During the first 24 hours, songs from Under the Rose were downloaded more than 9,000 times and as I am posting this, early Thursday Morning, the number has risen to 17,000. That’s a nice start. Roshi Joan will include a link and description of the album in the next Upaya newsletter.

The last rehearsal went well, and we came up with a set list. Morning Arrival in Goa is back in the set, Sao Paulo gains a new end-section with killer drumming, the new, and still unnamed tune will be performed, and we might do Serenity on Ultracloud… lots of new sections and changed grooves – killer groove for Heart Still/Beating:

Mercury is in retrograde. Backup yer computers. Get Canton’s retrograde widget here. This widget for Mac OS X helps you from being surprised when the planet Mercury “goes retrograde.”

File under oddity or sign of the times: I just bought the three CD set of A State of Wonder by Glenn Gould. Indeed wonderful recordings of Bach from 1955 and 1981, for $15.98. The mp3 album is $24.99. Nine dollars difference, and the mp3s cost MORE…

The Morning light is coming up and I have to get going. Must pack…


The rehearsal with the trio yesterday went very well. I wrote a new piece last week and it sounded nice right off the bat! More rehearsing today and tomorrow!

The webpage for Under the Rose is live now, at: Please pass it on!

Brenda left a question:

Brenda Says: September 13th, 2009 at 11:35
I have spent a little bit of time learning to play a dulcimer. Very little time to tell the truth. What is the difference between a dulcimer and zither? Dulcimer seems every simple in finger placement and my children were taught to play homemade dulcimer of octagon shaped to stand in front of as a teaching dulcimer. Many people craft dulcimers in these hills. Eight children could strum, learn, and perform together. In Appalachia, many people play the dulcimer. Does the zither sound much different? I think the sound of a dulcimer would be very complimentary to your sound.

When I speak of the zither, I mean the concert zither – see this wikipedia entry – with a fretted fingerboard. The instrument you discribe might be the Appalachian Dulcimer. The two instrument are remotely related, but while the Appalachian Dulcimer has three or four strings, the concert zither has 32 to 37, depending on the model.

Under the Rose

under the rose :: rahim alhaj ; ottmar liebert ; jon gagan ; barrett martin

Album Webpage

The webpage is live now. You can download the music for free, but the musicians involved in the making of this recording invite you to make a tax deductible contribution to Direct Aid Iraq. Read more at the webpage:

I hope you will help me spread the word about the album! It is very easy to embed the music on your blog or website, using the SoundCloud widget. Just go to our webpage and click on the embed symbol. It looks like this – I encircled it in red in this screenshot:

That will bring up these options:


Monday Lava

This is one of the two Lava tracks I worked on last week, Snake Loop Tk5. You can download the high quality mp3 here. The title of the track comes from the percussion loop that appears when the Flamenco guitar solos. It’s from 1993’s Snakecharmer version on the album The Hours Between Night + Day. This track was recorded in 1995 and I am not sure how we achieved this. I did not have ProTools yet. Maybe we put the big 2-inch multi-track tape on the analog recorder – I think I was using a Revox 24-track machine in 1995 and the Sony 24-track arrived the following year – and simply made a mix of just the percussion, recorded that onto a DAT and transferred that to the 2-inch reel we recorded Lava on… Maybe Jon remembers.


Friday afternoon I worked on new guitar arrangements for the Villa Montalvo show and for the upcoming solo concert tour in October. Wrote a new Rumba in the process. Current list of project ideas:

1. Trio album – with Jon Gagan and Michael Chavez. Flamenco guitar, bass guitar + drumkit. Few if any overdubs. And, no synth – like La Semana.
2. Solo album. Mostly Flamenco guitar, with some Zither sounds (((that is one hard instrument to play!)))
3. Movie: mixing performance, such as this one, timelapse video like this and this, and stuff from my slideshow – like this. I think a good balance might be 30-40 minute of live performance and another 30-40 minutes of other visuals. The question is whether to mix it up, meaning cutting from live performnce to a time-lapse and to slide-show and back, or whether to keep the live performances uncut? The former would be more poetic and film-like, but arguments can be made for keeping the performances pure.

Well, the question may be academic. As of last month we had to cut off our CD distributor – meaning we stopped shipping CDs to them – because they owe us too much money. As a result some of my CDs might be in short supply in some stores, but we can’t let the debt get too large. I hope this has a happy ending, because I like our distributor and would hate to have to look for a new one. So, really, I shouldn’t think of making a movie, when I don’t even have CD distribution for certain. But, it may be fun. Certainly a long-term project as I have to learn how to edit movies first… :-)

In the evening I spent a couple of hours in the studio, making changes to the Lava mixes (((previous Lava mixes can be found here, here and here))) I had done Thursday evening. I noticed that the Ultrasone headphones have some strange bumps in the low-end reproduction. One guitar in particular sounded fine on 3 pairs of loudspeakers as well as Sony and Stax headphones, but rather ugly on the Ultrasones.

Rode the Mariachi Bullitt to Whole Foods this morning. I ran out of Illy Beans at home and the coffeeshop I rode past was still closed, so I made some drip coffee when I got home after grocery shopping. Yes, I left home un-caffeinated! That was a first in many moons.

Oh, the Bullitt behaved very well with four grocery bags. Getting up my hill was good exercise! When I arrived home I realized I haven’t taken my car out of the garagen since picking up Bella at the vet on Tuesday evening. Nice.

The manual coffee grinder was handed down from my grandmother to my mother and then to me. Cleaning tip for grinders: fill up with white rice kernels and grind – that removes most of the oily coffee grime in the grinding mechanism. Should work just as well with electric grinders, I think.

By the way, if you want to view, or download, the 10,000+ photos I have on Flickr you should read this. Joining Flickr is free and easy. Just noticed that only about half of you have added me as a Flickr contact.