Category Archives: Travel

Pans Labyrinth: Love Is All You Need

Love is All You Need by Pan Bourcier Hidalgo

Every cliché that you have ever heard in your life is true. Although in times of high emotion it is highly unnecessary to quote a universal truth, because we don’t need to state with words what Love is all you need: Pan's Labyrinthwe feel to be true. One of the most quoted truths is to follow your heart and following suit with that is that love is all you need. These are symbiotic, but who wants to sound like a Beatles record? (unless you are of course a Beatle..beetle?)

All too often we get caught up in trying to conceptualize what it means to be a human that exists in time and space atop a spinning rock that is colliding through the universe. I used to think that I was crazy when I would follow love, even if it took me across the country (or world for that matter). However, those journeys have been the most exciting rides of my life and have taught me the most valuable lessons.

The universe speaks to us in a language that we can understand; we have an inherent desire to experience love through another being, this brings us to such a tremendously full and present state that there is no other place that one would rather be when they are in that place. It is a full bodied, blissful place that leaves us feeling suspended in time. The moment our analytical mind comes in it brings us crashing to the floor wondering what happened.

This is something that I have been mulling over and sitting with and the end result is that as feeling beings we should follow bliss but follow it unabashedly and blindly. It will lead you to the
greatest lessons and greatest moments of your life. I am not saying that you will be skipping in daises and sliding down rainbows the whole time but ultimately it will lead you to having a deeper, more meaningful Love is all you need: Pan's Labyrinthrelationship with yourself and the world you experience.

Traveling to different geographical places puts us in a different time and space with ourselves. We have different mirrors that echo our reflection. It creates different lenses to see the world (and essentially ourselves) through. This place just so happened to be New Orleans for me. I realized that there is no wrong way to do anything; life is about discovery and experiences. Do everything the exact way that YOU would do it. Not the way your mom would, not the way your dad would, not the way your friends would, but the way that you would. Your individual style of living life fully is valid and truest to yourself.

Explore, discover, try new things, but most of all follow love blindly- it will lead you to yourself.
*****


Pan Burcier-HidalgoPan Bourcier Hidalgo is a Dancer who is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has relocated and embarked on a journey of discovery in New Orleans, Louisiana. Join her as she learns about her new city and herself in Pan’s Labyrinth!

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as multimedia books while promoting literacy in our communities. We are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market.
Community Publishing: From the Community For the Community

Movement is My Sanctuary

Pan’s Labyrinth: Movement is My Sanctuary

Movement is My Sanctuary by Pan Bourcier Hidalgo

It is easy to forget yourself when you are in motion. Inertia has its own way of making our blood pump and synchronize with the present place and time. There is an insatiable desire I carry around with me on a consistent basis, some would call this the human condition, I call it passion. My desire seems to be amplified significantly in comparison to many people I have experienced. It is vicious and feels similar to a black hole in my chest cavity that is consistently wrenching matter into its center, eating it and burning for more. As blissful as this desire can be, Movement is My Sanctuaryit can also be a tricky entity that challenges the mind to a game of chess on a board of sanity. This is where inertia enters stage right. Movement has been my sanctuary, my solace and a healing force over the years.

Life moves on with or without you. Some can try as hard as possible to remain stationary, but this is an illusion. Stillness is not a construct in this universe. Collapsing down into a more succinct subject matter, we come to the trees. The tree is a strong force and the symbiosis of its anatomy to human life is more intertwined than one could possibly understand. New Orleans is full of magnificent, inviolable trees. There is
a primeval wisdom that exists in all lifeforms. Reasons being that we are made of strands of information and have access to this information, through practice and receptivity we can tap into this vibration.

When life is too heavy to bear, climbing a tree stimulates the blood to pump, gives it motion,
and the chance to pulse through and mirror us into a digestible pieces of matter we call the mind. Mind can be a deep, dark place; Movement is My Sanctuarywhen eyes remain shut it is even harder to see that we are the light filling the landscape. In all the trees I have climbed in New Orleans I have found a different story, a subtle and wonderful story waiting to be told. Symbiosis with the trees brings more than comfort to my spirit, it makes me understand that when I laugh, the tree laughs with me, we breathe together and share a shell. The home of the mind, no matter how dark, can be illuminated by a tree.
*****


Pan Burcier-HidalgoPan Bourcier Hidalgo is a Dancer who is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has relocated and embarked on a journey of discovery in New Orleans, Louisiana. Join her as she learns about her new city and herself in Pan’s Labyrinth!

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as multimedia books while promoting literacy in our communities. We are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market.
Community Publishing: From the Community For the Community

Shape Shifting

Pan’s Labyrinth: Shape Shifting

Shape Shifting by Pan Bourcier Hidalgo

There is a hesitation that breeds creativity. This momentum is raw potential that exists inside of us all. The gestation process gives birth to songs, paintings- human expression that helps us Shape Shiftingbetter understand ourselves. Sometimes what we wish to express cannot be said with words. The most beautiful landscapes of our minds are painted with feeling. If we cannot learn how to ride the tides of our own experiences in our bodies, how do we expect to flow to the wonderful places that life means to take us? Resistance is a very human reaction to life. Resistance to change, when the reality is that the only consistent factor we can rely on is change.

Personally I have changed more times than I can remember, I call it shape shifting. It happens faster and faster until I feel like one day I will not have a body to call home anymore. I encourage myself into this place of change and flux. It is where the magic happens, it is where my most beautiful creations are born. We are the composers to the orchestra of our lives. Playing a song together collectively and co-creating our experience. Recently I have come to understand how important sound is to me, that I have a musical spirit. Everything I weave is a song and I cannot imagine not making music. It is part of the fundamental flow and the key ingredient that holds me and makes me corporeal.

Shapeshifting Bearing your soul on stage is not an easy task. It is a raw and real place to be, one that I am ready to share with the world. I weave myself into a tangible art form that can be digested and heard, felt and understood. Every day we learn what being at the center of our beings means to us and how to share being with the rest of our universe. We compose the notes to a symphony that we call life. And break the sound barriers of separation, the perception that we are apart from one another. We will bridge the gaps and sing this song together.
*****


Pan Burcier-HidalgoPan Bourcier Hidalgo is a Dancer who is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has relocated and embarked on a journey of discovery in New Orleans, Louisiana. Join her as she learns about her new city and herself in Pan’s Labyrinth!

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as multimedia books while promoting literacy in our communities. We are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market.
Community Publishing: From the Community For the Community

Desert Wisdom: Sunrise Parties

Sunrise Parties by Sebastian Pais

Part two of a three part series. Read part one here.

Sebastian_Pais_smallWell, countless friends and stories were created during college of course. I was already a part of KUNM and the Raices Collective and was having a great time dj-ing Latin American music for the community. This was a dream come true since back in Argentina before moving I tried to study so I could work in radio. I also tried to have my own show on a neighborhood radio station but didn’t work out. So big thing for me. Friends, stories and a mic, perfect combination. (IMAGE)

I had the wonderful opportunity of bringing in friends that were involved in the community doing art and organizing people to improve the city and the world. I was also blessed with the presence of some crazy dudes that new a lot about music and since most Saturdays I was hung over, they would prepare the music for about half of the show.

Salsa, Samba and SoccerIn all honesty, it took me about 4 years to start liking Albuquerque specifically and New Mexico in general. You have to understand that I was coming from a city with 6 million people with another 6 coming in on weekdays to work. Full of noise and very few stars in the night time. To the west, I had the pampas, thousand of kilometers of pasture and forests. To the east, the widest river in the world. And suddenly I find myself in a desert with a big wall with the color of a sandia behind me and in front sand with more sand after that. Scary picture for this city boy.

Despite the terrifying picture at first, I had a little help from my new friends. I met Diego and Laura, crazy passionate about camping. They took me all around NM and where I saw the forest, the arroyos and rivers, the water-falls and the dunes. New Mexico was full of secrets, it was truly enchanting. You know, when you find yourself staring at a point and realize that you don’t know how long you were doing that? I guess, I didn’t like that place because I wanted to be in my hometown but at one point I realized that my brain was quiet and mesmerized who knows for who long and click, “this place is pretty nice”.

And that is how my eSalsa, Samba and Socceryes started to see that the city has art everywhere and with certain frequency you find festivals of all kinds that have nothing to envy those of bigger cities. Local artists are amazing. There is a reason that many jazz musicians lived a big part of their lives there and big rock stars must stop in this sort of natural mecca for those with sensible ears and eyes.

I had many great times and many things were done in Albuquerque. I opposed the war in Iraq with a bunch of people, young and old, foreign and native. Also, inspired in a theater group from my hood in Buenos Aires, I created with the help of great friends, La Cucaracha Stew Co. La Cucaracha Stew Co., is a street theater crew composed by us, amateur, ready to build things and put make up on people with almost zero knowledge about acting. That was a lot of fun. Hell yeah.

NEXT: Salsa, Samba and Soccer

*****


Sebastian_Pais_smallSebastian Pais was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a professional translator, musician, radio personality and actor. In April, 2014 he was named Director for Latin American & Bilingual Initiatives at Community Publishing

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as Multimedia Books while promoting literacy in our communities.

Origins

Sebastian Pais: Desert Wisdom

Desert Wisdom by Sebastian Pais

For a long time now, Alex has been telling me that I should share with Community Publishing a “little something” and finally here I go. The delay was not due to lack of ideas. In this last 3 years since I departed from Albuquerque I have been gathering thoughts, images, memories, sounds, and points view.

I have been pulling the trigger of my pen so slowly that I have forgotten I was doing it, so slowly the piece of paper was able to escape without marks. All of the sudden, as predicted, I can´t stop writing many things at once. I find myself pouring all out on the screen. I have to hit enter and find new room in this virtual paper. Wow, it is fun. I will read it later, gotta keep the flow.
But wait a sec, I was going to start somewhere. Yes, I was going to start right at the end.

OriginsLooking back, now. Looking at me looking back through the glass of a window inside this bus taking my south to the border. The border that separated one chapter from the next, yet at that moment unknown.

Me, looking back, waving at my brother at a gas station. Breathing and having one thought in each in and out. I was on a bus taking me to move back to Argentina after ten years living in Albuquerque. The Albuquerque in New Mexico, not the one on T.V.. Ten years in each blow of air.

2003 Albuquerque Destiny

Really want to know my story?: – mother fell in love with gringo. Then, moved to Cali but he got a job at the University of New Mexico (yes, it could have been Oklahoma or Tennessee, or Indiana or…). Things didn’t work out but a few years later she was working at the university and a big crisis hit Argentina. I was 19 years old and like many Argentineans wanted to destroy the political class. About 30% unemployment and many sad things forced us to take a decision. Go to Spain with our dad and Originslike him hope for the best, stay in an out-of-control Argentina by myself, or move to ALBUQUERQUE (I was the only person I knew at that time that even knew of this city).

Yes you guess, I moved to Albuquerque. I would learn some basic English and then, in about 2 years go back to Argentina or in the worst case scenario, go to Spain. Basically, I just wanted to be in my home, in La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina, with my high school friends and my projects after high school.

2 years became almost ten. Soon became surrounded by a capoeira school filled with great people that despite the language barrier help my brother and I fill as at home as possible. Interestingly, all of us where practicing an art form that was foreign. A Brazilian art form practiced by gringos, Argentineans, Mexicans in Albuquerque, New Mexico that doesn’t look even close to Rio de Janeiro or Bahia. But there, we were doing our very best to make any Coming Homecapoerista proud. Hell we trained hard and tried to learn everything about the subculture of capoeira. If you don’t know anything about it, I recommend you look it up, there are some videos online ☺

Well, that was home, going from the house to capoeira as much as possible. Trying to communicate and play birimbau at sunset on a summer afternoon right on route 66. There it was this young guy from the bottom of the continent, learning English, using his funny accent as a weapon to attract ladies (thank God for giving me a foreign accent!!), and playing capoeira while thinking of home.

Went to college. American girlfriend, Colombian, Mexican, American, Colombian, Brazilian. Mmm great times… Oh, that was the time I really learned English. First, lunch time. God I just wanted a sandwich. “I say tomato you say…” yes, it took me a really long time to get a sub. Sometimes after a few tries the guy would start talking back to me in Spanish (and I got upset and no, it is not funny). 😉

Then the parties – check back next week!

*****


Sebastian_Pais_smallSebastian Pais was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a professional translator, musician, radio personality and actor. In April, 2014 he was named Director for Latin American & Bilingual Initiatives at Community Publishing

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as Multimedia Books while promoting literacy in our communities.

Mission Launch

Challenges of a Road Wizard: Mission Launch

Mission Launch by Rev LeReve Tsolwizar


It’s hard to say whether or not the decision was right.  Nevertheless, it was the one I made, and now I was in a pickle, and must simply deal with what was unfolding.  I had left Albuquerque feeling excited about finally heading out on the road, but also feeling rather unprepared for the journey I was setting out on.  There were so many loose ends dangling about on this project, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it would all come unraveled at any moment. I was nervous and apprehensive about the whole project from the very start, but I was determined to carry it out, nonetheless.  And now, there I was in a park in the middle of San Diego, having barely slept the nighty before because I was concerned about the safety, and legality, of where I had pitched my tent.  It was Sunday morning and I was desperately searching for my wallet.  I couldn’t believe this was happening.  Had those kids, who passed by several times during the night, stolen my wallet?  Or, had it fallen out, unnoticed, when I was searching for spots to pitch my tent?

Mission Launch

Like any good, high level game, my little adventure started off with a doozie of a challenge, and the challenges have continued to show up at every turn.  The biggest challenge, has been related to one very specific thing, generating revenue.  I am, after all, out here for the very purpose of creating Rev anew – that would be me transforming myself into a financially successful professional artist.  This has proven to be a tough endeavor for me, even under the best of circumstances.  I have been working toward this goal for 20 years now, and have yet to get there.  Admittedly, I have rather odd methods and approaches to this goal.  And, this journey is no different.

I set this mission up to be a sink or swim operation, a do-or-die kind of scenario, one that would propel me out of my comfort zone, into unfamiliar territory, where I would be forced to engage in rapid development of my show, myself as an entertainer, and my skills at getting strangers to give me money for the presentation of my art.  This has proven to be a quite effective training program.  I have had to experiment and explore, live and direct, in front of masses of people, most of whom aren’t really paying much attention to me, unless I provide some hook to draw them in.  And, once I have their attention, I have the added challenge of inspiring them to open up their wallets and give me some of their money. So far, I have performed this task far below the level of expectation I had set for myself.

Mission Launch

I made the decision to engage in the mission of going on the road with the skeletal elements of my newly created pop-up dragon didgeridoo show (rather impressive skeletal elements, but skeletal elements no less), and nothing more than a vague plan to find appropriate places to present, and develop, my act, mostly through the medium of street performance (aka Busking). The reason I chose this mission, and set it up in such a way that would require me to succeed in order for the journey to be completed, is because it is my route to the next level. Time to up my game.

I am now sitting in a coffee shop on Sunset Boulevard staring out the window – “HOLLYWOOD” looms on the mountainside directly in front of me.  Across the street a homeless man, head bowed, sitting on a stoop, picks at his shirt.  The next table over an older gentleman is discussing homelessness with his friend.  Everywhere I go in LA, homelessness abounds.

My buddy tells me that the homeless population in LA is equivalent to the entire population of Santa Fe.  I am taken back for a moment to the home of my childhood, where the HOLLYWOOD sign appeared regularly before my eyes through the glow of a TV screen.  Hollywood was the home of the rich and famous, a place that represented fame and fortune, a place I never imagined myself spending any amount  of time in.  And now, here I am, staying at my buddy’s in Hollywood, sitting at a Starbucks on Sunset Boulevard, and providing entertainment on the boardwalk of Venice Beach.  In relation to the entertainment industry, for which this place is so well known, I am the homeless man, begging for change on the street corner, with my  cute little pop up show.  And yet, my fortune, even if I fail at this mission, is far greater than the actual homeless man I see across the street.  I have a home to return to, whether I fail or succeed.

Successful Rebounds

Mission LaunchI have the resources to rebound from failure, if it occurs.  If this project does come unravelled, I know there are people who’ve got my back. But, this was not always the case.  The last time I was at Venice Beach, 20 years ago, I was a broken, wandering fool, living out of a 1969 VW microbus, with no idea of what I had to offer the world, and no community to support me through my struggles.  Today I am a Wizard, and by that I mean a one-of-a-kind artist with a special blend of magic, and I’m out there on the boardwalk of Venice Beach learning how to share that magic with the world, and discovering how to go about being financially rewarded for doing so.

My journey will take me north, along the pacific coast, soon.  I know that I will have made significant improvement in my presentation and revenue generation wizardry by the time I leave LA.  Venice Beach has been a very good training ground and a terrific work environment.  I love that it has been my “office”, for this brief moment.  Truth is, I’ve always been a bit of a beach bum, with the unfortunate fate of being born, raised, and living most of my life in the desert.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love my desert home.  But, there has always been a longing deep inside of me to live by the ocean.  DigereedooThankfully, I’m getting a little taste of that now.

The challenges that have come my way on this journey have truly strengthened me and taught me things I would not have learned otherwise.  I am grateful for then all.  I am, however, quite ready for a break through in the area of Rev-e-nue generation.  May it come soon!  Regardless of when, or if, that breakthrough arrives I shall press forward with all the determination of a Wizard who knows his role and the mission set before him.  And, I shall wield my magic with all of the finesse and grace that has become mine through the many challenges and struggles I have been through thus far.

I shall also continue to report here, each week, on the progress and developments of this journey, and to offer insights and musings, with the hope of inspiring others to follow their own magic, and make it happen.

I never found my wallet.

Mission LaunchThe one & only ~ Rev LeReve Tsolwizar

Footnote:  After having dinner with my buddy, Roo, we passed by the homeless man I had seen while at Starbucks.  Roo asked the man, “Do you smoke?’  The man replied, “yes”.  Roo then handed him half a dozen cigarettes, and I handed him the fortune cookie I was holding and said to him, “I know it’s not much brother, but may good fortune come your way!”  He graciously accepted the gifts and said, “And, good fortune to the both of you too, sir!”

*****


Mission LaunchRev Lereve Tsolwizar is an artist, musician, performance artist and wizard. He is based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Read more about him here.

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as Multimedia Books while promoting literacy in our communities. We are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market#JoinOurCommunity at http://communitypublishing.org

Music in Class

Seth in New Zealand: Music in Class

By Seth Hoffman

Over the past month I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of so much music. It’s been my experience that music can do a world of good. I’ll begin by telling about what I’ve been doing in the schools here in Wellington.

Sometimes I visit a class or school only one time. I ask about their connection with music. “What’s your favorite song to hear?” “Does anyone in your family play an instrument?” “Do you like to sing?” “Who is your favorite musical artist or group?”

Music Conversations

We may go off on a brief tangent on any of these topics, and then I start playing a song. Often times I begin with “The Color Song.” The first part of this song I sing to them. Then, I sing the song again, and everybody helps create new verses.Finally, we all sing the new song altogether. I tell you, and it’s good fun, and it can really bring the room together.

Music in Class

Sometimes I play “The Color Song” on the Strumstick. I then give a brief background about myself, and the role music has played in my own life. I share how I used to be very much an introvert. I was quite shy, and I did’t connect easily with people or new situations. Music has helped me come outside of my head.

I share about how music takes down walls. Normally when we walk down the street, we typically don’t interact with strangers.

It might even feel a little bit strange or threatening if a stranger strikes up a conversation with you out of the blue. When we add a musical instrument into the equation, that wall often comes magically down.

Instrumental Role Playing

I do a role playing activity where I have one student pretend to walk past another another down the street. First, this is done with no instrument. Then they repeat the same activity where one or both will have an instrument.

Music has been part of almost every culture since the beginning of time. It’s not surprising that it “resonantes” with so many people. We talk about the different parts to a song. We listen to a song and identify the:

beat – rhythm – chord progression – melody – feel – mood – lyrics – chorus – verse – dynamics.

Next, I demonstrate building a song using the loop pedal. I start with a beat to set the rhythm. Then, I add a basic chord progression. Next, I add a simple melody. I might add some different sounds and layers to give the song texture and set the mood. Finally, with the help of the group, we add some words.

Here’s a video of me doing some song building in a bar in Wellington. I do basically the same thing in classes, though the song topic and lyrics may vary.

Collaboration

I am so impressed at the way that students are able to work together, collaborate, listen to each other, and present their creations. Some students who don’t typically get to shine became the stars of the class. Students who might not normally work together discovered that they could make incredible sounds together. Everybody got to be included, and everyone could participate in a way they felt comfortable and successful.
*****


Seth in New Zealand

Seth Hoffman

Community Publishing will be publishing a Multimedia Book written and Illustrated by Seth Hoffman titled, Janie and the Hummingbird. Seth is a musician, artist and educator based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Follow his adventures here every Tuesday. 

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as multimedia eBooks while promoting literacy in our communities.
We are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market.
#JoinOurCommunity at http://communitypublishing.org

Connections

Seth In New Zealand: One Connection Leads to Another

By Seth Hoffman

I’ve been a busy fella here in Wellington. I’m going to try and sum up the past few weeks in this entry. The focus of today’s blog entry is “connections.” You never know where, what, or who one connection will lead to. When I first arrived in Wellington, I was lucky enough to stay in the apartment of Fulbright Alumni Malcolm McKinnon.

Through Malcolm, I met his wonderful friend Keith. After telling Keith that I am seeking out musical outlets and community, he connected me with his friend Patricia, who is part of a ukulele club. Here is a little clip of the magic that happens here.

IMG_2611This group is facilitated by the talented, hardworking, encouraging, and inspirational Shane McAlister. He is a musical soul brother of mine. He spreads joy through teaching and performing music to the world.

Check out his sweet ride.

Now that’s what I call arriving to the gig in style.One day I was walking down the road to find a nice place to do some busking (playing music on the street).

I found a nice place to play by the water. This lady approached me and told me I could not play there. She pointed to some places not far away that I was allowed to play music. I thanked her, and we got to talking. She detected my accent (yes I have an accent, I was quite excited to learn this) and asked what I was doing here in New Zealand. I explained that I am here to look at the role of music and the arts in education. She told me about her son and his work with teaching Maori and Kapa Haka.

Kapa Haka

IMG_2564Kapa Haka is the term for Māori performing arts and literally means to form a line (kapa) and dance (haka). Kapa haka is an avenue for Maori people to express and showcase their heritage and cultural Polynesian identity through song and dance. So, I connected with her son Matiu. I contacted Matiu over Facebook and explained who I am and what I’m doing (and that I met his mother).

I asked if I might sit in on some of his classes. He told me to meet him outside the Paekakariki train station a few days later, and I could accompany on a full day of teaching.

Ticket to Ride

IMG_2534

I got my train ticket to Paekakariki (about an hour ride north of Central Wellington). As you may know or remember about the “hongi” from my earlier blog entry: A hongi is a traditional Māori greeting in New Zealand. It is done by pressing one’s nose and forehead (at the same time) to another person at an encounter.It is used at traditional meetings among Māori people and on major ceremonies and serves a similar purpose to a formal handshake in modern western culture, and indeed a hongi is often used in conjunction with one.

In the hongi, the ha (or breath of life), is exchanged and intermingled. The breath of life can also be interpreted as the sharing of both party’s souls.

He taught hongi to some students. The students are very respectful and the connection they have with each other is beautiful. It was powerful to see these kids doing Kapa Haka.

IMG_2556

Between classes, I met the school principal who told me to feel free to walk around and check out the campus. He encouraged me to look at the school garden. I was curious to see how it compared with our lovely garden at Mountain Mahogany Community School.

IMG_2551 IMG_2554

I met these great kids who gave me a tour of the garden. They snacked on various plants (just like the kids at MMCS). After a full day of teaching students,

IMG_2562Matiu was asked to present at the staff meeting to teach some Maori to the teachers. The teachers and principal really wanted to improve their Maori pronunciation and understanding.

This man is a hard worker, a talented musician and teacher, and he is really passionate about what he does.

These schools are truly fortunate to have him working with their community.

Connecting Opportunities

My Fulbright host family is the couple Bill and Sally Barrett. Sally happens to be the wonderful principal at Wadestown School. She welcomed me to do some musical activities with some classes here.

IMG_2403 IMG_2601

Another connection I made is with the advisor or my fellow Fulbrighter, Shahnaz. His name is Bruce Carey. He’s not only a great professor, but he’s also a great songwriter and performer.

IMG_2192 IMG_2632

Through Bruce, I met this other talented singer/songwriter/guitarist Chris Moses.

IMG_2368 Seth Gig Fringe

Bruce is the person who told me about the great open mic at The Fringe Bar, which led to my first New Zealand gig. Both Bruce and Chris opened for me at the Fringe Bar on Friday March 13th 2015.

I’ll end this entry here for now. Stay tuned for some more photos and video clips of the culture here in Welllington, New Zealand. I’ll be visiting several more schools these next couple weeks.For now, won’t you join me in some delicious gelato?

*****


Seth in New Zealand

Seth Hoffman

Community Publishing will be publishing a Multimedia Book written and Illustrated by Seth Hoffman titled, Janie and the Hummingbird. Seth is a musician, artist and educator based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Follow his adventures here every Tuesday. 

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as multimedia eBooks while promoting literacy in our communities.
We are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market.
#JoinOurCommunity at http://communitypublishing.org

Where I Came From

Seth in New Zealand: Where I Came From

I’m a full month and a half into my New Zealand Fulbright Experience.  As the title of this entry says, I will reflect a bit on where I came from before I arrived.

Where I Came From

Mountain Mahogany Community School

For the past 5 years I have been teaching at a beautiful public charter school in Albuquerque, New Mexico USA called Mountain Mahogany Community School. If not for my experience at MMCS, I likely would not be in New Zealand now on this Fulbright Scholarship. Mountain Mahogany Community School is where my integration of music/teaching/learning was truly nurtured. About a week before I began teaching there, Kendra Toth (school director) asked me how I was going to begin my first day of school with the kids. After years in public education, my trained response was, “I will sit everyone down, and I will go over the class rules.” I was surprised to see Kendra’s expression so skeptical.

“Hmmmm. No,” she replied, “I think you should greet them at the door with your guitar and begin by singing them a song.”

Where I Came From

Music Gear

You can imagine how surprised I was to have this most pleasing suggestion from my boss. In the past, I felt I had to “hide” musical activities and only squeeze them in here and there if extra time allowed. This may have been in my own head, but that was the impression I had. Mountain Mahogany was my first experience where I really felt that using music was embraced and encouraged. So, I just want to give a public thank you to Kendra Toth (director), Baylor Del Rosario (administrator), and all the MMCS staff, students, families, and friends for welcoming the music I have been incorporating in my role as a classroom teacher and member of this inspirational community.

That’s a bit about where I came from. Now, stay tuned, and I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to here in New Zealand for the past several weeks.
*****


Seth in New Zealand

Seth Hoffman

Community Publishing will be publishing a Multimedia Book written and Illustrated by Seth Hoffman titled, Janie and the Hummingbird. Seth is a musician, artist and educator based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Follow his adventures here every Tuesday. 

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as multimedia eBooks while promoting literacy in our communities.
We are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market.
#JoinOurCommunity at http://communitypublishing.org

Seth Hoffman

Seth in New Zealand: People, Places, Playtime, & Projects

By Seth Hoffman

IMG_2086Welcome back friends to another episode of Seth in New Zealand. So begins my Fulbright experience. Here we go with orientation on February 3rd. It’s been really nice getting to know my new Fulbright family. We will hear many wonderful and informative speakers.

New Zealand History

Prominent New Zealand historian, Jock Phillips, gives us a 45 minute summary of New Zealand’s history. This could easily be an entire semester course, but he did a nice job fitting in the highlights to this brief overview.

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Later that day, the Fulbright group went for an overnight visit to Waiwhetu Marae. A marae is a communal or sacred place that serves religious or social purposes in Polynesian societies. It was a real honor and privilege to be there and learn more about Maori culture and heritage.

We all slept in the wharenui (main sacred meeting/gathering house of the mare). It felt a little bit like being at summer camp. The wharenui also holds the memories and spirits of ancestors, and we were reminded that we also bring with us the spirit of our ancestors when we come here. As it happened, I had a very vivid dream about my mother that evening.

http://youtu.be/w2fsYz2VWHk

IMG_2093The next day we saw a waka (canoe), built in the authentic Maori style. This waka is actually used from time to time.

We even got a chance to sit inside and learn how Maori work together as a team to get these waka really moving. The simulation was much easier without the water resistance. If you see the movie “Whale Rider,” then you can see a wharenui and a waca.

Chants and Songs

Waiata, or songs and chants are an important part of Maori culture. They sang us a waiata to greet us, and we responded with a waiata as well. Then they sang a waiata before we left, and we also sang one as a farewell. So far I have learned 2 Maori waiata. I will post some videos of the waiata I have learned. The ones I have heard are about peace, hope, love, togetherness, faith, ancestors, and joy. I really like the purpose and meaning of these waiata. Here is a clip of one of the farewell waiata that was sung to us.

http://youtu.be/EzJv9eb7mb0

IMG_2260The hongi is a traditional Maori greeting or parting gesture. It is done by pressing one’s nose and forehead to another’s. In the hongi, the ha (or breath of life) is exchanged. The breath of life can also be interpreted as the sharing of both party’s souls.

Here are the Fulbright Teachers as we are about to depart from our beautiful marae experience.

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At the end of our orientation we met our Fulbright host families. I had dinner with my wonderful hosts Bill and Sally Barrett.

We had an absolutely beautiful evening together. Friday February 6th I finally moved into my new apartment. Would you like to take a little tour?

http://youtu.be/cfamsyG9WjE

Though my apartment is small, it’s cozy and located near many wonderful places. One of the highlights is Central Park (not THE Central Park in NY, but it’s a wonderful Central Park). This park features a zip line, and it’s quite fun and exhilarating as you can tell: http://youtu.be/r-mm_GAuZ9g

Lectured

IMG_2192It was exciting to attend my first lecture at Victoria University, taught by my fellow Fulbrighter Shahnaz’s advisor Bruce Carey.

Bruce is a fantastic professor, and he also is a great songwriter. He invited me to this wonderful open mic. I had a wonderful time, and I will likely be back every Tuesday. They may even give me a gig to play my own night there sometime. It had a great feel there. Those of you from Albuquerque, it felt a bit like the old Blue Dragon days.

I’ve been fortunate to experience much of Wellington’s beautiful nature. I climbed Mount Victoria with Den and her super cool husband Tim. We have all become great buddies. Tim and I have a few things in common. Some of you may know that I am quiteIMG_2222 fond of ping pong. I’m so lucky because so is IMG_2259Tim! Here we are after a wonderful afternoon session at the Karori Campus at Victoria University studying – the art of table tennis.

Thursday February 12th I joined Shahnaz and her boys on their school outing to Mount Kaukau. I climbed 2 mountains in 2 days. The kids were really great, and I got a chance to play music with many of them as we climbed the mountain with my strumstick. We had a lot of fun making up songs as we hiked. Some of the kids were getting so tired, but they said the music kept them going.

Integrating the Arts into the Classroom

I attended a thoroughly engaging and informative workshop about integrating music, dance, and the arts into the classroom. My terrific advisor Liz has some great connections. She herself led the dance workshop. It was a very inspirational day.

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http://youtu.be/aYWh9jvEApw

http://youtu.be/IGnz77xbChk

Stay tuned for more songs, adventures, and New Zealand images. So far, Kiwi life is treating me well. See you next time 🙂
*****


Seth in New Zealand

Seth Hoffman

Community Publishing will be publishing a Multimedia Book written and Illustrated by Seth Hoffman titled, Janie and the Hummingbird. Seth is a musician, artist and educator based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Follow his adventures here every Tuesday. 

Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as multimedia eBooks while promoting literacy in our communities.
We are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market.
#JoinOurCommunity at http://communitypublishing.org