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The Dancing Lawn is a piece in 13 parts, written and produced by The Galileo Brothers.
It was recorded in Panama City, Izmir, Culver City & The Chapel Of Our Lady Of All The Saints, Oxford on the Rooster Mobile and in London at Eastcote Studios between Easter 1998 and Michaelmas 2002.
The Dancing Lawn
The Galileo Brothers: Surprisingly little is known for certain about the Galileo Brothers. Although they have worked together for 25 years, The Dancing Lawn is only their third album. They probably assisted Harry Partch on his monumental unfinished project Shipwrecked in Atlantis. They were almost certainly responsible for the orchestral arrangements on Riley Davison's 1969 album American Roadhouse. Their first album Mapping the Heart, made in 1975, was a critical success (The Times wrote 'It is hard to believe that a better album will be made in the current millennium') but a commercial failure. They settled in Montana and were rumoured to be working with the composer George Crumb. The eleven sections of their second album 'Til I Found What I Came Looking For were based on the eleven mystic histograms (recently discovered by E. Westman Godfrey in the Bodleian Library in Oxford) used by the American Indians for dancing the divisions of their land. The album was ignored by critics and public, and is now almost impossible to find. They built their own recording studio, The C of Tranquillity, but it is thought to have been burned to the ground in an accident with a valve amplifier.
Bells Don Della Pelouse
Ban-di Prudence Ng
Clarinet Benito Madoong
Piano Jorge Shwinger
Solo Voice Nathan Canter
Voices The Monks of the Ecumenical Church of San Lucas
Strings The Mason Benedict String Coalition
Strings arranged by Tom de Sade & Julie-Ann Anderson
Don Della Pelouse was raised on the Pacific Island of New Caledonia. He trained as a monk at the Ecumenical Church of San Lucas, as a campanologist with Edith Westman Godfrey, as a percussionist with Russ Hartmeyer, and as a marionette-maker with Pierre Bouillotte. For a long time he was a member of the percussion ensemble Down Beat, and made puppets for El Cirque Marmolejo. He now lives in Oxford, where he breeds rare bees. He seldom performs, but he is a bell-ringer at the Church of All the Saints and he has recently given a series of lectures at the Pitt Rivers Museum entitled Shaping the Swarm: The Foundations of Apicculture.
Prudence and Patience Ng are twin sisters. They were born in Yunan Province in China in 1954. They both studied the ban-di, a kind of wooden flute, from the age of three and were already giving recitals when Mao Tse-tung's Cultural Revolution resulted in the confiscation of their instruments. Unwillingly, they became members of the Red Guard. At the end of the Cultural Revolution they discovered in the attic of their former house a ban-di which their father had hidden in 1964. A copy was made and the sisters restarted their career. They have made worldwide tours and are currently recording an album with the Corsican choir A Pagjhiella and the daira virtuoso Al Haq. (Their father, Zhang Ng, was a member of a scratch orchestra formed by Chou En-lai in 1946 to tour Yunan Province. Instruments were brought by train from Peking and local soldiers were chosen to learn them from scratch. After six months they were able to play Schubert's Marche Militaire and other simple pieces. They marched 1000 miles through the province, stopping to play concerts in villages. The orchestra was disbanded in 1955 in an anti-rightists campaign, but allowed to reform in 1971.)
Benito Madoong is the illegitimate son of colonial tea planter Maj. Benjamin Levre-ffaldicote. Prefering to remain in the far east, he took the name of his adoptive father. Although he studied clarinet, his earliest influence was the gamelan orchestra. The rhythmic repetition of the gamelan music led him to develop the technique for which he is now famous - trilled thirds supported by circular breathing. This effect is more difficult to produce on the traditional Boehm system instrument used by contemporary western clarinettists and as a consequence, Madoong developed the closed hole BM Clarinet, which he plays on this recording. Other players who have adopted the BM system include Dr. Heaton Rodriquez and Acker Bilk.He recently commissioned a clarinet concerto from Leon Szilard, but returned the score immediately with a message saying "Too many notes". The matter is now sub judice. The concerto is as yet unperformed.
Jorge Shwinger's credits read like a who's who of jazz. After a short apprenticeship with Count Basie, he was a rehearsal pianist for Duke Ellington and made his first recordings in the mid-1950's with Billy Strayhorn. Sessions with Adderley, Coltrane, George Russell, Eric Dolphy and Miles Davies followed. His extraordinary physical likeness to Joe Zawinul enabled him to stand in occasionally for Zawinul in Weather Report concerts. He has also made a major contribution to classical music, recording all Stamboulian's piano sonatas for Emblem, as well as being the accompanist of choice for many performers such as the oboist Artemis Brocklehurst and the clarinettist Dr Heaton Rodrigquez.
Nathan Canter studied singing with the great flamenco master, Pepe de la Matrona. Originally known as a voice-over artist, his success in the advertising business let him to start his own agency Canter De Wit Chesney. After selling out to Wacco Bonde BV, he turned to script-writing. His many West End shows include the award-winning One Foot in the Gravy. He now lives in Provence
The Monks of the Ecumenical Church of San Lucas
The Ecumenical Church of San Lucas looks west into the Pacific from its position in the Mountains above Cap San Lucas. It is no coincidence that the church is sited on the Tropic of Cancer. Because of its zenithal projection, this line is believed by the Bajian Mexicans to have a spiritual connection with the Old Testament prophets, running, as it does, through the Red Sea. It was in the ruins of the adjoining monastery that the fragments of musical notation were found that form the basis of E. Westman Godfrey's treatise on the Periodic Table (1). The monks belong to the Chapter of St. Luca del Obregon, a 3rd century holistic holy man, who was a disciple of Joseph of Arimethea and are lead in their chant by Mgr. Baltasar.
(1) See entry for E. Westman Godfrey (Pt. 13)
The Mason Benedict String Coalition emerged from one of Sandor Vegh's summer schools at Prussia Cove, Cornwall. The violists Mitch Mason and Roger Benedict invited the violinists Sheila B Nelson and Bettina Davidov, the cellists Blossom Chi and Jessica Dorf and the double bass players Hank Butt and Daphne Petrescu, in fact the cream of the year's string players, to form a kind of supergroup, specifically to do session work. They recently recorded Jody Fox-Talbot's soundtrack for Walter Sussmeyer's film In the Skin of a Lion, based on the book by Michael Ondaatje.
Tom de Sade & Julie-Ann Anderson are the founders, with Jody Fox-Talbot, of Pink Notes, the gay and lesbian orchestra, and the Pink Choir, for which they have written many pieces, Notable are Anderson's Bohemia Symphony based on themes from Queen's Night at the Opera, an arrangement of the popular song Lipstick on your Collar for six counter-tenors and de Sade's contraversial HIV oratorio Positive Negative. de Sade, who is a virtuosic pianist and conductor, has frequently been compared to Gerald Finzi. He collaborated with Cuban trumpeter Alfredo Valentin and jazz pianist Jorge Schwinger on the corruscating Blood on the Carpet, which was premiered by the Krenek Ensemble. His opera Ruling Passions, about the life of the gay MP Tom Driberg, was a huge success at the 1998 Alfriston Festival, of which he is now artistic director. Anderson has been a prime mover in the setting up of WOCA, the Women Composers Alliance, which has been active in campaigning for equal pay for women composers. Her Sperm Count, for eight clarinets and sixteen bass clarinets, recently won the MacAlpine Prize; a multi-track recording is being made for WOCA Classics by Benito Madoong, William Richards and Dr. Heaton Rodriquez. She is currently writing a double bass concertante for Daphne Petrescu.
Alastair Graham was born in Cravatte, Ohio. After studying Holographic Design at Esalen in the early 1960s, he worked extensively with Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Werner Erhart, Scott Mackenzie and New Riders of the Purple Sage. In 1971, he was acquitted by a Culver City jury of the attempted murder of the writer William Burroughs. Since then he has lived as a recluse in the hills above San Francisco, producing only a slim autobiographical volume Rainbows in my Garden.
Ban-di Patience Ng
Guitar Bill Sonnel
Harp Angelica Veryan
Piano Robert Goldsboro
Hand Drum Martin Ditcham
Clarinets Lewis Nirana and Warren Nirana
Mandolin Josey Wood
Percussion Pete Boito
Bass Leon Cotton
Patience Ng See Biographies Part 1
Bill Sonnel came to public attention as the creative force behind Thoughtful Flamingos, the New York band widely credited with starting the Avant-garde Psychedelia movement. After their demise, he toured briefly with Bill Sonnel's Dark Star. His prolific gifts as a composer encouraged him to start a label, God's Piano and a studio, Magnetic Magritte. As well as his own recordings (which frequently appear as 6 album boxed sets), his label also released the critically acclaimed Theatre of Dreams by Wok Opera, an ensemble that included Carlos Vermeer and Jessica Dorf. Sonnel's best known work is, ironically, a collection of pop song cover versions Or Other in which the titles of all the tracks begin with the word "Something".
Angelica Veryan was raised in the Somerset village of Huish Episcopi on the edge of the Levels. Although the house in which she grew up changed hands long ago, her first harp can still be seen in an upper window. After studying at the Royal Academy with Marisa Robles, she formed the Firenze Trio with Atalanta Huxtable-Evans and St. John Garnon. They have played frequently at most of the major European Festivals and their latest recording of 15th century French motets arranged by Peter Warlock was said by the Los Angeles Globe to be "illuminatingly honest".
Robert Goldsboro's smooth playing style and personable aspect have ensured that he has had few periods of idleness. From his earliest gig as the lounge pianist at the New Jersey Metropole, it was clear that he was destined for greatness. Destiny was fulfilled when he became Musical Director for soul god Barry White in November 1982, although by that time White's glory days were behind him. As an arranger and rehearsal conductor Goldsboro has worked intermittently with the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra, most recently in his own orchestral arrangement of Arvo Part's Te Deum.
Martin Ditcham spent the 1970's playing jazz and experimental music with Henry Cow, Nucleus and Jimmy Witherspoon. He formed the Jazz Sluts with Julian Marshall and when Marshall moved to New York to make two albums with Steely Dan producer Gary Katz, Ditcham went too. Throughout the 80's and 90's he played on hundreds of albums, working, amongst others, with the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Chris Rea, Roxy Music, Everything But The Girl, Talk Talk, Manic Street Preachers, Beautiful South and Sade with whom he co-wrote "Sweetest Taboo". He was a founder member of Man Jumping with Orlando Gough and he has now completed a new album with Marshall, working together as Umbrella People. Titled Selling Water by the River it is released by Shaping the Invisible, catalogue number ST103.
Lewis Nirana, 71 and his son Warren Nirana, 46 are of Irish American stock.
Lewis sailed from Belfast Lough on the S.V.Caspian bound for the New World. He arrived in New York on 11 July 1937, the day on which George Gershwin died. Although he had no formal musical training, his natural ability enabled him to obtain work on Tin Pan Alley working for song pluggers Remicks on West Twenty-eighth Street. There, in a cubicle, he would pound the piano for 10 hours a day demonstrating the songs for potential performers. At night he was expected to visit vaudeville houses to check on whether Remicks songs were being used in the various acts. A chance meeting with Paul Whiteman lead to Lewis joining Whiteman's band as a clarinettist. He formed his own quartet in the late 50's. Of his recordings, Vamping at the Village Vanguard captures best his exuberant style. He met the Galileo Brothers when they were assisting Harry Partch with Shipwrecked in Atlantis, a project on which he also contributed. Lewis is the only musician to have played on all three Galileo Brothers albums.
Warren was born in Greenwich Village, New York. He spent a large part of his childhood appearing in The Flying Niranas with his uncle Finbar, a magician who had taught him at an early age how to levitate, or as the sceptics have said, how to appear to levitate. (No-one has come up with a satisfactory explanation of how they did it, although Finbar is known to have spent several years studying the skill in Nepal.) They performed together, travelling all over the United States until Finbar had a serious accident in Culver City in 1986, breaking both legs after falling out of the air when twenty feet above the ground. The Flying Niranas was disbanded and Warren took up the clarinet. Amazingly he was awarded a place at the Julliard School only four years later, where he studied with Dr. Heaton Rodriguez, who was at that time the visiting Emeritus Professor of reed instruments. He has had a distinguished career playing a wide range of music from Mozart to Birtwistle. He is a particular devotee of the music of Walter Zimmerman. He recently removed to Ireland, where he lives with his wife Catherine NiHoulihan the whistle player.
Josey Wood see Biographies Part 7
Pete Boito, the French Canadian percussionist, is well known in opera circles. The fact that his late father was the successful Seattle property developer Basil Boito (who with English architect Piers Gough redesigned many international waterfronts) has enabled Boito to enjoy a reputation as an eligible man about town and patron of the Arts. He works infrequently, as there is little call for his style of improvised playing in classical opera, his guiding passion. However, he has contributed from time to time to minor pieces by Glass and Nyman. He met the Galileo Brothers through a mutual friend, Alastair Graham, who persuaded them to use Boito, despite their better judgement. Boito's legendary use of recreational pharmaceuticals is significantly at odds with the Brothers somewhat fundamentalist attitudes and by all accounts the recording process was far from easy. Boito has commissioned a number of new works for percussion and drum ensembles, notably Raindrops, Keep Falling by Schaun Tozer and Phased Withdrawal by Jeremy Peyton Jones.
Leon Cotton developed his shuffle style playing tea-chest bass with the Philippe Vitrine Jug Band. Following a U.S. tour in which they supported Dan Hicks, Cotton received an invitation to join The Hot Licks with whom he spent two years. Controversially, he was dropped just before the recording of Striking It Rich. He joined together with ex-members of Asleep at the Wheel and Blue Oyster Cult to form Riders in the Rain (about whom Randy Newman subsequently wrote). It was during a performance at the Mississippi Bluegrass Festival that Cotton took the decision to become a Rosicrucian and, in 1979, together with R. Hubor-Bland, he founded the Bishop's Lawn, an occult study centre now based in Culver City.
Marimbas Russ Hartmeyer
Brigadier M. Nkoloso
Mwenda Makiadi Abelo
Flute Daniel Litungo
Piano Julian Martial
Trumpet Paradise Johnson
Tenor Sax Snooky Parker
Trombone Newton La Plantaire
Bass Nelson Apalas
Timbale Carmen "La Passionara" Santiago
Kit Dita Martinez
Percussion Pete Boito
Bass Drum Carlos "Chuche" Vermeer