My Song in Top Ten for Last Three Months!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Three Months Running!

My original song “In The Hole” from my most recent album Liars, Cutthroats and Dames is in Ourstage’s Top Ten for the past three months! Check it out here: https://kathleendunbar.bandcamp.com/track/in-the-hole-2

Please check out al of my tunes at:
My Website: https://www.kathleendunbarmusic.com/store
Bandcamp: https://kathleendunbar.bandcamp.com

This Saturday, April 6, Kathleen performs live at Heart Tribe in Fairfax, CA at 7pm!

KATHLEEN’S SHOW! THIS COMING SATURDAY: April 6 at Heart Tribe in Fairfax!

DATE:  Saturday, April 6
TIME:  Doors open 6:45pm and Show at 7pm
WHERE:  Heart Tribe 7 Bolinas Road Fairfax, CA 94930
COST:  $20 Advance, $25 at the Door
TICKETS: Purchase Tickets Here

Please come join Kathleen Dunbar for this intimate limited seating engagement. Advance tickets recommended to reserve your seat! Purchase Tickets Here 

• This will be a celebration of specially selected songs from her musical catalog.
• You’ll hear songs from her first three albums, including her most recently released album Liars, Cutthroats and Dames. Plus a sneak peek into songs from her upcoming fourth album of love songs, Smoochy Smoo.
• Let her beguile and bewitch you, inspire you, break your heart, and make you laugh! Her songs are vignettes into our very-human temptations and redemptions, with a good dose of humor whilst the angels and devils bet which way we go at the crossroads.
• You can listen to Kathleen here: kathleendunbar.com

Kathleen Dunbar and her literally amazing band of talented Better Devils, achieves a rare and utterly unique blend of musical and lyrical symmetry. Highly recommended!”—Russell David“Kathleen Dunbar has just renewed my appreciation for story-telling songs. The genres mix beautifully to form a potent eye of the storm into which you’ll gladly be swept.”—Music Emissions

This will be an intimate evening with Kathleen–Advanced Tickets recommended. Purchase Tickets Here 

Kathleen Dunbar San Francisco Singer-Songwriter Kathleen Dunbar performs her blend of rootsy, humorous, and spellbinding storytelling about tragedy and redemption through her original song compositions in the Americana tradition. Join her on a musical journey into the darkness of the heart, love, betrayal, steamy romance, and the transformation of the spirit after passing through the flames. These are stories about us as we face the circumstances we humans get ourselves into and the choices that we ultimately make—some of them funky, some of them ending in the dark, others rising into the light of morning.

For this intimate evening Kathleen will be joined by her guitarist, producer and multi-instrumentalist Gawain Mathews and stand up bass player Ben Levine.

Gawain Mathews gigs with Kathleen Dunbar as her guitarist and banjo player. His magic thread runs all through the music you hear. Gawain is Kathleen’s arranger and producer. On her CDs he plays guitar, mandola, banjo, keyboards, pedal steel, accordion and percussion. Gawain hails from the wilds of Wales and the hot deserts of Utah (he prefers clouds to sun). He brings multiple skills as producer and arranger and years of musicianship in a wide range of styles. He’s toured as guitarist for Mickey Hart. Gawain has had his original music featured on Fox’s American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. Currently he’s a music producer in the San Francisco Bay Area working with a diverse roster of clients and styles.

Ben Levine is a bassist whose performing career has taken him to all 50 States, Europe, China, Canada, and Central America. He has performed as a sideman with some of the top recording stars in country music including multi-platinum artists Neal McCoy and Mark Wills, as well as former American Idol Josh Gracin. Ben is also a founding member of the groundbreaking bluegrass tribute band “Honeywagon” whose 2003 album “Green Day Blue Grass” spent over a year in the top 10 of Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Chart reaching as high as the #3 position. Ben was also a featured performer on the Grammy winning classical album “Guitar Heroes” by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. An active musician in the Bay Area, Ben teaches at Diablo Valley College and performs with several popular local groups including, The Boombox, Bell and Co., Haulin’ Oats, and The Urban Outlaws. Visit Ben’s bluegrass site at: http://honeywagonmusic.com

This will be an intimate evening with Kathleen. Advance Tickets recommended.

If You Fall

 

If You Fall

Rest all the way down
through the bottom of the pond
and its gravel nibbled by the fishes.
Go past to where
the moist soil rests like leavened bread
upon the crockery of the bedrock earth.
Beneath the plates of ancient seas and poured volcanoes
put yourself away
into the lower cupboards of time and gravity
until you feel the pulled pulse of all your atoms
begin to agree with the atomic signatures of all things.

The rabbit comes out of her hole,
no one’s dinner
at the moment;
this evening the sky a deepening blue
held in the rabbit’s eye—
her nose a delight of twitches
for the tender grasses
and the medley of the toothwort
and plantain.
The twin white starflowers of the mayapple
nod beneath their umbrella leaves
and release sweetness
into the rising evening wind.
Rabbit sits upon
the cushions of moss
plumped by an earlier rain;
the air is washed;
no toothed thing is about
that would end a rabbit’s dinner for good—
for her at this moment
there is just a noseful of delight
while her ears are listening.

We are always waiting for death
in some form
and hoping to eat our dinner in peace.
The rabbit cleans her face with her paw,
ladylike and nibbling grasses in between.

Go down below the dreaming, aching brevity of humans,
begin to feel the agreement among all things
that those prayers given at the center core’s throb
are holy.
Everything else knows this—
we are the only ones
who fret whether or not
to give our prayers
or how to give them,
worry if they are enough
or turn them off
like a switch
as if that could be done anyway.
Look how the young rabbit prays
while nibbling;
the elderly rabbit
a bit threadbare and lean
but alert and intelligent
offers a different prayer,
more brief, as the fox arrives.

Does it turn out okay?
The way is full of holes.
Your old shoes never fit well anyway
and it hurts to stumble.
My dear, you’ve done the best you could
given all the odds.

The prayer of that which is all-the-way down
returns upward to you.
If you fall
you will meet it.
You might as well let yourself be loved.

© Kathleen Dunbar

Dyslexics: You Are Amazing!

Video

Dyslexics you are amazing! 1 in 10 people are dyslexic, and the numbers may be as high as 1 in 5! Here are highlights and links from the First Global Summit about Dyslexia, Oct 2018. Your brains are wonderfully different than non-dyslexic brains. When properly supported, you can use your amazing gifts to thrive and to help solve the complex problems the world faces. Please check out info from the Global Summit below, And please also check out lots of info on my website at www.kathleendunbar.net under the For Dyslexics section.

Video:
First Global Summit about Dyslexia October 2018, from Made by Dyslexia—Highlights

Pledge:
Made by Dyslexia Pledge for companies, educators and governments to pledge to value dyslexic thinking, and to begin taking positive steps towards supporting dyslexia
Follow the link to read and share the Made by Dyslexia Pledge:
http://madebydyslexia.org/assets/downloads/made-by-dyslexia-pledge.pdf

Spelling It Out:
“This simple guide gives essential information about dyslexia, how to support it, and how to advocate for it.” —Made by Dyslexia
http://madebydyslexia.org/assets/downloads/spelling-it-out.pdf

EY-Made by Dyslexia Report:
EY-Made by Dyslexia Report on the Value of Dyslexia to Business, Coordinated with the latest World Economic Forum’s change in demand for core-related work-related skills 2015-2020, all industries
http://madebydyslexia.org/assets/downloads/EY-the-value-of-dyslexia.pdf

Synopsis:
“There needs to be a refocusing, now more than ever, of how dyslexic ability is viewed in the context of the changing world of work: schools must recognize dyslexia as a valuable way of thinking; understand the importance of discovering dyslexic challenges and strengths; and provide support which enables dyslexic individuals to reach their full potential. We hope this report will be the tipping point that enables the world to see the value of dyslexia and highlights why dyslexia should be a priority in schools. As this report shows, the working world can benefit from dyslexic minds.” —Kate Griggs Founder and CEO of Made by Dyslexia

“In this report, we analyze how dyslexic strengths match closely to the pressing skill requirements of the changing world and have provided recommendations to nurture and grow these abilities. Our findings show the huge benefits to be had from taking action to maximize dyslexic strengths. With this in mind, we trust our work will help in seeing the value of proactively educating, recruiting, developing and retaining those with dyslexia.” —Richard Addison, Dyslexia Network Partner Sponsor

 

 

Dive Deeper into my New CD “Liars, Cutthroats and Dames.” The Back Story behind my song “Circus.” Get a FREE SONG DOWNLOAD!

Hello Everybody!

FREE DOWNLOAD of “Circus”
For a limited time get a FREE DOWNLOAD of my song Circus from my just released album Liars, Cutthroats and Dames. Here’s the link:
https://kathleendunbarmusic.com/get-a-free-download-here

THE BACK STORY BEHIND MY SONG “Circus”
Where do my songs come from? I feel they might be playing in some other universe and I receive a transmission right into my radio heart-brain. Somehow I “hear” them and out they flow from my voice and pen! The original impetus for the song “Circus” on my brand new album Liars, Cutthroats and Dames is a dream I had one night! In the dream I was laying in a large bed on a mezzanine with the various wild acts of a circus happening on every level of the oddly shaped building. Suddenly a knife thrower appeared and threw his knifes with lightning speed all around my body, outlining me! He was almost completely accurate. One of the knives gave a papercut graze to my cheek. In the dream I wondered, “Hm, I wonder if it’s a good idea or not to date him?” Ha! I woke up and thought, “My god! This is a song!” and proceeded to tell the story of the knifethrower. You will hear in the instrumental section a theramin, an instrument I love, which renders so well the tight-rope drama of the circus. My producer-multi-instrumentalist Gawain Mathews perfectly arranged the song with an organ carrying forward the larger than life pulse of the circus, and plays the idiosyncratic voices of an accordion, mandola, banjo and guitar. We got a big virtual “Piatti” symbol crash. And BIG thanks to Nicholas Daniel Wlodarszyk for his completely awesome comic trombone. Here’s the opening lyrics:

a freak as a boy on the far side of hell
he lived by his wits in a crumbling motel

with the eyes of a gunner, a rock steady aim
all that he lacked was a good looking dame



charm won the girl and the damage was done

his prospects weren’t much but it sounded like fun

when the call comes for you and you step in the ring

inside the big tent you get to be king!



. . . for the rest of the lyrics click here: https://kathleendunbar.bandcamp.com/track/circus

HOW TO LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE CD: You can listen to complete tracks of the entire album at this link on my Store page: https://www.kathleendunbarmusic.com/store
You can listen to all of the songs on the album three times for free before being prompted to purchase. You can purchase the album via Itunes, Amazon, etc. simply by visiting the links on my website Store page. In addition to offering a digital download, you can also order a physical CD from CDBaby—again, right there on my Store page.

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD:
Please feel free to forward this to anyone who you feel would like to accompany me on this musical journey. Thank you in advance for your support, my dears!

Love, Kathleen

Photography by Joseph Feusi
All songs copyrighted by Kathleen Dunbar

Somebody’s Child

 

Somebody’s Child

When the earth formed
molten iron sank to its center
to make the core
and drew with it
most of the precious metals.
Gold abides with iron.
There are some veins
and pockets of metals,
also lens-shaped thickenings
and domes in the dark
that lay closer to the surface, however.
The animals don’t care about them
in the same way that people do—
the animals walk above them, swim,
fly, even dig a little at the roots—
they are the trebles
to the bass clef below—
the harmony
of the song of the earth.

People dig,
damn them,
for quite other reasons.

1.8 billion years ago
is the kind of time I can’t really comprehend
except as a puny fact.
My heart, on the other hand,
whispers
once upon a time
to begin the story—
long ago
in waters fresh and salt
a special mud was laid down . . .

. . . in that time the water
was over-bitter with much iron
and little oxygen
In it the first simple creatures swam.
For their feast and mead
they took the warmth of the sun
and made bargain with the world
to spit out from their simple meal
a gift of oxygen into the waters.
The sun was hot
and their feast great
and so they paid well for it.
Clinging, swooning youths they were
sinking in embrace,
the elemental lovers:
the molecules of the oxygen and the iron joined
and lay down together in the mud beneath waves
which prayed over them
in whispers
and laid long smooth sheets over the honeymoon bed.
The sheets frothed and laced
and the song was the old one of the pairing of things,
the kind where the two lovers
so different
now joined in their attraction
make some thing at last
under the weight of time and pressure
that is the gift of the pairing,
that is of them
and beyond them.
It was well done
and so, in this case,
iron ore.

People
so recent
and thickly scrambled in their thinking
go digging up the earth
cooking it
and shaping it
to kill other people—
they dig up an old and venerable tale
an alchemical marriage
and use it to stop hearts.

Bullets
shells
bombs
exploding metal
is mined from simple earths
grown in the dark
then shaped for death
so that the interfering explosion of the refined parts
made bloody rags of the young man
my father taught to read.
He was so young he could only grow a bit of beard
and no mustache.
Once upon a time . . .
he spoke to my father with wonder
of the idea of indoor plumbing,
of his trip across the sea,
and especially of his sweetheart with hair so red
that he lay awake at night
electric with the knowledge
that she had chosen him
and him alone.
My father helped him to write love letters,
to put some poetry to his words
upon paper that would last longer than the boy,
for in a moment
that was with you
all of your days
you saw what in earth would be a field ploughed
to accept seed
was instead flesh
interrupted from its firm rhythms,
its flow and pulse,
churned and planted instead
with the metal that made death.
The boy’s mouth spoke blood.
He looked at you
and you saw his life fall away
from his love’s hair of flaming maples
of ropes of honey fire
on the burning end of a log.
As the light in his eyes dimmed
he sank into your own eyes
as into the water’s deeps
heavy with the weight of unbearable mystery
into your molten core,
and the log burned there
his sweetheart’s flaming hair
that he longed to bury his face in once again
and never would.
You kept hearing his words
and you could not stop him speaking
all of your days.

On reconnaissance
you stepped silent as the grave
behind an enemy guard,
pulled your knife
across his soft throat.
The blood was wet and sticky.
You looked out
over the acres of moonlit trees
whose beauty filled your eyes
even as the enemy soldier
slumped against you
with his full weight
as a lover does.

You cleaned your knife later.
You were all somebody’s children once.

Back in camp
you corrected the map
showing the dangerous places,
the weaknesses
and possibilities
in the pattern of the land,
who filled the buildings
where lay the encampments,
the men
eating, smoking,
sleeping and on watch
the sergeants and boys,
the enemy,
the guns.

Unthinking
incessant
reflexive
you hugged your rifle,
always one hand touching
or else the strap pressing against your chest,
holding the gun’s reassuring weight.
What is this world
where such sensations are small comfort against
the absolute nakedness of flesh
where bullets can pull their fingers through?

You smoked Pall Malls from home
shook a second cigarette from the pack
offered it
and forced a smile
for another boy who needed both.
One of the last smiles he would be given
was a gift from you.
A shell found him the next day.
There was not much left,
and for a long time when you smiled
at some brightness or humor
you felt your mouth
so quickly
and saw him calm with what you had given
and the futility and the human despair of it.
The dead boy was there again
and your mouth was full of ash.

Long before I was born
and long after
in the middle of the night you saw the boys
you soldiered with and cared for,
most I didn’t know about.
You continued to see them
until the end of your days
even unto the morning of your own death,
those boys who lived behind your eyes
in your old heart
repaired and failing,
failed.

Your face before and after the war
was different entire,
brave in both photos—
the first like the surface of water, still,
expectant of the coming storm,
but untroubled, smooth.
In the one after
you stood on a Belgian street—
beneath your helmet
your face
was a pool bottomless,
alive in spite of itself,
this time the stillness carrying dark water
full of the dead.

Oh, the pain that families carry—
that I carry
in telling this story
about my father
and every other father
the dead ones
whose children were unborn
the live ones
whose children
know only the part of their fathers
that the shells did not rupture
the cathedrals of their hearts
with fallen walls
and blackened timbers
the faces of the angels dark with soot
this one’s wing missing
Jesus with his hand raised
in blessing
but the stone of his body
made dust from his belly down
the blue and ruby windows
atomized.

Afterwards when people speak
it is often that they name it The War
no matter which insanity
the civilized world
has collapsed into.

Whenever we went camping
the car carried
my complicated family
composed of treasures and trash
ore and tailings
wonders and junk.
The car carried us
on long summer vacations
filled with adventure
and screaming fights.
We’d leave at dawn
because my father was a morning person
who barked orders and could not understand
how he could “boss 300 men at the factory
and not you two women.”
We two women
did not follow orders.
My mother rolled her eyes and said,
“Oh, Wilson!”
(His Swiss mother named him
after the president
who waged the war to end all wars).
And when we did get out of the house
in the burnt umber station wagon
the sun not too far up
somehow, something was always left behind.
My parents always remembered what they’d forgot
about five miles down the road
at the first stoplight—
I had the spot marked—
“Oh! the coffee pot
Goddamn it!”
(Always the really vital equipment).
Sometimes mom, sometimes dad
made the confession,
there would be an almost erupting fight
halted by a bond
I didn’t understand until years later.
Dad would say
“It’s bad luck to go back,
we’ll go to the hardware store and get one,”
and mom would say
“Yeah, sweetheart, let’s do that,
honey.”
Because one day
a long time ago
somebody my father loved
went back
and that is where the shell found him.

All those boys gone
my father carrying them
my father gone now
and I carrying them all
even the ones he never spoke of.

I know people
children’s children’s children
with the stone and wood
of their grandfather’s churches
temples and mosques
groves and standing stones
erupted and silent
in rubble on their heart’s floor
all those boys
gone.

Love.
Let us learn to dig up love.
Pierce our hearts
with that prime old element
made from iron,
gold, and
blood.

© Kathleen Dunbar

Using The Words Shaman and Shamanism

Using the Words Shaman and Shamanism
By Kathleen Dunbar

What do we name ourselves as practitioners of archetypal and energetic healing? I use the words shaman and shamanism to refer to myself and my healing practice. These are ancient words for an even older practice that spans virtually all the epochs of human existence. I want to be sensitive to the culture that offers these specific words. I want to be true to the universality of healing practices and use a word that is woven into the web of life. I’ve given a lot of thought to my personal decision, and thought I would share my perspective.

The specific forms of healing I have chosen to learn draw from healing practices that are archetypal rather than tribe-specific. I believe that healing and medicine arise both from human experience, and from culturally specific practices (which are also human, of course, but integrally woven into a specific peoples’ lives and stories). Culturally specific practices need to be honored and used only where gifted by a healer from that culture.

After a great deal of thought I have chosen to continue to use the word shaman as a descriptor. I have had transpersonal experiences since I was a young child that have lead me specifically to be called to this path and fulfill this calling, and which I honor by engaging in them. On a gut level this word has always resonated with me. Indeed, it is this word that called me to dive in and set upon this path a long time ago in a bookstore where I found Joan Halifax’s book Shamanic Voices calling out to me from the shelf.

The word shaman comes from the Tungus-speaking peoples of Siberia. This word began to come into common parlance in the western world in the 1960s when Mircea Iliade and other anthropologists described their observations of the Tungus people’s spiritual and healing practices. There began to be an interest in the western world for healing methods that were based upon ancient—and inherently human—practices that intertwine the human psyche, archetypes, stewardship of the planet, and “non-ordinary” states of consciousness. Personally, it feels to me that a magical door opened in Siberia to a world wracked by two wars that had engulfed the planet and that was hungering for raised consciousness.

I feel that a shaman or medicine person is one who continues to practice ways to be able to recognize and move the ego aside in order to access transpersonal states for the
benefit of healing. In these states the shaman offers him or herself up to Spirit to be guided in healing practices for a particular client and for community. I believe that the healing a client wants and is ready for is available to them, often on a not-so-conscious level, but one that their spirit is prepared for. I am the midwife that helps that birth-into-new-being take place, but ultimately they are the one doing the work, and having to continue to do the work once they go home.

I don’t know why this oddball gift was given to me! But it was, and I honor Spirit and my own higher being by using it to the best of my ability. Recently someone asked why I use the word shaman and practice shamanism if I am not an indigenous person. I want to honor the cultural practices of peoples by not claiming them and using them. I also want to honor what has been given to my spirit and heart and hands to do.

Medicine woman, midwife of the spirit, healer—these could be names I use (and sometimes I do call myself a Medicine Auntie) but I prefer the word shaman. I have my particular offerings in that regard, which are specific. It would be weird to me for a doctor not to want to call him or herself a doctor. I feel it appropriate to name myself as something and own that, while understanding my specialties and limitations (ie., when to refer to others with different specialities).

I thank the Tungus people for this word shaman, and no, I have not personally asked them if I could use this word that is probably pretty sacred to them. I want to continually understand my blinders regarding privilege. And, in a way that I can’t really put into words, that is the word that Spirit wants me to use.

I shared my thoughts with one of my dear shaman mentors, Jon Rasmussen, or Shaman Jon. The comment he added to my thoughts was really helpful for me, and clearly put into words what I have been feeling. I will include it here. Jon says,

“There is a word or set of words in every language to describe shaman, just as there is a word in every language for Soul, spirit, God, etc.  And at the same time, since humanity is now such a global village, it makes sense to use a single word, and I feel there is no better choice at this point than shaman.  Even my Q’ero teachers (who in Quechua would call themselves paqo for men, and laika for women) refer to themselves now with the word ‘shaman’ because of its accepted universality. I still have a note with Don Francisco’s phone number which he gave me where he wrote, ‘Francisco, Chaman Qeror.’ The people of Tungus can be proud that we consider the word in their language to represent that role across the globe.”

So it is in the spirit of universality, and with respect to the Tungus people, and to our huge global village, that I dedicate my practice as a shaman.

If you’d like to learn more about my healing practice, you can click this link: kathleendunbar.net

Also, I have made an album of original trance-ambient-world music to journey to, called Medicine Songs, by my alter ego Blue Lilah. I’m so delighted that it’s been nominated for Best World Music album in the soon-to-be-announced Just Plain Folks Music Awards. You can check out the music at this link bluelilah.com

Blessings, Kathleen

Photos by Kathleen Dunbar
Portrait Photography by Tamarind Free Jones