04-13-17 Gaea Star Crystal Radio Hour #258 was taped at Singing Brook Studio with the Gaea Star Band with Mariam Massaro on vocals, dulcimer, native flute and acoustic 6- and 12-string guitars, Craig Harris on congas and balaphone and Bob Sherwood on piano and 12-string acoustic guitar. We begin with a classic of Mariam’s, the rich, dulcimer-drone-led “All Life Unfolds” which features a rare cameo from Bob on 12-string guitar and a lovely improvised lyric from Mariam on the ultimate power of self-determination. “Blessed By Our Life” is another song by Mariam, again led by her dulcimer and authoritative congas by Craig as Bob moves to the piano. “Gather Together” is a song from the “Gaea Star Crystal: Awakening The Tribes Of Light” presented here with echoes of Verdian opera in a majestic waltz tempo. Mariam picks up her acoustic Martin 12-string guitar for “We’re Calling In The Real Ones”, a song of resistance to the current regime that builds in intensity to release into a somber, lush take on Mariam’s mystical “Distant Star/This Is The Way”. “Welcome Spring” is a gorgeous ballad led by Mariam’s native flute and built on sun-drenched major seventh chords from the piano. We finish today with a sunny, folk-reggae take on Mariam’s “Pacha Mama” from the “Gaea Star Goddesses” CD.
04-06-17 Gaea Star Crystal Radio Hour #257 was taped at Singing Brook Studio on a wintry day before a large snowstorm in mid-March 2017 and features the Gaea Star Band with Mariam Massaro on vocals, harmonica, native flute and six- and 12-string acoustic guitars. Today’s first piece is the jazzy, harmonically diverse “March, Mistress Of Change”, a meditation on a winter visit to a greenhouse set to a groove that quotes the bebop jazz of John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk. “I’m Just Fine” is a gracious, gentle folk song about a 93-year-old woman and her pride in her independence, and examines the chance of human life and longevity to a swirling backing built on Mariam’s chiming 12-string guitar. “In Celebration Of Life” begins with a native backdrop to express a dream of medicine women that Mariam had during a trying Vision Quest in the forest. This reappearance of previously dreamed grandmothers inspires the lovely native chant “White Buffalo Calf Woman” which Bob invites into a form of native opera with western classical piano figures. Craig gradually brings intensity to the piece with insistent conga grooves until the climax is reached with lush native flute and an invitation to freedom. Today’s final piece is an expansion of Mariam’s song “Have You Heard the Faeries”, an expositive chapter from her “Rainbow Crystals of The Earth” story driven by her solid acoustic guitar work, gospel piano from Bob and gently propelling congas from Craig.
03-30-17 Gaea Star Crystal Radio Hour #256 was taped live at Singing Brook Studio in Worthington, Massachusetts and features evocative, visionary improvisations and songs from the Gaea Star Band- Mariam Massaro on vocals, native flute, baritone ukulele, acoustic guitar, Craig Harris on congas and balaphone and Bob Sherwood on piano. Today’s first piece is Mariam’s galloping “Ponies Running Free” a dream of ponies set free from a rolling train corral to run through the fields and hills. Driven by fierce congas from Craig and Mariam’s racing ukulele, the piece sets us free into a dream vista painted with lightning piano runs and a breathless narrative. “Tambakiya” is a slower, more mystical dream of a black panther laying on a puffy cloud. Abstract and floating, “Tambakiya” lulls like a gentle eastern wind presaging a distant storm. “Just Like That” flows seamlessly out of Mariam’s concluding flute lines and invites us to focus on creating change from within. This gently epic song moves to lush, repetitive piano figures and clever stop-and-start congas from Craig, supporting a particularly lovely vocal and lyric from Mariam. A gently melancholic key change from Bob sets the stage for a gorgeous flute solo in Mariam’s most generous key, the harmonic minor, the sound of Mediterranean Europe. An epic chorus brings the piece to its climax and gently deflates into a elegiac, gospel coda with exquisite vocal touches from Mariam. “We See Right Through You” visits blues, jazz and latin as Mariam exposes the hypocrisy of the would-be destroyers of our environment, inviting them to confront the simple truth of the Earth. “Shamai Kayheyo” visits the same harmonic and rhythmic territory of “Tambakiya”, a lush, pentatonic mode that evokes the islands of Japan and plays to Mariam’s sparse, haiku-like meditation on hummingbirds.
03-23-17 Gaea Star Crystal Radio Hour #255 we feature songs and compelling improvisations from the Gaea Star Band with Mariam Massaro on vocals, celtic harp, native flute, acoustic 6- and 12-string guitars and baritone ukulele, Craig Harris on congas and balaphone and Bob Sherwood on piano. Recorded live at Singing Brook Studio in Worthington, Massachusetts, we begin with the gently swirling and mystical “Oh The Glory Of The Morning” featuring beautiful vocals and harp from Mariam. “They’re Holding Strong” goes out to the water protectors of North Dakota and is led by Mariam’s powerful ukulele and Craig’s driving congas. This piece segues neatly into the rocking “Victory”, a visionary, psychedelic extension of the theme of devotion and support to the water protectors. “Grandmother Regina” praises the grandmother who refused to leave Standing Rock, and is a lovely, gentle, powerful folk meditation led by Mariam on acoustic guitar and effortless, narrative vocal as she tells this story of female grace and courage. Next up is an imaginative reading of Mariam’s pretty “Burning Ember” from her 2012 cd “Smooth Sailin’ Love Songs” featuring cascading, rain-like piano runs from Bob under Mariam’s yearning vocal. We then segue into today’s final piece, the psychedelic, electronically enhanced “Can I Be Your Friend Today”, built on a series of chords initiated by Mariam on ukulele and adopted into low, forceful piano figures from Bob.