sunday – djembe

I’ve been really blessed this past week to make my way through a good portion of Naná Vasconcelos’ discography as I worked on rebuilding one of two djembes I picked up recently.

And while I’d like to share all the details including how I got here from my last post’s probably not worth it and better to just jump in mid-stream.

This is actually the smaller of the two.  Never having skinned a drum before, and certainly not from scratch, I risked being in over my head but at least I could limit how deep.

I want to personally thank Leo at  tree frog percussion  for providing valuable information along with the replacement goatskins and cord I purchased.  His passion and dedication to building high quality percussion instruments is outstanding.

If you want to take a course on building your own drum from scratch, percussion classes or purchase a handmade  instrument, I would highly recommend him.


original condition












bottom of foot – original condition



after sanding



..and oil



top rim – original condition






top rim – original condition



after filling and sanding












tuning weave






finished project





If you’ve never listened to Brazilian musicians, and in particular the genius of Naná Vasoncelos – here are links to one of his concerts with another Brazilian great Yamandu Costa.



foto friday – before & after

In the end, the real value of a photograph is as a document. Everything else is window dressing.

I’m not sure where I first heard this, but I’ve had alot of time to think about it over the years and I would have to agree. No matter what. Cropped, clipped, mangled, or manipulated, photographs are ultimately a very personal document. Sometimes it can shed light on our condition and sometimes it’s just a picture.

There’s something special about the whole field of before and after photos that just never gets old. I never tire of stumbling across the welcome surprise of someone who took the time to properly document some change. It never fails to put a smile on my face.

And althought these shots are not great, they’re my current contribution. The before from the 14th of February and the after from the nite before last.

A day later the room is complete and awaiting it’s final ‘beauty’ shot.








It’s also the reason I haven’t been posting. This is only one of at least five rooms to undergo this kind of transformation in the last month. Our house goes on the market in a couple of days and between the packing, remodelling and organization, there is precious little time for much else.

fast & furious friday – remington ride

Things still speeding along at a wicked pace with little time for a deep breath let alone pictures.

Danny Gatton is one of my favourite guitarists and sums it up best with this quick little piece.

I owe a personal favour to Roy Buchanon in mentioning him lest he ever again be forgotten. His influence on guitarists like Danny, Vince Gill, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendricks, and Gerry Garcia is legendary and he changed the course music forever. Personally, he was the first musician to shake my world in a way no other did.

There is too much I’d like to say about guitarists at the moment and instead leave you with a little piece from Roy to carry you through the weekend.


on the move – caravan

I’ve been looking for something that would sum up my February and think I may have found it.

I love February almost as much as I love jazz and Jaun Tizol & Ellington’s – Caravan. And that would be a lot.

Then every once and a while a special version that comes along and remakes everything from scratch. That would be this February.

With a little listen, you will understand the type of month that’s going on better than I could ever explain it. And while it’s kinda cool in it’s own way, it looks as if we’re moving into the Oscar and Dizzy version for March. And that’s really something else :)

Happy New Year to One and All :)


Happy New Year and best of wishes one and all, May you find peace in your heart, health in your life and cheer amongst those who are close to you. May your blessings be shared and your troubles halved, and may you find courage, strength and laughter in the months ahead.

Thank you to all who have followed this blog and have made this past year a wonderful pleasure.  My hat goes off to you  ..Happy New Year :)





wisdom wednesday

Since my stroke back in 2014, I have been struggling just a little bit harder with a number of mental health issues. Mostly they have centered around organization, planning and memory, but sometimes, it’s a little more overwhelming.

The last couple of months have been a case in point. I’ve had the pleasure of travelling around North America since the spring, a chance to take my eyes ‘on the road’. I’ve spent a fair bit of my life travelling, and it has always been a combination of inspiration and pleasure. But like life, things never remain the same.

I was way out of my comfort zone without knowing it, and it took some time to figure out what was going on. Not having a reliable routine, or stable expectations were far more important than I thought. The constant press of new situations were difficult to process and internalize.

But most of all was the building sense of loss  – of mobility and resilience and skills. Things that were once easy were now hard. That I was proud of were now gone. That I owned were now lost. And the grief was hidden and hard to control.

Thankfully I am blessed with a caring and wonderful partner, three dogs and a program of recovery that has given me a life filled with grace.  And I’m not sure that I have any words of wisdom other than to say, take time to love those around you, spend more time with nature and make sure to be good to yourself.

I learned that before water flows, it must fill all the hollows and this is good enough for me to know for today.

Glad to be back – and many thanks to those who have continued to follow, you have often been in my thoughts.



mindful monday — although more powerful, are we any smarter?

I still believe that this series of lectures are the most important things I will spend my time considering in this decade.  I can only urge you to listen and decide for yourself.

maps of meaning part 1: monsters of our own making

maps of meaning part 2: games, fear and order

maps of meaning part 3: genesis, paradise and the self

maps of meaning part 4: evil, religion, truth and the force within

picture tuesday – rubble, stumps and thickets

“Most people can find the beauty of a garden self-evident and breathtaking.  How many look at the heap of plucked weeds; the rubble and stumps of areas being cleared?  How many look at the fallow-fields or the storm wrecked fallen tree?  How many look at the hedges and dense thickets that have been left to grow as they will?  These areas are no less beautiful than the tenderly cultivated flower bed simply because they are not accomplished in the glory of perfection.  Rather, they are perfect in the glory of possibility.  In them is a single basic lesson: that the earth is constantly fecund; that earth takes back anything, no matter what it is; that earth is the receiving ground for every aspect of nature and human life.” Deng Ming-Dao





The past number of months have been a perfect storm of events. Like massive black storm clouds that tear across prairie and open water; recent experiences, changes and travels have flung me far from my comfortable daily beaten path. With the rumble of thunder receding towards the horizon; I have begun to pick my way across the rain drenched landscape back to the regular postings and commentary on this blog.

There is something spectacular in looking at the world afresh after a tumultuous storm and it continues to occupy much of my attention. The wet scraps of dirt and grass  still cling to my bare feet as they slap through puddles, mud squishing up between my toes.

Sodden clothes have not begun to dry in the revived heat of the sun. The air still thickly humid and damp.

Droplets sparkle on gossamer filaments dangling between leafy twigs. Insects begin to show themselves and resume their march across branch and stalk.

There is still much to take in and sort before returning to my own bi-weekly posts. But in the interim I would like to share a series of lectures that have forcefully diverted my attention and occupied a sizable part of my attention and thoughts.

The hope being of course, that in the sharing there rests a a common road to traverse and a conversation to join in at the next settlement along the road of life.

My heartfelt thanks to those who have continued to check in, and until I return full time in September I hope the combination of posts I do manage to make and the links I will post one at a time will help to bridge the span of time.

1. Reality and the sacred