All those yellow lines we cross over in our sleep. This is how we are driving through the pandemic head on with the night and winter’s disguise. Here is Greg singing a Jesus song. Picture the musician with his guitar riding a bus across the Upper Peninsula and using a handheld mike to record the Jesus song. He departs from Jesus to read a poem entitled “Hour of the Wolf,” a homage to Ingmar Bergman and his vampire film he made with his former love Liv Ullman, who happened to be pregnant with his child. But always return to the “pilot” and those late-night scenes moving through winter on a bus. R. Thorburn
I read Thorburn’s “Hour of the Wolf,” from one of his poetry books, The Drunken Piano, shortly after its publication in 2009. I knew what it was to see my reflection in a bus window at 3:00 am, and I could hear the bus driver singing a blues song, late at night, driving his life away. I felt what it was to be mid-twenties and anxious; I knew the pinch of wire-rim glasses.
I wanted the wolfing hour to have a melody, maybe a divinity to accompany that grainy ride, and I came up with the song below – borrowing from Edward Hopper’s Hymn, “Jesus Savior Pilot Me” as a floating refrain from the incessant and noisy wheels of the bus. I saw Thorburn and the bus passengers related by anxiety to disciples in a boat on a stormy sea, and as I see many people these days, anxious about something they can’t see.… read more...
It all began on a rainy afternoon at a window inside Peter Gummerson’s house. Looking out the window, my fingers wrapped around chords on his Nord keyboard. I was recording a song entitled “8 Track.“ The original lyrics were taken from two poems and two different parts to my life—one was a runaway nineteen year old and the other a twenty-three year old in love with an older woman. Derrell Syria visited gummersound and laid down guitar throughout the three separate suites in the song. R. Thorburn
My words explore a soul’s stretch toward a white star emerging from lightning; a blending of Michigan & Wisconsin land and water into a memoir piece I have been writing – on and off – for 15 years. Thorburn gave me advice for selecting edits from two long stories, here melted down to this four minute word/music offering. G. Ormson
Russell Thorburn and Gregory Ormson have worked together for over a decade writing original poems, prose, and music. Much of it happens in spite of distance and isolation. The seven songs/poems, posted for NATIONAL POETRY MONTH during April, are Ormson/Thorburn’s word/song series for the pandemic.
Isolated in an Upper Midwest studio, musicians record their work for “Mescalero Territory.” A sitar introduces the fever of an injured and isolated outlaw, holed up in a barn where Billy the Kid fights off rats and nightmares. The poet reads this story of “Mescalero Territory” to original sitar accompaniment.
Poem/song notes for number 2, “Mescalero Territory. ” Writer and reader, Russell Thorburn. Sitar, Gregory Ormson, Mixed Peter Gummerson @ Gummersound, Marquette, Michigan.… read more...
OM Yoga Magazine has just released their March issue including the 85th of my #yogainspirationals. Thank you OM Yoga Mag.In the Phoenix east valley, this magazine arrives two weeks after publication in the UK. In each issue you'll find yoga insights in these areas: OM Body, OM For Men, OM Fashion, OM Mind, OM Spirit, OM Living, OM Family, OM Actions, OM Teacher Zone, OM Travel. Check it out.… read more...
Piano, photography, and videography by the talented Randy Anagnosis. He’s been an east coast marketer, recording artist, and now photographer for Superstition Harley Davidson. Anagnosis’ first CD was “Dreams,” c 1996, sold in hundreds of yoga studios. A second piano-driven album was “Full Moon Rising.” He also did a jazz album, “Thunder and Light.”
Video courtesy of Anagnosis, and Superstition Harley Davidson. Thanks to all the bike and yoga folks that showed up too. #motorcyclingyogiG
“There was something about the way he played his Stratocaster that made it seem otherwordly.” –Eric Clapton on Jimi Hendrix
My sitar flows in 19 bands of light: their names are baaj, chikari, and tarab. Its journey to my hand is a mystery, but its music-medicine came to my doorstep from an old land, gripped me from the eons, and pulled my soul into its orbit. It’s a path unlike any other, bending more than notes. A musician friend and professor said, “Its all angles.”
Saraswati dances, sitar bends, and because I’ve heard its music and felt it in my chest I participate in its step. This step is toward the depths and from them rises a watery siren-song of the fathoms.
Sitar music is a never-ending river, shepherding me to a place close and yet far away. My teacher speaks in common tones and offers up clusters of daring: “Consistency, consistency, consistency,” she says. Her words; the kernel of all learning, teaching, and the core of every guru’s curriculum.
I’ve seen the rivers of India, but I can’t put myself and my sitar on their banks; but once at dusk, on a hot July night, I made my way with this rosewood, gourd, string & steel riddle to the banks of the Salt River in east Phoenix to listen. There, I realized sitar will not accompany me without shepherding along a river of souls.
Looking to the Salt, I could almost see a funeral pyre float past; a desert inspired mirage bobbing with the current, like a lazy raft ablaze in flames, scented smoke and grief trailing behind.… read more...
Hear “When I Get Back to Marquette,” and “Mescalero Territory.”
Russell Thorburn, NEA recipient, is the author of four books of poems. His last book, Somewhere We’ll Leave the World, was published by Wayne State University Press. Currently he is producing and directing his one-act play Bomb Shelter for Black Box Theater at Northern Michigan University, where he teaches composition. It will premiere March, 2020, and includes original music for the end of the world that never happened in the sixties. www.russthorburn.com
Gregory Ormson, writer and musician living in Arizona, has collaborated with Thorburn over the last decade on word and poem projects. He writes on music, yoga, motorcycling, and landscape.
“Mescalero Territory” Lyric and voice, Russell Thorburn. Sitar, Gregory Ormson, engineered at Gummersound Studio, Marquette, Michigan. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7CJeFLGYOO8YVB0NjFQSUFhR0dJV09kSjlVZ2daTk5uYU9Z/view?usp=sharing
“When I Get Back to Marquette” Russell Thorburn, Marquette, Michigan lyric; Gregory Ormson, Mesa, Arizona, music, guitar, vocal, and lyric adaptation; Mike Bjella, clarinet, Montreal, Quebec; Peter Gummerson, Marquette, Michigan, sound engineering. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CiqMkl6W9OOuS82qWe-LASo3ytH_FNLw/view?usp=sharing
Thanks Superstition Harley Davidson for this 80 second video. See how yoga is similar to, but has one important difference from other movement oriented activities like motorcycling, judo, and ballet.
See you all at Yoga for Riders(18) & Ride & Stretch(29)this month!Yoga can help you gain more time in the saddle comfortably!
Posted by Superstition Harley-Davidson on Saturday, December 7, 2019
The December 2019 Om Yoga Magazine has published “Silence and Slow Time,” the 82nd of my published yoga articles under (#yogainspirationals). Thank you OM. Also see in this fine 114 page issue features on yoga at home and office, aromatherapy, meditation, breath work (pranayama), body positivity, and many more necessary reads for your yoga practice. In addition, as an end of year bonus OM Yoga Magazine has included a 2020 calendar and a 50 page insert on “incredible yoga retreats from around the world.” I’m honored to be a regular contibutor for OM Yoga and Lifestyle Magazine.
Over the last 15 months, Soumya and I have been practicing music of the soul by working on bhakti music, blending traditions of the East and West. Our band Sat Song (truth song) has a first event Thursday night in Tempe. We’ll perform for the 10 year Anniversary Celebration of the Arizona Interfaith Power and Light organization. This is an organization demonstrating much needed cooperation and respect in our day of division along religious and cultural lines. I’m pleased to be part of this event. Wish us well!
- The practitioner is ATTENTIVE to breath while focused on the process of asana and quiet.
- In movement, consciously linked to breath, we produce the rhythmic effect of life. It’s what humans have done for centuries; and therein lays yoga’s simple yet profound magic: breath in movement and rhythm.
- When a yogi comes home to their breath-centric core they kiss the soul to receive their full inheritance.
- At the center point, breath is the building of consciousness and through breath in heightened consciousness, jettisoning old scripts, the yogi constructs a personal story of renewal formed by inspiration.
- A breath focus narrows the gap between body and mind so that when the yogi concentrates on the physical act of breathing, the mind comes into the here and now.
- Breathing is both automatic and responsive to signals.
- Anyone can relieve tension within the body by using breath.
- Vinyasa is really about breath directed by asana.
- The all-encompassing breath within (samana vayu) circulates from the solar plexus in the middle of the body and contributes to healthy metabolism and digestion.
- Breath movement is secondary muscular movement.
- Pranayama (breath management) is a “calm and lucid entrance into the very essence of life.” M. Eliade
- When yoga teaches us to breathe with ease and move in awareness, and when we learn to arrive at a pose – and life – with equanimity, that memory is lodged as experience in the body. In this way, yoga’s therapeutic is embodied and forges a connection between the physical and non-physical. It works by calming the body to treat agitation driving the monkey mind, for while stress is perceived in the mind it is felt in the body.