dozen Brass Band “Medicated Magic”
4. Brooklyn Funk Essentials “In the Buzzbag”
5. U2 “Achtung Baby”
6. Sting “Ten Summoners Tales”
7. The Roots “Do you want more?”
8. Beastie Boys “Licensed to Ill”
9. Bon Jovi “Slippery When Wet”
10. Various “Judgement Night Soundtrack”
11. Various “Rogues Gallery”
12. Misirli Ahmet “Mel de Cabra”
13. Paddy Reilly “Paddy Reilly Live”
14. Makem and Clancy - “Makem and Clancy collection”
15. Bob Marley “Legend”
16. Clifford Brown “Clifford Brown and Max Roach”
17. Toumani Diabate “Djelika”
18. Sergio Mendes “Brasileiro”

19. Schumann “Concerto for Cello in A minor” some random cd in the ASU music library, don’t remember the cellist or the orchestra, but wow, few recordings shaped me more! I know that the Dvorak concerto was also on there too, but that one didn’t resonate with me.

20. Stevie Ray Vaughan “The Sky is Crying”
20a. Buena Vista Social Club “Buena Vista Social Club”
20b Pat Matheny "First Circle"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Judgement night, collaboration, special thank you's

Colin O’Donohoe
Pangean Orchestra

What’s New?
Look for my new “Special Shout out” section thanking wonderful podcasters and bloggers who play and talk about my music. I’m deeply grateful to them and hope that you can check out their sites/podcasts.

From facebook it seems that there are a lot of self reflection exercises floating around right now. Some of them have to do with either random albums that come to mind, or your favorite albums, or the ones that shaped the most either positive or negative.

It lead me to remember back in 9th grade when I listened to the album “Judgement Night” which was a soundtrack. For each track they brought one hip hop group and one hard rock group together. It was back when the grunge scene was still pretty popular. I really loved some of the music on that cd. I thought it was one of the coolest ideas I had heard. I think it was then that the seed for intercultural collaboration was planted in me.

Many years later I heard a wonderful album called “In the buzzbag” by Brooklyn funk Essentials with a Turkish group Laco Tyfa. This was the next album that really helped me in my journey towards forming my own group that could balance funk and world traditional music together.

I had always thought that I could cling to more lofty ideas about how I decided to go into music. I’m humbled by the fact that it was probably just a movie soundtrack that did it. The movie btw was one of the worst I had ever seen. I fell asleep during it and am not sure how it ends, though I don’t really care either.

Songs that I adore: Soundtrack to “Muppets from Space”

This is a seriously great collection of 70’s funk tunes. I can’t listen to this album without wanting to dance. I guarantee listening to this cd will make you smile. If you haven’t seen the movie, go rent it, it is great. Whether you have kids or not you’ll still enjoy it. Though, I think it probably is more fun watching it with some little ones around.

Special shout outs - -
I would like to take a moment to thank the following people who have featured me on their podcasts and blogs. I am very grateful that they genuinely like my music and wanted to share it with their audiences. Please take a moment to check out what they are doing -

Magical Mystical music - really great music!

Jason Tippit’s “Pod across America” - very cool, I must say!

Luver Radio - independent music, you’ll hear new stuff all the time

CHMR 93.5 FM
web link wasn’t working when I tried it.

Radio Clandestino

Music for Midnight - cool music!

New Age Stars - cool site/music

Dust my broom podcast - check it out

Jason Tippit’s Mental Nomad Podcast- He always seems to find good stuff

More shout outs to come, I promise!

Until next weeek

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Colin O’Donohoe
Pangean Orchestra

What’s New?
I’m so excited to tell you that the website for my new ensemble is finally up.
My mission with the group is to create a modern ensemble that celebrates the common bonds within all cultures through celebrating our music. I believe that if we spend more time jamming with each other and talking to each other, we’ll spend less time bombing each other.

I remember being in a mail store waiting to ship out a package during the first couple days of our war in Iraq (remember those “shock and awe” days?) The man behind me in line was talking loudly on his cell phone. I don’t remember his full conversation, but a few words that he spoke will never leave me.
“Yeah, why don’t you come over later, we’ll have a few beers and watch the bombs drop”. I felt physically ill and almost threw up in the store. I had never heard such callas indifference to human life. I thought, this is a tragedy, families, kids, are dying and Americans are going to watch it like a football game over beer and chips. I knew then I had to do something to prevent more events and thoughts like this. Now, I have this group that can hopefully begin to bridge Americans understanding of our place on the planet as well as our neighbors.

We’ll perform modern tunes, ancient songs, and everything in between.
A lot of people have expressed some skepticism towards the idea of having such diverse instruments on one stage at the same time. I know that it may take a few rehearsals to find a good balance between the instruments and players, but I know it can be achieved. I have to take a page from our President as the “eternal optimist” as he refers to himself and believe that this orchestra can have an incredible sound that blends well and doesn’t sound like a terradactyl choking on a bicycle.

When you visit the site you’ll see examples of some of the instruments featured in the group. We don’t have all of our musicians yet, so if you know anyone in Phoenix AZ that wants to join, please tell them to contact me. I tried very hard to find video’s that had good sound quality and a good video that showed you what the instrument looked like. Enjoy, and let me know what you think of the group and the site.

Songs that I adore: Schumann Cello concerto in A minor

I first heard this piece of music when I was beginning my undergraduate music studies. I fell in love with the Cello from this piece. I was so amazed at how beautiful and expressive the sound was. I had never really heard such an incredible display of artistic beauty before hearing that piece of music.

I remember sitting in a library one afternoon determined to take advantage of the recordings in the music library. I sat with the earphones on and a notebook to write down my thoughts. I don’t know why I chose that recording but I’m so glad that I did. I don’t remember the cellist unfortunately though. I do remember sitting through the Dvorak concerto first and not being excited by it (sorry).

The music just completely captivated me as I dropped my pen and listened. I couldn’t spoil the moment by analyzing it, I just had to listen. It was similar to when I heard “A Love Supreme” (John Coltrane) for the first time and realized how music could be a truly religious/spiritual experience. This is one piece of music that has really shaped me as an artist.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

work on sutra album, one million roses

Colin O’Donohoe
Pangean Orchestra

What’s new?
I’ve been writing a lot of new music lately. Much of it for my new album with the working title “Lyrical Sutra’s”. I’ve been studying a lot of the Buddhist sutra’s and trying to find away to set them to music.

I had this crazy thought that I wrote down a while ago where I said “this will not be my masterpiece” For some reason, this has really been a tremendous way to unburden myself with the project. I have been paralyzed before in trying to move forward with my musical endeavors in an effort to make them perfect. In the effort to try to make them perfect I in many times didn’t create anything.

So, now that I’ve given myself permission to just write and play, the project is speeding ahead. It has been like a flood of inspiration pouring down from above. I’ve really enjoyed getting deep into the spirit and feeling of the various sutra’s. To name a few:
Heart Sutra
Diamond Sutra
Lotus Sutra
Boddhisatva’s vow
Pure land Sutra (short version)

I’d be happy to share a work in progress if you’d like to drop me an email and I’ll send something your way.

Also, I’m so close to having the website up for the Pangean Orchestra. It was very cool spending time looking for video’s for the site. While you look at them you may agree or disagree with the choices I used. Keep in mind that I was looking for video’s that not only showed what the various instruments could do, but that were also video taped well, and showed the instrument. You wouldn’t believe some of the amazing performances that were captured by a drunk blind man on stilts!! Not Cool! I don’t want to warn visitors to “close your eyes while we show you the rebab”

I know I’m late again with the blog, please don’t shoot me. I hope I didn’t disappoint my fan(s) - (the s is optimism in its truest sense :)

Songs I adore: One Million Roses - specifically by this Korean group

I’ve never heard this song in English, and so far that’s a good thing. I’m sure we could do a cool version in English but I just like the style and melody in this arrangement and how it is set against the traditional instruments.

I also like how this very performance embodies what I love about the planet we live on today. We can share music with each other from anywhere on the planet with no consideration for natural barriers. It no longer matters how close or far away musicians are, we can now learn from each other so quickly.

Pangean Orchestra will embrace music and the instruments of the world performing arrangements ot traditional pieces as well as contemporary pieces in dazzling new ways. I can’t wait to share it with you all.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sergio Mendes, recent activities

Colin O’Donohoe
Pangean Orchestra

What’s new?
I have been very busy lately on some great projects!
First, I wrote and recorded my very first Country song that I’m very proud of. It was a lot of fun, and I like it.
Second, the website for the Pangean Orchestra should be up very soon. I’ve had a lot of fun finding cool video’s/songs to put up on it. It will be a great representation of the music and things that you’ll find when you come to a show, or watch online.
Finally, I finished another song for my upcoming album. The new album isn’t titled yet but is based on Buddhist Sutra’s.

I don’t think the whole multi-segment blog is working for me so well so I’m going to scratch it for now. I’ll still mention a song or band that I love though and write a little about it.

If you’d like to hear the country song I wrote send me an email and I’ll see what I can do.

Songs I adore: Sergio Mendes Brasileiro
I especially love the first two songs.

This album begins with an amazing array of percussion. The song then breaks into a great groove and a upbeat dance tune that will make you move, unless you are dead!
My favorite song on the album is the second one: Magalenha
There is this one part of the song where a male singer is rapping/singing very fast and rhythmical. The best part of the song occurs when the women singers come in. They come in with these very straight eighth notes that completely juxtapose what you just heard from the male singer. They then break into a unison rhythmic figure and repeat the straight eighth notes one more time. I listen to the song just for that part sometimes! It is so worth it. It’s like being a kid and watching an R rated movie in hopes to see “romance”, and when there is, it’s totally worth the boring parts you just sat through. Not that I ever did that, but I’ve heard it’s like that.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

MLK and Barack Obama

January 19 2008
Pangean Orchestra
Colin O’Donohoe

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I’m a father. Every St. Paddy’s day we listen to a lot of Irish music. Every MLK day I sit with him and show him video’s of Dr. King’s speeches. Both are enjoyable, but lead to very different conversations.

I don’t want people to think, feel, or say that the dream is realized on January 20 2008. It isn’t. It is far from realized. We take a beautiful step towards the realization, but nonetheless find many more mountains to climb after that foot is planted in the ground. Maybe we feel that Obama is the one that can lead us towards the realization, but don’t think that the game is over.

I interpret Dr. King’s dream to be one where we can go about our days with “race” being nothing to be afraid of. We shouldn’t be afraid to acknowledge our differences or similarities. How can the dream be realized when there are still many people afraid that Obama is a “secret muslim”. Can the US have a Muslim president? Gay President?(openly that is). Can we have an openly gay, muslim, right to life, woman of Mexican decent president?

Is President the only place where the dream can be realized? I feel like the entire country and its inhabitants (meaning us) have to work towards that realization.
Enjoy the festivities as I will. This is a historic event that I am so excited about. I feel that Barack Obama is an incredible man who will lead us out of this mess we are in. Just don’t let this moment allow you to disown your own responsibility towards making King’s dream a reality.

If you love his message, love humans, and think the goal/dream is worth achieving; don’t quit now. The momentum just swung in our favor, but there is still a lot of time on the clock.

ps -
Go Steelers!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pangean Orchestra
Colin O’Donohoe

I want to thank a few places that have featured me in their podcasts/websites:
Bohemio Radio

Robkast Radio

What’s New: A few weeks ago in a blog I asked about music from Afghanistan and I was fortunate enough to get a few leads. Here is one musician that I was introduced to through the splendor of youtube:
I strongly recommend taking a listen, it is prety cool stuff.
I’ve been in Paris Texas now for about a week. I’ve taken in one of their most famous cites the Eiffel Tower (with cowboy hat that is :) I was inspired while here to write a country song. Who knows, maybe I’ll record it and be able to share it with “y’all”

I’m also moving ahead as best I can with my plans to form the worlds first truly world orchestra with instruments from as many countries/continents as possible (the Antarticans have a wonderful icicle flute) As more information becomes solid I will definitely share it with ... “y’all”

Region I’m looking for this week: Biwa and other gagaku music. The Biwa is such an incredibly cool instrument. It is like the Chinese Pipa except that the musician plays the strings with a hair comb. Does anyone know a Biwa player? Anyone play it? I’d LOVE to talk to a musician of this instrument!

Region/Topic I can share: Here is a link to a Biwa video on youtube for anyone curious about what the instrument it: (just ignore the intro, it is a good video)

Songs that I adore:
Miles Davis: (Album) Kind of Blue - (Song) Blue in Green
I’m starting to forget the pieces that I’ve listed here. One song that I really love is Blue in Green. There is a radio station in Phoenix AZ called KjZZ which plays this album every night. I think they should just call themselves the “Kind of Blue” station. I know that this album is overplayed, but it still has amazing recordings on it.
My favorite track on the album is Blue in Green. The entrance of the trumpet by Miles Davis is amazing. His musicianship on this track is just heartbreaking and incredible. There really aren’t words for when a musician hits this level of mastery on his/her instrument. He transcends being a person playing an instrument and allows it to be the sound system of his soul.
I strongly recommend taking a listen to this song if you haven’t already heard it. If you have, listen again, and if you’re in Phoenix, just turn on KJZZ and I bet it is playing right now!
PS- I apologize for the sentence structure of that last sentence.
Have a great week!