SO much to blog about this morning. So many good things, so many off the wall things, and so many… things. I don’t know that I’m going to bother trying to cram it all in, but I’ll try to update you on some of the more interesting stuff.
I was actually going to do write this up last night, but I got distracted by the season finale of Vikings. Jonathan Rhys Meyers showed up in the final sequence as a character called Heahmund. More importantly, his character is bearing a sword with an inscription I’ve seen before.
Can you make out the inscription? It reads “ANANYZAPATA.”
And now you’re looking at your screen with a the thought of “…and?” running across your mind. If you’re in this category of “So what?” then you’re probably not alone. For most people, it wouldn’t matter. The show’s final shot focused in on that sword close enough to read that inscription, basically slapping us in the face with the idea that this is important. And it is, but I wouldn’t expect the average TV viewer to know that.
The word is also spelled “ananizapata.” It apparently has many uses throughout history, none of which mean much to our modern world. But being someone who has spent some time studying both history and esoterics, of course the streams cross on something like this. Essentially it’s akin to “abracadabra” as used in its original sense. It’s a Medieval magic spell, designed to ward off evil, sickness, etc. It has been translated variously as “Have mercy on us, O Judge” or “Jesus Christ defeated death (or the devil).” I could go on and on, but you can do the research for yourself if you’re interested. There’s a great deal more to be had on this topic, and the sword’s pommel has possible connections to the Middleham Jewel.
Basically, this character is a sort of proto-Templar, making him the big opposition to the Vikings in the next season. Apparently fans are already speculating that this will lead into the History Channel’s new series Knightfall, about the Knights Templar, currently in development. This is, of course, immediately where my mind went when I saw the sword, and from there I did some digging, which is where I learned about this new series. If you know me at all, now you know why I’m excited. Sure, it’s rock and roll style history, but it’s fun!
On another front, I’ve been neglectful of this, and I feel bad about it, but better late than never. Yesterday was the release date for the Kilted Kings first album, Name On My Soul. Again, I sense that you’re asking what this is. This is a musical duo consisting of Marc Gunn on autoharp and vocals and Randy Wothke (of The Rogues) on percussion and background vocals. The title track first debuted at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival, and apparently there was more than enough interest to buy the CD (that didn’t exist at the time) that they decided to go for it. No surprise there. They’re both good musicians, and it’s a good song. This is one of those great examples where musicians just click, and I was proud to help sponsor this album through Kickstarter some months back. I’ve been a patron of Marc’s music for a few years now, as it’s through his Irish and Celtic Music Podcast that I’ve come to know so many great independent bands. He’s helped to forge quite the community out there. Totally worth looking into if you’re even remotely inclined.
Along those lines… do you remember my post about Medieval Night at the DMA? If so, you’ll remember that I remarked about an ensemble called Istanpitta and particularly about their vocalist Abby Green. Well, as it turns out, I’d heard her sing before, and somehow I did not make the connection. Marc’s podcast is one of those radio shows that gets me into serious financial trouble, but it also keeps me functioning at a high level of artistic appreciation. You know how I am. I find something I enjoy, and then I get obsessive about it. I must learn all that is learnable, and I must have all the things so I can marinate in it. And then the money runs out, so I start marking things on a wish list, which I try to make a dent in every year when the tax return comes in. Well, at the top of the wish list are the bands I’ve discovered through Marc’s podcast that I want to support and haven’t yet been able to do so. I kept thinking I’d heard Abby’s name before. Turns out, I have. While listening to the podcast yesterday, a voice stood out for me (as tends to happen), and in checking the show notes… Abby Green. I open up my wish list, and there’s her name, right at the top of that list. Literally, next in line. There are links in those show notes, and now more familiar with this name and armed with this sense that I knew this voice from somewhere, I clicked the link to her website. Ta-da! It is indeed the same Abby Green. Marc is always saying on his show that we should support the artists who support the show, buy their CDs, and drop them a line letting them know we heard them on the podcast. That’s precisely how he built his community, through such word of mouth. And let’s be honest here… I need very little encouragement to tell someone that I love their work. I need even less encouragement when I fall in love with a voice, which admittedly I do often. I’m a sucker for musical beauty. And so I did just that. I bought Abby’s solo CDs yesterday and dropped her a line. This morning… the tax return came in. Oh yeah. So I bought her book. And as I type this, I just got a response from her in my email. Timing! It’s everything. (Pauses typing this blog to read.)
Back to the story about her music. That’s not all! Abby Green is part of something called the Texas Early Music Project. *screeching brakes sound here* Wait, what? More Medieval music?! How is it possible all of this stuff exists in my home state without me knowing about it? Because it exists in Austin, Houston, and other such cities where there’s a sense of community and creativity. DFW somehow prides itself on doing none of that. I don’t get it. But whatever. I’m more than happy to hurl both my love and my money into other cities at the people who make the music that makes me awestruck. Check out this amazing catalog of work! Digging around on this site and looking at the talent that went into this ensemble… I’m jealous. I don’t mind saying it. I’m absolutely jealous. Music is the road not traveled for me, and I can’t even imagine what it’s like to go down this kind of rabbit hole and enjoy yourself with a group of like-minded creative types. But if I can’t play with the group, I’ll at least play “Medici for a day” and show my support. I don’t get to do this sort of thing often on my pathetic budget, but dammit, it feels SO good when I do. I’m looking forward to connecting the dots and learning about the other performers in this ensemble.
And finally, this brings me to the little matter of the business I’m hoping to open. No real movement yet on this front, but I have been doing all manner of research so I can learn the ins and outs of what needs to happen. It’s a lot to consider. But I have made a contract with myself to keep me going, and this weekend will hopefully end with more answers than questions. I’ve got some people to talk to, some things to explore… you know, all the things.
I suppose that’s more than enough for one blog post. After you overcome the eyestrain from reading all of it, go check out some awesome music. It’s the kind of stuff you just can’t get from over-produced, cookie cutter, top-40 channels. And if you find something that hits you in the feels, report back.