Meet Michelle! I was her drummer this weekend. HA!

23 11 2011

Ok so I’m going through this major transition right now in my life that had me feel much less grounded than I usually am.  So this past weekend, I accepted the invitation to a sweat lodge weekend retreat with Big Heart Circle at Ashokan Center in New York. I had never been to anything like this before and I’m SO glad I chose to go.

“What is this major transition,” you’re probably asking?  Well…. I’m leaving my nice cushy stable J.O.B. of 4 years and diving back full force into the freelance/entreprenurial world – with full intent of filling my life with guitar gigs.  I have intensified my study and training to prepare for January 1st — which is when my transition is official.

I gained some incredible things out of this weekend.  Besides detoxing, I was able to connect with the elements of mother earth in a new way. In remembering that we are all ONE — once we break everything down to molecules and atoms, I bathed my feet in the grass/mud and breathed in the majestic icy air near Winchell’s Falls and mentally pictured mother nature flowing up through my fingers when I play guitar.  I’ll never forget it.  Though I didn’t play guitar at all during this retreat, when I returned to the city, my playing had noticeably improved because of it.

And during the weekend, I was so thrilled to have met Michelle Christine Garza, who had brought her guitar along and frequents the Big Heart Cirle community. She’s the type of person you just fall in love with immediatley. She’s so open hearted and talented.  She has the voice of a sweet bird and plays a finger style guitar that melts any soul.  She writes these spiritual tribute songs to life and nature and really makes a difference wherever she shares her talent. And the extra cool thing is, she writes and sings in quite a few different languages and even if you don’t know the language, you still understand.  Music truly trancends any language barrier.  Here’s her link.   I had brought my djembe drum along for the trip so it was awesome to be able to accompany Michelle on a few songs after the lodge in the Pewter House.  Joining with her, I felt like I was traveling to another land in drumming trance. And I knew everything was going to be okay.

Check Michelle on Facebook too!


Female Guitarist Feature: Felicia Collins from Letterman

1 11 2011

For the last 3 to 5 years, I’ve been doing google searches to find out WHO in heck the world believes are the greatest female guitarist EVER!!! (Dramatic music here)
Well it seems to me that many people only recognize the shredders. The super flashy, super fast, finger cutting type guitar playing that happens for about 30 seconds or less of any song out there. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to hear skillfull shredding, especially if it’s full of funk but I happen to be mesmerized by skillful comp’ing AND inventive personal style when it comes to rythm players. I’m still on the search for my own personal favorite female player though. It sucks how most of the names listed are women from decades ago, who still aren’t nearly as recognized as the many popular male guitar legends out there. What I wanna know is… which females out there are bringin’ the funk and soul? Yes of course, the plan is for me to fill that role but in the spirit of love and cooperation, I’m on the search for predecessors that I can honor and pay homage to.

Felicia Collins

Here’s one woman that discovered while on a trip for work to the Letterman Show . Her name is, Felicia Collins. I have to admit, I was wayyy more excited about hanging with my co-workers than actually seeing the show since I had never really watched it. I was psyched to see the live band rock and almost fell out of my seat when I caught a glimpse of ONE black woman in the ranks of an almost WASPy band. AND…. get this!… She had a guitar in her hand! Not only did she have a guitar but she also sang and played a hand drum. I was so inspired! This was a different type of rock star! She had a steady job! Ha! I decided to look her up and found her website and read more about her.

As I continue to practice my own funky riffs and build precision and speed, I get to appreciate those who have paved road before me. Thanks, Felicia!

And now this! It’s not shredding buy some really soulful and fab acoustic work by Felicia while accompanying Nona Hendrix in NYC.

And to see some of her solo skills, check this.

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