Blackest Dirt: Porcupine Follow Up

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carrie
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Blackest Dirt: Porcupine Follow Up

Post by carrie »

As most of you will remember, Daniel Bingamon organized a fundraiserfor the Porcupine Medical Center on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. I was lucky enough to be among the raffle winners, and one of the whistles I chose was Daniel's Ahava Rabba whistle. Being the practical type, I thought, when it arrived, "Okay, now I'll find a song for my band to sing/play so I can use this." I looked around for a while but wasn't finding anything that matched what I had in my imagination--a folky, old-country waltz tempo. I decided to write one--and that's when some surprising doors opened. From pretty much out of nowhere, I suddenly remembered that one of my aunts told me about how she would feel so desperate as a young girl--extreme poverty, anti-Semitism, many brothers and sisters and troubled parents--and how she would seek some comfort from her rabbi at such times. Once, she said, he told her something that stuck with her: "Only in the blackest dirt can the richest fruits be grown." That seemed something to work with for the song, and it raised my interest about the conditions my father's family left when they came to the United States. There is no one left from his generation now, and alas our family history-keeping has not been good, but I did remember that the family had come from Bialystok (though most of my dad's siblings were born in the US).

From that point on, as I researched the time and place, my heart became an open wound.... The terrible story is here. The 100th anniversary of the pogrom is June 1-3.

And the song I wrote, The Blackest Dirt, is here(5MB) or here (1.6MB). Many thanks to my band for being so quick to work on it with me and for their beautiful music and friendship.

So, if anyone is still reading (and thank you for that!), I just wanted to share the song, because it feels so connected to this community, and this story: of how a generous-hearted fellow whistler had the idea to help a medical clinic on a reservation where descendants of the first Americans--the only people who were not immigrants--still live in desperate poverty, and how by my good fortune I was given a whistle that turned out to be not just a whistle but also a key to doors I didn't even know I needed to open, and how, when I see the millions of immigrants marching through the streets, I see my own family arriving at Ellis Island, and how this little community in its most unusual way helps me know myself better.

Thanks again to Daniel, and to everyone on C&F who knows that a whistle is not just a whistle (oh stop it, you guys).

Carol
Last edited by carrie on Tue May 09, 2006 7:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Alan
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Post by Alan »

Wow... gave me goose pimples!

Hurrah for you, hurrah for Daniel, hurrah for C&F!

Heck, hurrah for everybody!
Alan
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Post by peeplj »

Nice nice nice.

Well done.

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Denny
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Post by Denny »

Alan wrote:Wow... gave me goose pimples!

Hurrah for you, hurrah for Daniel, hurrah for C&F!

Heck, hurrah for everybody!

I'll second Alan.
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Post by emmline »

I assume it's the whistle you won that I hear rising to the top between the vocal verses and at the end?
That's really nice.
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Post by Walden »

Thanks, Carol. It is important for us to learn from the past.
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Post by Cynth »

That's a very nice song. I would be very pleased had I written that.

The story of the pogrom is horrible. I find that I can't even imagine what it would be like to live knowing something like that was coming. And to think that many people still do live that way. I don't see how people can go on.

And I agree. Imagine what it would have been like for our ancestors to be turned away when they came over here. Whether to escape certain death or poverty, a lot of them were in a pretty desperate situation. I don't want to be the one to turn others away.

Thank you for the really thoughtful post.
Diligentia maximum etiam mediocris ingeni subsidium. ~ Diligence is a very great help even to a mediocre intelligence.----Seneca
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Post by Daniel_Bingamon »

Still wiping the tears, I am overwhelmed emotionally. :cry:
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Post by dubhlinn »

Lovely stuff.

A very impressive and emotional bit of work.
I'm with Walden on this about learning from the past.
Hopefully it will help us find a way into the future.

And maybe some more songs like this...

Slan,
D. :wink:
And many a poor man that has roved,
Loved and thought himself beloved,
From a glad kindness cannot take his eyes.

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Post by Jerry Freeman »

Amen.

Profoundly touching work, Carol.

Best wishes,
Jerry
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Post by SteveShaw »

Beautiful, beautiful.
"Last night, among his fellow roughs,
He jested, quaff'd and swore."

They cut me down and I leapt up high
I am the life that'll never, never die.
I'll live in you if you'll live in me -
I am the lord of the dance, said he!
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carrie
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Post by carrie »

Thanks so much, friends, for taking the time to listen and for the kind words. It really means a lot to me to share the story and song here. And yes, that's Daniel's lovely whistle.

Carol
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Post by Innocent Bystander »

Very moving. Good song.
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Post by izzarina »

It's an absolutely beautiful song, Carol. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
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Post by Wombat »

A very moving song, beautifully sung and played, Carol. Absolutely lovely, yet starkly and profoundly, sad.

We must never forget.
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