MC Lars sent me via these magic media boxes, that approximate the human experience thru an elablorate systems of digital pulses, some words, music and images that comes out of our discussion of a mutual respect for the pre-contact civilizations of Northern California.
His song is called “In the Land of the Grasshopper Song”. It features he, Ash Tell Em, Christina Rotondo and Mike Russo. It has a catchy hook, but it also tells the history of the region from the perspective of the Hoopa and Yurok. It was mixed by Beau Vallis and then I just sort of tapped on the magic box on my lap and — cross your fingers — have set it up such that you dear reader and total strangers can sort of hear what Lars’ song sounds like.
Lars is a Stanford grad who also studied in Oxford. He hails from Pebble Beach, California near Carmel and Monterrey. I’ve been aware of his work from his undergrad days – -he was already recording and touring before he graduated college, but only met him about a year ago.
Matt The Electrician (Matt Sever) who played an Earthwise Productions show October, 2019 at Cubberley H-1 mentioned between songs that he had met Lars at a show in their mutual hometown at the beginning of their respective careers. I, cheekily, reached out to Lars mid-set and shared his receptive reply to the crowd, essentially fact-checking Matt.
Lars later played a showcase I did at the Palo Alto JCC that also featured blues legend Charlie Musselwhite and soulful singer Valerie Troutt, in December.
So now I have two shareable files for my Lions With Wings bandcamp, plus a couple that are gestating. (See also: Nancy Wright, “There is Something On Your Mind” cover).
I don’t presume to return to the concert business until fall, 2021.
Lions with Wings is named for the bestiary landmarks on campus that some people call the Stanford Griffons but they are really just lions with wings. I learned on the internet that there is a fountain in Leicsester, England that has the exact same Lions but they spit water. My Lions with Wings only spits rhymes.
I think I suggested the source to Lars. Here is more, according to these same sources:
In 1908 two young women—the authors of this book—Mary Ellicot Arnold and Mabel Reed –accepted Indian Service appointments as field matrons for the Karok Indians in the Klamath and Salmon River country of northern California. Although the area had been the scene of a gold rush some fifty years earlier, they write in the foreword, “the social life of the Indian—what he believed and the way he felt about things—was very little affected by white influence. The older Indians still had the spaced tatoo marks on their forearms, by which they could measure the length of the string of wampum required to buy a wife. . . . The white men we knew on the Rivers were pioneers of the Old West. . . . All around us was gold country, the land of the saloon and of the six-shooter. Our friends and neighbors carried guns as a matter of course, and used them on occasion. But the account given in these pages is not of these occurrences but of everyday life on the frontier in an Indian village, and what Indians and badmen did and said when they were not engaged in wiping out their friends and neighbors. It is also the account of our own two years in Indian country where, in the sixty-mile stretch between Happy Camp and Orleans, we were the only white women.
My Dartmouth classmate Andre Cramblit wrote an introductions to this edition of the book the MC Lars rap is based on.