Interrupting Your Regularly Scheduled Travelogue…

My Bandcamp subscription is now active!

(Not an April Fool’s joke, I promise). I decided to stop waiting on a video to post (I’ll add one later instead) and just get it out there.

So wander over to Bandcamp and check it out. This month’s offering is a song titled Breathe. I got brave and asked to debut it at the Norwescon dance. The response was overwhelmingly positive and its not 100% finished yet. People wanted a copy as it is, right now.

I thought briefly about releasing it as a single, but if it is that well liked, than I expect it will probably by one of the songs that sells the album, so I compromised. This is a way to hear it now, as it is, before I tinker with it any further, and a fair bit ahead of the album release (Watch for The Solo Project).

If you weren’t there to hear it, it’s different than my usual fare, fairly significantly. Think mermaid trance with a slight nod to Enigma. Subscribers also get everything I’ve released so far on Bandcamp. If you don’t already own my other albums, subscribing for one month is a great deal for you, two months equals what I would normally make from digital album sales, and anything beyond continues to gain you all new releases, and helps me fund production of those releases.

I will be offering a subscriber only release every month (and I have about a year’s worth of quality backlog built up, so you don’t have to worry about me becoming too busy to make something to share.

Much love whether or not you can afford to subscribe. The music will still find a way to flow.

Ostara in Tokyo, Japan

Ostara (The spring equinox) dawned grey and wet. Not that that deterred long time Puget Sound residents like us, who have traffic problems when the sun actually comes out because everyone is so busy gawking. First stop?

Before reaching the temple you walk through this lovely open air market. We went through before 10am so not everything was open yet but between that and the rain while I didn’t get many photos, we also weren’t super crowded. I kept getting confused about whether this was a Temple or a Shrine, because Tori gates mean shrines. The answer is that the temple shares the grounds with the Asakusa Shrine. (Temples are Buddhist and shrines are Shinto religion, but they often keep company in Japan)

The proper way to show respect if there is a place of water with ladles is to pour water on your left hand, washing it. Switch hands and pour water on your right. Then pour water in your cupped hand and rinse your mouth before lifting the ladle straight up so the water runs down the handle rinsing it off before setting it back.

I saw it as both practical and respectful. Having the opportunity to clean my hand was one I found myself appreciating, especially as many shrine and temple paths are lined with food vendors selling tempting things on sticks.

There is also a wafting of incense smoke, and one can buy incense to light and add to the bowl to carry a prayer. Some places have candles to buy and light (some pre-purposed, some blank). There are fortunes (if you get a bad one you tie it up to change your luck), and lucky charms. Those I found varied with the focus of the shrine or temple. Some focused on health, others learning, or safety. There was some overlap, but you couldn’t, say, buy a charm to pass exams at the Inari Shrine. If a charm is in a bag you never open it, and after it has worn out you can return it to where it came from to be properly burned and get another. You wear them outside rather then kept safe in a bag, and the wear they get is good. It means they are taking the bad instead of you.

To people who don’t even believe in the power of belief, I suppose it could be seen as a way to part people from their money, but most of these places have no entrance fee to visit. As beautiful as they are, they must take work to maintain. Wood and bamboo age easily, moss needs to stay wet, gardens carefully shaped and tended. I tried to get a little something at each place that stole a piece of my heart to say thank you. And if you do believe? I bought only those charms that made my hands tingle, or in one case felt like picking up lightning. And only once did I truly buy for myself. It seemed better somehow holding something I could feel was real, to not keep it for myself but to gift it to someone who needed it more than I. Even the Ofuda (house charm) I thought I bought for myself at Mt. Inari let me know quite soon that it was meant for another. Who am I to argue with a Fox spirit?

Japanese Peach Beverages Are Magic (my first day in Japan)

Going through SeaTac inspection was the most amazingly painless experience flying I’ve ever had. Shoes? Stayed on. Liquids and electronics? Left in the bag please and thank you. This seemed to be true for everyone I could see that day. I lost my ticket between my last trip to the bathroom and the plane but they let me on anyway while keeping an eye out for anyone trying to use my ticket (it was fine, thankfully).

The flight itself was long (nonstop on ANA), but they served us two meals and I discovered if I wasn’t trying to sleep or just watch movies, but actually spent the time working on one of the projects known for sucking hours from me in a blink of an eye, that it felt like a quite short flight really. Possibly the fact that I still felt full when the second meal was served may have helped with that. I do like a good curry for dinner!

The actual passing through immigration was painless, the waiting to pass through immigration took like an hour to an hour and a half of switch back lines. Paul and I had been switching off wheeling the carryon and I was so tired I forgot I had it with me when I went to the bathroom. Didn’t remember for a good… 15-20 minutes, started to panic, went and looked, and it was still there. Practically anywhere else I’ve been that would not have been the case (though it might well have been turned in to an attendant). Luggage and rail tickets in hand we headed off to Tokyo. By then it was dark, so there really wasn’t anything to see on the rail to the city (for the bits that were above ground).

The hotel was near Namco (there were statues, I kept forgetting to get photos.) a short walk from Asakusa station. We stopped into the convenience store across the street (that word actually means what you think it means there) and I discovered the existence of peach coke. Nectar of the gods comes to mind as a descriptor. Paul took to calling the look on my face a peachgasim every time I tried a new peach drink. They were just that good. I have been informed that the USA is allowing me to have nice things in the form of peach coke here. I await my first sampling with dubious optimism. For some reason they always seem to feel the need to alter perfect recipes into less perfect ones, but I can hope they won’t butcher the sheer perfection I tasted.

I wanted to fill my suitcase, but Kit Kats were lighter, so I went with the kit kat scavenger hunt instead. (So many kit kats. So many kit kats.) There were probably at least 20 kinds I didn’t come home with, and close to that many kinds that I did bring back to try.

Norwescon!

Celtic Knot ©2018 Shanti SingletonI apologize for not updating, life got crazy busy. On the happy side of things…

I have a show at Norwescon! Look for Leannan Sidhe at 2pm on Saturday. We’ll be performing some of the songs from the upcoming album, as well as some fan favorites. 🙂

Ah, yes, you heard that right. I’m working on my new album Bright and Broken. (Technically, I’m sort of working on two at the same time. There will be a lot of cross-over in songs but the style? I’m doing fun things with the music that most of you haven’t heard from me before!)

There’s no release date set yet, I won’t be putting one out until I’m confident I’ll make it on time. There is however a way to get a sneak peak at The Solo Project coming down the pipeline much sooner. 

Blessed Be all, and I hope to see you at Con!

Happy Solstice!

Copyright 2017 Shanti Singleton

Called to the Labyrinth

“May you raise your eyes and know with every step;
We are not alone!

We are come to the labyrinth tonight
Walking one by one
In the dark of Samhain
A riddle burning bright
And candles waving down”
-Sj Tucker

As we approach the day when the veil between worlds is thinnest, I have been called to provide labyrinths in some of the inbetween places for those who wish to walk them. In some traditions, Samhain and not the end of Decmber would mark the end of the year, and I find that personally the symbology of that feels right. What better time to end a year than on a day meant for the dead, the spirits, and the uncanny things?

In light of that, for as long as it lasts, there is a labyrinth on the beach at Evergreen State College, and as of last night, one on the beach at Carkeek at well.

The Carkeek Labyrinth was finished as the sun fell below the horizon, and Alexander James Adams started his concert on concert window.  So naturally, I pulled the concert up on my phone, set it in the center of the labyrinth under the moon, and let him serenade me as I walked the labyrinth.  (Barring magically streaming live concerts, I strongly recommend playing S.J. Tucker’s “Come to the Labyrinth”).  I was joined by a couple of good friends and was delighted by the random people on the beach who thanked me for making a labyrinth.  (And by the little kid who did not want to stop walking it!)

If you’re in the area, come join us at Golden Gardens on Wednesday, Nov. 1st to welcome the new year with a labyrinth there.  If you bring clean dry firewood we can try to snag a fire pit and build a bonfire.  We’ll get started around 4:30 or so, and if there’s enough people I’ll try laying out one with wider paths so its easier for multiple people to walk at once. 

If you’ve never walked a labyrinth before, it is a profoundly beautiful way to meditate and find your center, as it mimics the way life’s journey will circle around taking you past places you’ve walked before.

Be good to each other, and remember those who have gone before in the long dark night.

The Show Must Go On (or what is the definition of being a pro in sho biz anyway?)

My first concert with Funkengroove was an Entertaining Rollercoaster. Despite that I was utterly proud to be part of a group that with only three two hour rehearsals covering a lot of materiel and seemingly everything that could go wrong, managed to convince the audience we knew what we were doing. 

Some people say being a professional is about when you start getting paid consistently to do what you love. They’re not wrong. Some say it’s when you can start paying your bills with your hobby, or have released your first album (or put on your first art show, etc). Also not a bad definition. 

Others say it’s when you’ve walked out on stage enough times, spent enough hours performing that you know the ins and outs of what can go wrong and you don’t let it get to you. Also true. And by that definition I was proud to be part of a group that kept the audience entertained despite being the wrong band for the event. 

A number of us were sick (I’ve been mostly asleep the last several days, hence the lack of entries) but the audience never knew. We lost lead members who dropped the class and found out right before the concert, forcing us to take up parts we hadn’t learned or practiced. The audience had no idea. Any band drama (it’s a large band, of course there’s drama) stayed strictly offstage and the audience had no clue. 

We improvised adding lyrics to what was going to be an instrumental piece (because the singers hadn’t had a chance to practice and didn’t have lyrics). On stage. Mid performance. The audience loved it and had no clue. 

Our body language showed that we wanted to be there, that we were relaxed and having fun and we pulled the audience in with that to share in the fun. 

To me, more than anything, that is the definition of being a professional. Of having the show go on so smoothly that the audience doesn’t notice or can be persuaded to ignore or forgive and technical mishaps and leave remembering they had a great time watching a good show. 

Last night, despite being students all, I felt like I was working with a bunch of professionals and it was awesome. If that was a bad night, I’m really looking forward to one of the good ones!

Album progress is progressing.

Another song rough recorded in GarageBand! Getting the easy ones out of the way so that my musicians have a basis to start learning from.  As a bonus, those versions will also start going out to subscribers as soon as I go live. In some cases, this may be wildly different from what you’re used to hearing from me.  There are a few that would make good club mixes (though, this last one doesn’t seem to want anything but simplicity).

I generally don’t bother trying to program in cello though, I’m just too picky about how that sounds.  🙂

Embarking on an adventure with Funkingroove

My apologies for the lateness of this post. I stayed up most of the night recording one of my new songs and forgot to write anything. Sometimes the creative brain just takes over!

I’m excited to share that I made it into Funkengroove at the college… and our first performance is a week from Friday. One rehearsal down, two to go, of mostly music that’s new to me.  One was familiar though, and I get a bit more of a lead role there.  Luckily most of the band is returning from previous quarters and the rest are just good, so only having about a week isn’t utterly nerve wracking!

Equally fun, more art, some for a Super Secret Project that you’ll hear more about eventually, and one of the songs I wrote last month has been recorded in GarageBand and I’m pretty happy with it.  It’ll be one of the songs to go out to subscribers once I get my bandcamp subscription set up (and after I work out how I want to sing the part of a magic mirror.  Because harmonies win all the things.)

I am going to be working hard this month, so my posts are likely to run short, but I’ll try to stay on top of giving you something new to read as regularly as I can. 🙂

Thank You Greenwood!


I have returned safe from the yearly grand adventure to Ye Merrie Greenwood Renaissance Faire! We departed in Dara’s Raptor around noon, and I played the role of navigator when needed, and otherwise amused myself by playing with my new toy. (I really like finally having an iPad of my own…)

We got in decently before dark and found a place in tent city next to both Faire security and the skate park. We were less enthused about the skate park, but I hung the tapestry blankets I brought on the fence and gained us a bit more privacy that way. We made the usual round of hello’s and checked in with Royal Magick, took a walk and called it a night. Of course neither Dara nor I were actually tired so sleep was a bit scarce. I stayed up late drawing on the iPad until I started nodding off.

Saturday morning dawned bright, clear, and in all ways perfect as far as the weather was concerned. We ran three different sets, mostly Trad. for the first set, sea songs and shanties for the second, and fairie tales for the third. Generally I’m happy with how the shows went, except that I ought to have built the sea set differently. It went from high energy to laments to high energy, and while there were people who liked both styles they were not the same people, which meant the audience would abruptly change when we did.

Still, we managed to lure over a vendor or two, the occasional other musician, and even my brother, as well as several bright-eyed faire goers. A small girl decided we needed to be tipped in goldfish crackers while we were performing, and was pretty adorable about making sure we ate.


Amusing points during the trip include strange green and white candy that looked like a peppermint and tasted like… lime creamsicle? There was boy at the skatepark who screamed that I was an alien and terrifying… and then did the same to Dara who explained why we were dressed up and about the Faire. He seemed to be having fun being scared of the aliens so I found the whole thing entertaining. Last of all, coming home we saw a car with what at first looked like a very tall T pole sticking out of the top and we were utterly baffled. Finally Dara brought our car close enough that we could make out the T bar was actually a disc on top and that it was a short wave radio antenna. 

Less amusing points include both of my thermarests/air mattresses spontaneously deciding to leak, and the seam sealant on my tent coming completely off (forcing some emergency sewing back on of tent parts). No rain so the latter wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but I’m not quite sure what caused it.

A huge thank you to Marjorie and the staff of Faire for having us and for doing their best to make sure we were taken care of. As always it has been a pleasure, and I’m already looking forward to next year!

Blessed Mabon!

As we welcome the Autumn Equinox, so too may we welcome balance into our lives. 

I am on my way to perform at the Ye Merrie Greenwood Renaissance Faire this weekend with Dara in Eastern Washington. If you’re in the area, stop by and say hi!

In other news I finally have my very own iPad and can now make music again in GarageBand. (I ran into serious space issues). In celebration, I’m sharing a digital picture I made to test the Apple Pencil.  (So much easier than a mouse. Loving it.)

Art ©2017 Leannan Sidhe

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My apologies for the lack of posts this week. Between prepping for Ye Merrie Greenwood Renaissance Faire (happening this weeekend) and a migraine I haven’t had the focus to write much. I do have things to write about though, so I’ll try for a decent post Friday.