Sunday, August 14, 2005
Gina Forsyth and Emma's Revolution at Takoma Park House Concert, 8-12-05
The Malvinas, who are they? My partner asks. Have we ever heard them?
No but they are coming to the Panzers House Concert, and we always love folks who play there. Plus Erik Balkey who we adore is opening. So we make a reservation to go Saturday night, August 13.
However I get an email that Emma's Revolution will be at a Takoma Park house concert on Friday night 8-12-05, with Gina Forsyth (one of the Malvinas). I go alone because my partner is just a tad too conservative. I however adore the duo Emma's Revolution, Pat Humphries and Sandy O. I wear their purple PEACE tee shirt that has short sleeves even though I know a sleeveless shirt may be cooler this REALLY hot August evening.
I enter a half hour early. I am the first guest in the Takoma Park home. The host greets me casually. These folks apparently have house concerts but they just don't know about the "house concert rules", the sacred traditions from Columbia, Rockville and some other area house concerts. They don't have a "doors open" time. If the concert starts at 8 then it starts at 8. Reservation lists? Neighbors wander in around 8 and the more the merrier. I bring candy to contribute but bringing food isn't big here - the hosts provide healthy stuff like hummus and also great home made brownies.
I see there are chairs on the periphery of the large rooms. Will they set up rows in the middle? I see I am asking another puzzling question. No, not rows of chairs. There are thick mats on the floor like those used in gym for tumbling when I was in school. These are unfolded and the kids and many limber adults sit on the floor. The host's painting are on most of the walls. Except for the wall in the middle hallway which is lined with incredible photos of many generations of family. The furniture is boxy shaped heavy dark wood. Beautiful house with great vibes.
I see the Focus Alexandria venue manager and his wife from Alexandria. They saw the Malvinas last night at Stella's (one of Steve Key's venues); I suspect though that they are here because I know they are ardent Emma's Revolution fans. However, I haven't heard the Malvinas yet.
The large adjoining rooms fill up, I think mostly with Takoma Park neigbhors, and the concert begins. When I don't know the title of a song I write down the opening line(s).
Gina Forsyth starts with an angst ridden love song, "I Crossed the Ocean once or twice…missing you" - backed up by Emma's Revolution (ER)
Gina tells us she's from LA (Lower Alabama) and now lives in New Orleans and sings "Sweet and Sunny South"
"You are Here"
She always wanted towrite a Cajun song, but when she wrote one it was about Texas - "I'm standing on a hilltop neath a Texas sky"
Then Emma's Revolution takes center stage. This is their home town audience and the love in the room for them is palpable.
Bound For Freedom is a rousing start!
Sandy O's, If They Could Count (who counts, can we count?)
Then written post 9/11 for the many undocumented World Trade Center workers killed who may not have been recorded in the names of victims, If I Give Your Name
Swimming to the Other Side (this room knows these words and sings along enthusiastically) - Read about this amazing song by clicking here.
Asked are you just preaching to the choir, will your words change anything, ER wrote the rousing song to energize the choir, Has Anybody Seen the Choir
At the break, I do meet some other folks who are not from Takoma Park - 2 women from Annapolis. And another Focus Music buddy is here (one who also will be at the Panzer's the next night.)
After the break, Gina and EM will trade songs.
The Malvinas (yes the whole group is here) sing Ordinary Blues.
And Gina sing something she calls her "cowboy muppet existential song"
ER sing a song for the Refugee and Immigrant Worker's Network and we sing along on the chorus " Women in search of safety, women of hope and courage,.. so I am a refugee"
On another note, Gina shared her Mardi Gras song and then the plaintive, "There is a land so far away…no more sad goodbyes".
I heard some of my favorites ER songs, in a room filled with their folk, and heard one of their favorite singers, Gina Forsyth and her group the Malvinas.
The Malvina's mention their inspiration, Malvina Reynolds, a feisty songwriter born in 1900 who wrote "Little Boxes". Why don't I know Malvina Reynolds name. Where have I been!
I am so grateful for the great folks in Takoma Park, for the hosts and their love of music, for some of my favorite songs from Emma's Revolution (but never enough of theirs), for great energy from Gina and the Malvinas. I also leave a bit warm (how do you cool a house with 50 or more folks in it in August in DC?). Sweet harmonies echoing in my mind. I tell my partner the Malvinas are great fun and play the coolest instruments. You are going to love tomorrow night.