Randy Granger

Randy Granger
In the Chihuahuan Desert near the Organ Mountains, New Mexico

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gathering of Nations and Thoughts About Spring Gigs

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I hope this post finds everyone well. Spring in southern New Mexico means wind and more wind. Trees are greening up and I’ve learned that Mesquite trees will always tell you when it is safe to plant your garden. I’ve been busy with a few gigs, trying to get to recording, writing and building a sound isolation booth. The TaizĂ© service I was part of was very beautiful and reflective. It still amazes me that I am playing the Hang and Native American flutes and singing in part of a ceremony. Using my music in these ways is so different that concerts or other gigs, but every day I affirm that “I perform my music in perfect ways, for wonderful people and for perfect pay.” So who am I to argue?

Next week I’ll be in Albuquerque. One gig is a good old-fashioned working type where I’m playing for the annual meeting of a national heating equipment association at a swank resort on Santa Ana Pueblo. The other is at the Gathering of Nations International Powwow. I’m honored to be a part of that and will just do what I do and maybe have some resonance leading to greater things. The Gathering of Nations is remarkable and the awe when the Grand Entry comes in is something I look forward to. I am performing on Stage-49 Saturday, April 25th at 11:20AM. Again with my Hang, such a new instrument in the midst of tradition. People ask me all the time if it is a Native American instrument or a traditional one and I have to again relay the story of its origin, where it is from, how I got mine etc., etc. Instruments were being created by the first peoples all the time and exchanged often. Innovation is nothing new but you have to take a lot of ribbing and slack-jawed questions when you are doing something completely new to people. Of course playing the Native American flute for people who are hearing or seeing it live for the first time is thrilling and an honor. I feel like an ambassador for the flute most of the time.

Being a person who suffers from Arthritis flare ups can be tiring. When it happens at the same time a bout of depression happens it can be a challenge to find any good that I am doing in the world. I’m not whining and don’t really want any sympathy. These are just the realities of my situation and I know I’m not alone in my experience. For a while this spring I’ve had times where I feel completely useless when I feel I’m not getting anywhere and am always chasing gigs and I see other players who are better at ingratiating themselves and being downright aggressive pursuing gigs, festivals and teaching workshops. I finally had a dream where my late dogs came to me and really gave me a talking to in their own way. I got their message. Battling severe depression is not like having the blues in any way. Not having insurance I rely mostly on herbal supplements. Sometimes they aren’t enough. One wonderful and caring friend and fan even asked me if I they had done something wrong because I had not been as warm and friendly. It is hard to explain that it is “me” who has the problem and finding the energy to constantly create and give means I need to shut down and recharge sometime. With Arthritis I really can’t hike or be in nature which has always been my tonic. I had to work really hard to remind myself that I need do absolutely nothing more than what I am doing right now and believe it is exactly right for me and for everyone else. Mining that level of emotion and truth can be hard a person. History is rich with examples.

In May I’ll be heading up to perform at the Zion flute and drum festival in St. George, UT. On the way I’ll do a show in Tucson with some wonderful musicians, Martin Klabunde and Stephen Cumberworth. We will present a show May 13th at a little casita called The Ranch 3742 N. Edith Boulevard, Tucson, AZ, 85718 at 7:30PM. We are going under the name “Trio Corona” and it should be fun. Martin is an excellent African drummer and Stephen a talented flutist. More info on my website or MySpace calendar. I’m always looking for more gigs so if you would like to host a house concert, a show at your community theatre or center or even your church please contact me.