Not A Crash Landing

Carmela Tal Baron

Carmela Tal Baron presents "Not A Crash Landing", a garland of songs for all who crave an uplifting ride and a soft landing, a poetic blend of blues, folk, jazz and spoken words that elevates and transforms.

This album was conceptualized and produced by Carmela Tal Baron, who also created the visual design and is the composer and vocalist of some of the songs. The songs in this album were musically arranged by Mark A Berman, who wrote the lyrics and music for some of them and coached the vocalists. The songs were selected from among a largest harvest of recent recordings, including songs that resonate with "Not A Crash Landing", to be featured in the soon-to-be released "A Girl with A Curl".

Following are the names of the songs and of the artists whose contribution has enabled a soft landing for "Not A Crash Landing": 1. "Saturday morning (Spring 72)" - Poem, music, vocals and translation: Carmela Tal Baron. 2. "Not a crash landing" - Poem: David Avidan. Translation: Miron Baron. Reading: Daralyn Jay. 3. "Not a crash landing" - Poem: David Avidan. Music: Carmela Tal Baron. Vocals: Daralyn Jay. 4. "It must be summer" - Lyrics and music: Carmela Tal Baron. Vocals: Margaret Humphreys. 5. "Something is always missing" - Lyrics and music: Carmela Tal Baron. Vocals: Margaret Humphreys. 6. "The collector (Don't leave me)" - Lyrics and music: Mark A Berman. Vocals: Margaret Humphreys. 7. "Awakening" - Lyrics and vocals: Carmela Tal Baron. 8. "Make believe it's just for now" - Lyrics and music: Diana (Gitesha) Hernandez. Vocals: Daralyn Jay. 9. "South-side beat" - Lyrics and music: Celeste Macbeth Dubois. Vocals: Daralyn Jay. 10."Good-bye yellow sunshine" - Lyrics and music: Mark A Berman. Vocals: Margaret Humphreys. 11."Wild is the wind" - Lyrics and music: Dimitri Tiomkin / Ned Washington. Vocals: Carmela Tal Baron 12."What a wonderful world" - Lyrics and music: George David Weiss / Bob Thiele. Vocals: Carmela Tal Baron

Musical accompaniment: John DiMartino (piano; all songs except 7, 11 & 12), Mark A Berman (piano; songs 7, 11 & 12), Lisa Parrott (saxophone), John Arrucci (percussion).

"Saturday Morning", the opening song in this album (poem, music and vocals by Carmela Tal Baron), was chosen by Bob Sherman, producer and host of the famed folk music radio show "Woody's Children" (Public Radio - Fordham University), to open its spring-inaugurating program, "Odds and Ends" (WFUV 90.7 FM, 3/28/2010).

Carmela's note on the birth and evolution of this album:

It was a windy late September afternoon, when I went downtown Manhattan to visit an old friend and a most inspiring poetess from Israel, Dahlia Ravikovitch. Chelsea in the fall was a place she liked to take refuge in. Strange that out of all the people I know, she, who often sleeps into noon time, was the one to wake me up from a nightmarish sleep, on 9/11/2001, after the fall of the first twin tower. "Turn the TV on", she said, her voice so clear on the phone. I turned on the TV and opened the window. Traces of unfamiliar scent were in the air, and a tail of smoke was hanging low. New York has changed forever, but "The Chelsea Hotel", a Leonard Cohen song, was playing softly "as usual", as I walked into the hotel elevator holding a bunch of books that Dahlia had asked me to bring along. She had in mind to create a poetry reading in memory of the avant-garde Hebrew poet David Avidan. It was profound for me to listen to her choices, as we recited for one another poems from different periods in his evolutionary life. Dahlia was in favor of some poems, in particular, "Not A Crash Landing". This enigmatic early poem sounded soundly very timely. It was a few days after 9/11, and Manhattan was still under a surreal spell, lingering after that "crash landing". Slowly transforming despair into resilience, inspired by our meeting, I felt compelled to breathe a tune into the poem. Before the night was over, a new song was born.

When I performed this Hebrew poem-into-song-into-dance for the first time in the East Village, for Dahlia and friends, the rhythm, helped along by rattles, was fast and fiery. It was pleasing to observe the effect of sound-into-motion. Some of the host's friends were singing and dancing to my newly composed "Not A Crash Landing". It was surprising to see how catchy the tune was, even though the emotional landscape was that of poetic discontent. It was October 7th, the day the war in Afghanistan began. Ambivalence and wonder were in the air, as 2001 was rolling into winter.

After my art exhibit, performance and presentation on interdisciplinary art at the cultural center Makor in 2004, I felt the desire to record the English version of "Not A Crash Landing" and other bilingual poems-into-songs. The recording studio of Haim Cotton, a classical and jazz pianist and recording artist, was a good place for such an experiment. Haim's bilingual skills greatly enhanced my creative journey from poetry into song, from tongue to tongue. The end product, "A Strange Heavenly Light" (three poets and three poems-into-songs, a bridge between Hebrew and English), is a 28-minute-long CD, a window in time for English-speaking listeners, to taste the sound of Hebrew poetry, even for those not familiar with this ancient-modern tongue. "A Strange Heavenly Light" is a line from "Not A Crash Landing), translated by Miron Baron. Mark A Berman, who transcribed most of my songs, had a crash on "Not A Crash Landing". He suggested to give the song an American dress and to include it in a collection of songs under this title. His coaching of Daralyn Jay, Margaret Humphreys, and me, grouping us for "Not A Crash Landing", proved rewarding.

Concern about climate changes is expressed in "It Must Be Summer", the song I wrote in late May 2006. Margaret's voice brought the song to new heights. As a songwriter, I enjoy listening to other singers performing my songs. I, too, like to sing other songwriters' songs, as evident from "Wild is the Wind" and "What a Wonderful World", the closing songs of "Not A Crash Landing". The title sounded timely in the early 1960s, when the Hebrew poem was written, just as it did in 2009.

"Something is Always Missing", my poem turned into a song, was included in my first album, "Rainbow Ride", released in 2002, the Year of the Horse. A story I heard from a woman who survived 9/11 adds a special dimension to this song. And so the story goes. While on a top floor of the World Trade Center, preparing for a presentation, she realized that something was missing. It was the DVD she was planning to share. Since she thought she had left it in her car, she went downstairs to look for it. When she reached her car, she recalled that the DVD was actually upstairs. Then she looked up and saw that the first tower was missing. In times of great changes, it is important to listen to small voices of intuition. I feel grateful for my intuition that guided me to ask Margaret to offer her vocal interpretation for this song. I have the same sentiment for her rendering of "The Collector" (Don't Leave Me), Mark's song about a collector who lived happily surrounded by his collection, always missing the true love of his beloved, which cannot be bought and made into a part of his art collection.

Celeste's song "South Side Beat" delivers a poetic, psychological flight to fight "white slavery" within families living in the old south. Daralyn delivers this message with a deeply felt emotional interpretation and a range of vocal skills. Her adaptation of Diana (Gitesha)'s "Make Believe It's Just for Now" balances the lament coming from the south with a song about the ambivalence of lovers on the go in Manhattan.

Mark Berman' song "Goodbye Yellow Sunshine" is a personal lament teasing the listener with an uplifting melody and rhythm. Margaret's vocal rendering might resonate with all those whose experience of earthly delights is now threatened by the uncertainty of survival. "Heaven is Waiting", which closes this lament, can also be interpreted as India, Hong Kong and other emerging places offering potential prosperity to the many would-be global citizens.

The crop of our prolific recording sessions, from summer into winter 2008, offered more timely songs resonating with the theme of "Not A Crash Landing". But since the songs were too numerous to be included in one album, I asked Mark to select his favorites. He selected 12 songs. His selection opens with a salute to Hebrew poetry, presenting itself with a new musical outfit. Mark has transcribed most of the songs I sing: standards, my songs in English, and my Hebrew songs, which he rendered precisely without speaking this tongue. The poem-into-song selected to open this CD is also the opening poem in my Hebrew poetry book "Morning Offering" ("Boker Matana", in Hebrew). It was composed while I was an artist-in-residence in Mishkenot Sha'ananim guesthouse and cultural center in Jerusalem. This 19th century building, its unique architecture reflecting the walls of the Old City of David, has a lot of stories to tell, as the first Jewish building erected outside the Old City. Artists, writers, scientists and scholars have graced this place since the late 1960s, when the border with Jordan was altered. The building overlooks Gay Ben Hinom (valley of hell, in English), a beatiful valley known not only as a hiker's heaven-like delight, but also an old graveyard, with tales of hell to tell dating back to biblical times. I have known this valley since 1961, when I climbed Mount Zion daily as an art student in Bezalel. Where no public transport dared to, artists did. Looking up my old trail again, as the second millennium was three years shy of closing, I saw multitudes of cars going up and down the mountain, while the bells of the church where the Last Supper is believed to have taken place still ring daily, as they did when I was proofreading the manuscript of "Morning Offering" (Boker Matana).

As I was going over the proofs, I noticed a strange mistake: instead of 55 poems, the text said 55 songs. I smiled to myself and thought: 55 songs! Wow, I don't know. But since there was something sonic in the ambiance of the old duplex unit where I was staying, which resonated so well with spoken words, I was inspired to try and sing a few poems out loud into the arches and curves, while doing Walking Meditation around the vast high-ceiling space. I thought about the winged piano of Arthur Rubinstein and felt so grateful to be passing through the same suite he once graced as a guest. The spontaneous long tones and ohms soon turned into "Saturday Morning", the poem-into-song opening this Garland of Songs for All Who Care, a love tribute that does not end even when spring is over.

As I was vocalizing daily, I noticed that Arab men, who were part of the maintenance crew, often chose to take their coffee break under my window. When I opened the door leading to an elongated arcade, to take a walk outside, I saw them smiling. Perhaps I imagined it and perhaps it was so, but I felt that the Mediterranean rhythm of this song transcended barriers of language and cultural differences. This was my first "feedback" to the song, and it did not surprise me that Mark, who transcribed the songs years later, liked this Hebrew song in particular.

I recall this story as one of the many stories I am inspired to share after Derek Sivers, musician and founder of CD Baby, asked me recently what I do for "feedback". As it turns out, every song has a story to tell about inspiration and feedback. I am delighted to share some of my insights with all who care, and I thank Derek for the wonderful he has done, in particular the creation of CD Baby, inspiring musicians and songwriters to create and share the fruits of their endeavors.

The artists participating in "Not A Crash Landing" are from around the globe. They joined together in the melting pot of Manhattan, to express concern and hope through poetry and songs for a safe biosphere for all. Thank you all.

Peace be unto you Peace be with you Or, as the holy Funk of Easy Joe goes: Glide in your stride ShalOm

Carmela Tal Baron

Artists' Biographical Sketches:

Carmela Tal Baron Carmela Tal Baron is a New York-based poet, songwriter and vocalist, whose background is in visual art and design. Her first recorded song, "Turtle Island is in Mourning" (from her album "Rainbow Ride"), was introduced by Bob Sherman on Public Radio-Fordham University as "One of the most haunting and deeply felt reactions to what we all experienced six months ago (9/11/2001).... quite extraordinary song and performance" (Woody's Children: "Six Months Later", WFUV 90.7 FM, 3/10/2002). "Saturday Morning", the opening poem/song of "Not A Crash Landing", was chosen by Bob Sherman to open his upcoming, spring-inaugurating Woody's Children program, "Odds and Ends" (WFUV 90.7 FM 3/21/2010). Other songs by Carmela have featured on various radio programs and TV films. Carmela is also a bilingual writer (English & Hebrew). She came to New York from Israel in 1974. She wrote and illustrated children's books and TV programs, and published two poetry books. Her poems have appeared in various literary publications. She favors interdisciplinary collaborations with poets, writers, artists, musicians, dancers and choreographers. This album is her third , preceded by "Rainbow Ride" and "Paradigm Shift".

Mark A Berman Mark A Berman has been devoted to music his entire life. At the age of 11 he graduated from the youth-program at Juilliard. Subsequently he majored in philosophy and literature. He sang in classical choirs and studied trumpet with the renowned teacher Vince Penzarela. Later he started writing theater and spiritual songs such as "Children's Theater Songs", sung by Leslie Moore and dedicated to Margaret Humphreys, one of the vocalist in "Not A Crash Landing". His classical pieces for piano were recorded by Jenny Undercofler for a double CD in 2002. Most of his compositions were recorded by professional musicians like John DiMartino and Nikki Parrot. He has been helping with writing up music for those who are not able to notate it themselves, like the many songs of Helen Yalof, the song on 9/11 he co-created with Michael Hartheimer, founder of Hospital Entertainment, and Carmela Tal Baron, whose music he helped bring into the light-of-day. Altogether he wrote 23 albums of songs and musical compositions.

Daralyn Jay Daralyn Jay is a performance artist who defies classification. Raised in Atlanta and refined in New York, this singer, actor and dancer has appeared in plays ranging from Shakespeare and contemporary drama to musical theater, in venues such as the National Black Theater, Hartford Stage, Classical Theater of Harlem, and Manhattan Repertory Theatre. She is a regular on the New York jazz scene, as well as a frequent vocal arranger and guest on pop and rock recordings. In addition, Daralyn has several independent films, TV commercials and voiceovers to her credit. Her special skills include dialects and accents, vocals and dancing. She cites the inspiration she draws from collaborating with other artists, as the source of her productivity.

Margaret Humphreys Margaret Humphreys showed great promise both as an actor and vocalist at the University of Southern California, where she received her Bachelor degree in theater studies. She went on to receive a Masters degree in the fine art of acting from Cornell University. Her most notable sung roles were The Countess, in A Little Night Music; Dolores Dante, in Working (book by Studs Terkel), and Fanny Squeers, in Nicholas Nickelby, for which she received critical acclaim. Over the past 15 years her life has moved in a new direction but she has returned to the stage, singing a featured role in the revival of Cabaret at the Brooklyn Heights Theater Plauhouse. She has also appeared in clubs aroung the city with her band, "Asphalt Blue".

Celeste Macbeth Dubois Celeste Dubois has been playing the piano and writing songs for decades. She is also a visual artist and a comedy writer. Heralding from the South (Dallas), where she felt trapped, she moved to New York in 1979 and launched her career as a Jazz pianist. Subsequently she returned to Dallas, where she played Jazz at a well-known hotel from 1981 to 1988. Upon her return to New York, she has produced numerous talent shows, some at Shutters, where Italian food and Jazz by Celeste created hospitable space for potry and songs for many, including Carmela Tal Baron who sang there some of th...

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Rainbow Ride

Carmela Tal Baron

Poignant folk-blues songwriting and vocals evocative of Lotte Lenya, Edith Piaf, and Bessie Smith.

Carmela Tal Baron

Rainbow Ride © 2002 Carmela Tal Baron

Poignant folk-blues songwriting and vocals evocative of Lotte Lenya, Edith Piaf and Bessie Smith.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE Carmela Tal Baron is a New York City based artist, poet, songwriter and vocalist. Her artwork has been published and exhibited and is partly presented under the title Designs for Enlightenment (www.portalmarket.com/carmelatbaron.html). The desire to vocalize grew out of her environmental work in Central Park and her aspiration to promote peace through culture and dialogue, and healing through sound and sight.

REVIEWER'S NOTE Robert Sherman, host of Woody's Children, WFUV 90.7, Public Radio from Fordham University (www.wfuv.org), one of the nation's longest running folk shows: "One of the most haunting and deeply felt reactions to what we all experienced six months ago, comes from Carmela Tal Baron who describes herself as an interdisciplinary artist. I am a painter, poet and writer, she says, and most recently lyricist, composer and a performer of my own work.... Turtle Island Is In Mourning*.... Quite extraordinary song and performance." * Included in Woody's Children: Six Months Later (Folk songs in response to 9-11, March 10, 2002), and in the CD Rainbow Ride (Track 3).

The song Tea Ceremony (Rainbow Ride, Track 11) features in Robert Sherman's program Woody's Children: Cream of the Summer Crop (WFUV 90.7, Public Radio from Fordham University, September 15, 2002).

ARTIST'S NOTE Born In the Year of the Horse Born in the Year of the Horse, I was always fascinated with the animal spirit. As a child, I was not allowed to pet a dog. Perhaps this was where the elephant spirit stepped in as a virtual pet and guide. The Horse of many colors was aroused to rescue me. My relationship with the Horse grew through myth and guided imagery, like a home remedy. Early on, the horse image was attractive, yet intimidating. It was not yet an intimate relationship of a woman who yearns to tame and ride horses as a way of mastering something in herself. Rather, a romantic way of looking at masculine forms of energy, living metaphors running free in the wild to be captured as art forms. As an illustrator, I enjoyed creating the galloping red horse for Dahlia Ravikovitch's children's poem, A Horse Named Tartarus, and more so spinning my pen to draw horses as curling lines in motion for Isaac Bashevis Singer's children's book, Good Luck and Bad Luck. Born in the land of the Bible, my imagination was fired by the red horse and other textured horses mentioned by the prophet Zechariah, and by the Neptunian sea horses riding the mighty waves. The four horses of the apocalypse started galloping through my artist's palette. In trying to unveil the mystery presented in the Book of John, I watched the rider of the white horse holding a bow, crowning me with a vow to rise above the shadows. I was attracted and repelled by the ambiguity of the red horse, moved by the rider of the black horse holding a scale, and protesting the death message of the greenish horse. It was the white horse that led me to the much-needed synthesis, the creation of the Rainbow Horse image (the cover artwork for the CD and the inspiration for the title song), galloping through a window in time into a new millennium. Carmela Tal Baron Summer Solstice 2002

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Paradigm Shift

Carmela Tal-Baron

Poems with musical interpretation reflecting an artistic voyage across cultures: A bridge between islands and tongues

Carmela Tal-Baron's poetry is exquisitely modern, romantic and is accompanied by the Chopin-like musical interpretations of John DiMartino.
--- Martin Wangh, M.D., Psychoanalyst, NYC 2004

Awaiting me are more and more erotic delicacies, fine and pungent, to read with delight: "... to the bitter-wondrous scent of orange blossom. The heart reposes and refills..." (Translated from the Hebrew. From the poem Darkness Is a Blanket, Rainbow Ride, Tal-Baron's first CD; see Biographical Note.) --- Amos Oz, Author and Israel Prize Laureate, Israel

Carmela Tal-Baron's visual art and her poetry both seek to illuminate hidden patterns that draw things together, and to penetrate into their inner life. In recent years, Carmela has cultivated a love of chant, the magical power of the verbal utterance to transform by emphasizing the sensuality of words. Her poetry combines this love of verbal physicality and beauty with a unique playfulness, which give them their special multisensory appeal. (From the introduction to Poets and Mentors, poetry reading by Carmela Tal-Baron and Dahlia Ravikovitch.) --- Dr. Elliott Rabin, Director of Education, Makor/Steinhardt Cultural Center/92nd Street Y, NYC

Poetry and music are intimately related; they both express, through rhythm and melody, the precious logic of the heart, an incredible source of healing.
--- Louise Montello, author of Essential Musical Intelligence

ARTIST'S NOTE: New York City is a perpetual paradigm shift, the modern Babel, where a symphony of tongues and accents is the environmental music we often hear. But do we really listen? We keep asking each other: Where are you from? What is your accent? If only we could pause, listen to each other's spoken words and ask: Who are you? What is your essence? If we did it more often, perhaps our Tower of Babel might transform into a spiraling tower of love.

"Paradigm Shift" is a collection of 24 poems by Carmela Tal-Baron, with musical interpretations by John DiMartino. It reflects the artist's own paradigm shift, as many of the poems in this collection speak to her personal transition and artistic journey across cultures.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE Carmela Tal Baron is a New York City based interdisciplinary artist and designer. She is also a bilingual poet and songwriter, who came to New York from Israel in 1974. In Israel she published two books of poetry. Her first book, "From This Yom Kippur Till the Next", was published in 1972 (Sifriat Poalim), a year before the Yom Kippur war, and gained wide public resonance. Her second book, "Morning Offering", was published in 1998 (Carmel), with a grant from Amos Foundation for scholars and writers (President's House). Tal-Baron's poems are included in anthologies such as The International Women Poets Anthology (Lips, NY 1993) and the 1970's Anthology of Hebrew Poetry, and in literary magazines and supplements. Her poems appeared in "Songs for Peace" (1994) and other publications. The poem "Some Eggs Do It" is included in the book "Celestially Auspicious Occasions" by Dona Henes (Putnam, NY 1996). Another poem, "I Drink Your Air" (included in Paradigm Shift), will appear in the upcoming volume V of The Jerusalem Review (Spring 2005 / Jerusalem / 2 poems by CTB ).

"Paradigm Shift" is Tal-Baron's second CD with John DiMartino; her first, "Rainbow Ride", was issued in 2002 (www.cdbaby.com/ carmelatal). Her unique style of combining songs and spoken words has featured in various radio programs, including "Woody's Children" (Public Radio-Fordham University, New York, WFUV 90.7 FM), "9/11: Six Months Later" (March 2002) and "Cream of the Summer Crop" (September 2002). Tal-Baron's artwork has been shown and published in Israel, Europe and the US. Her vision of using art as tools for peace is presented in Designs for Enlightenment (www.portalmarket.com/carmelatbaron.html).

John DiMartino is a notable jazz pianist, composer, arranger and musical director living in New Jersey. He studied with Lennie Tristano and Don Sebesky and has performed in New York City's Carnegie Hall and throughout the world, accompanying such renowned artists as John Hendricks, Kenny Burell, Ray Barretto, Patalo Valdez and Tony Bennett. He is a featured musician on many recordings, including the Grammy nominated albums "Live and in Clave" (with Bobby Sanabria) and "Contact" (with Ray Barretto). He is featured in Piano Keyboard Magazine (March/April 2001).

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A Girl With a Curl

Carmela Tal Baron

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