Netherlands

This trip was my 8th visit to the two small villages in the middle of the Nederland’s. I originally went to Marick and Eck en Wiel sixteen years ago with my friend Peter Wrona. We arrived by train and Pietre Stapel picked us up and took us to a party. He said you have arrived with your noses in the butter. My visits there have all been in the butter.

This visit was no exception.

My friend Philippe Pfeiffer and I spent every day playing music and sitting in the garden sharing our life and ideas. I spent 8 days learning one of his songs and then we recorded it in Dutch.

I spent an evening in the magical garden of Riesjart and Mariet Buss, with his giant wooden and metal sculptures all about and the chickens keeping things in order. Riesjart cooked and we drank his apple wine and spoke late into the evening.

I had an evening with The Stapel Panders at La Divina Commedia, an old church which has been renovated into a performance and pension that sleeps up to 26 guests. 15 years ago I went to sing with a group of international artists in a wild 2 week event that lasted 3 months. I stayed on afterwards and cooked with Hilda for the world travelers that came through the pension. Every afternoon we would ride the bikes to the market and return and feed anywhere from 6 to 30 guests.

The house I have stayed in the last 5 or 6 times I have been in the Netherlands is called Villa Zommerlust. My daughter Bianca lived there for a year and pealed wallpaper and then repainted the whole inside of the 1879 building. Selma Dijkland who treated her like a daughter is who I stay with. Selma and I had many adventures. She took me into Utrecht on the train on a hot day and we tracked down a new loop machine, thanks to some help from our friend Cable. Afterwards we drank beers in the square filled with students. We took bike rides all about the dykes and journeyed into towns for treasure hunting. We built a fence and put up an umbrella. Selma sat in the sun and I in the shade. We ate our meals in the garden and drank wine late into the dark. We had a road trip to Dortmund Germany so I could play a house concert; which is another story.

I got to visit my friend Johann Bakker’s concrete factory where Philippe works. Johann is the Opa, (Grandfather) in my song Amelie.

I spent a morning in the ART factory with Pier Stapel Pander. An elder home abandoned and re imagined into a pad for 4 young artists. What a kick!

And for all of these dear friends I sang the chants of Chartres with my new loop machine and every time there was big emotion.

My last evening I spent with Joeri Pfeiffer in Amsterdam. From his tenth floor apartment we looked out across the city and spoke of children and life. He drove me to the airport in the morning we drank coffee and I left for Italy.


A Meditation on Possibility

Paris

Un tethered from the Chartres group I have led from the train station to the Peace Hotel, I wander solo amongst the summer crowds of Paris.

I just walk, first finding the river and following it along past the book sellers and the sidewalk cafes, until I am in the plaza in front of Notre Dame. The bells are clanging and carrying on while crowds of searchers wait in long lines to file into the cathedral.

There are Gypsy’s and watchers and large groups of tourists listening to guides in many languages all around me. Now I sit and I watch.

Across the bridge and all around Shakespeare and Company there is a literary event which has been going on for days. Under a large white tent a crowd listens as a poet recites. It is a mystery who he is. But I like his reading.

Hours later when I get back to the peace hotel am just in time to join a few folks for dinner. We wander around and find a restaurant where we share some lovely food from the Mediterranean. On this two day visit I have The best escargot I have ever had, plates full of steamed vegetables, some salads with cheeses and a crepe with nutella. Breakfast was coffee crème and croissants. I was told by an expert that the first coffee of the day would be an espresso and then something with hot milk. Oh well, I must be an American.

Waiting for the sun as the blue sky pulls away from the grey clouds on the summer solstice, some of the group from the Chartres journey decide that we will see if we can watch the sun come into the special place inside St Sulpice, like it spoke of in The Davinci code. This church has posted signs in reference to the books, basically referring to the book as a bunch of hoho. Over time as the earth has shifted and with the daylight saving thing going on, I lost patience and had a walk with some others and then got on a train for a visit with my friend Bernie.

The gem of Paris was my visit with my dear friend Bernie. We met way back in 1975 I think. Bernie was living in Tucson, Arizona with his wife and new son, writing and playing music. In all of the ensuing years we have kept in touch through both of our many lives.

And now we have come to a place together of such great connection. It is a joy and a pleasure for any bit of time I get with this friend.

The next day I took my seat on the Thalys, the fast train from Paris north to The Nederland. Across the fields red roofed towns clustered around town churches and I left France.

Chartres

Chartres

Chartres was the first stop on a 6 week journey that had a theme of remaining grounded and connected while swimming in Chaos.

I arrived for the third time at the Mason St Ives in the town of Chartres, and felt comfortable with twists and turns of this small ancient village. Again smelling the old stone and walking into the cathedral with its soaring heights and glorious windows and Our Lady.

This journey was the second time I came to sing the chants of Our Lady of Chartres with Sharon Medhi’s class called “Healing Bodies, Healing Fear”, and the third time I have been to Chartres. The first evening we all met the 20 of us, in a downstairs room filled with flowers and dried fruit on tables to accompany a most amazing collection of French cheeses and wine. Our hostess for the evening first had us all drink a bit of sparkling water to cleanse our palettes. Then we were served beautiful cheese with radish and oh lala, French breads. I sang my song ‘Faith’ for the group and Sharon gave us a sweet greeting and we were on our way.

The mornings began with hot sweet coffee, French bread and butter. There was more offered but this is what I miss.

I will never tire of Chartres. The tiny purple flowers which grow out of the stairs leading up to the doors,  the coolness and spaciousness, the always changing dots of light on the floors from tiny breaks in the glass windows, the candles burning in their red glass holders, the labyrinth which is only uncovered on Fridays, the locals who have their routines and places. There are Pilgrims who stand by the entrances holding scalloped sea shells for alms. In the last year the faces have become familiar.

There was scaffolding up in different places each of my three visits. Workers were cleaning the eons of candle soot, removing the breathing prayers ,  joyous and grief stricken that take the color from the stone and etch it  with memory. Columns now striped to white; the ancient patinas held now only in the hearts of the grateful.

I was so happy to be back in the chapel of the Mason to sit and listen. The first morning as I waited for the group to arrive for our morning sing the building itself was singing low in the heart from the constant wind blowing around the area. I listened to a dove sing the song from my childhood, yet somehow larger and deeper, somehow different. Maybe it was singing in French!

The Crypt is a space of 3 former churches built upon each other, the most ancient healing well is here and the coolness is penetrating. As a group we had access 2 times and the first was to do a meditation. As soon as I sat down in front of “Our Lady of the underground” words started coming to me and when I got up in front of our group and a few others who had found their way in, I looked at these words and the melody came to me.

As far back as time goes along lines of Love

We sit with Our Lady we sing from our souls

Become now forgiveness, become now whole

 

This time with the group I was able to do more singing than last year. It became the thread that wove the group together and both Sharon and I were so very grateful for the experience.

The first time I came to Chartres it was to listen for the music, the songs and chants that would accompany the “messages” from Sharon Medhi’s book. I spent hours walking all around the inside singing quietly to myself. I thought of this as sing prayer and many people came to me for these songs. I would take a moment and ask for guidance and then someone would come to mind with a direction to walk and the amount of circuits to walk and then as I began walking, the song would come. I will never tire of this practice. This last trip I walked sing prayer every day for some amount of time and even thought a few times of living here full time for a spell to continue this. Dreaming in the day.

And then there was the strange Thursday, I don’t want to dwell on this but something does need to be said.

Woke up feeling a bit dizzy and had bowels which required attention to the closest toilet. I also discovered I was missing 200 euros which I had stashed in my bag in my room. I took my bag apart 5 times in an unbelieving mantra of loss. I finally thought to check if I put it with my music equipment, and when I pulled out my loop machine a knob had broken off and without thinking past the dizzying losses already I plugged it in to see if it still worked and bang it started smoking.

Bang, having a day of letting it all go.

And here is the blessing, the gem of losing the loop. Three of the women from the group agreed to sing the background song for three of the chants and I sang the descant. I was able to offer my concert the last day as agreed and I think for the group this was an even sweeter way to hear the chants.  I ended my concert with a group chanteling. This was the first time I had chanteled for such a large amount of people. This was what began a time of silence for all the participants and I was honored to be able to sing as ceremony.

Yes there were dinners and lunches and wine and walks and connecting with the village and the people in the group. There were candles to be lit and tears to shed and ribbons to tuck into crevices, early in the morning just before leaving. Oh and at night there were streets to wander to see the amazing colored lights that shine on the buildings.

The Madelyn called to me and said Ancient stories are unknown without faith. We must first heal ourselves and in this clear space our mother the earth.

And at the top of it all the work of the Divine Feminine, to breath light into all of our movements towards balance.

The gems

I am still composing little gems in this journey of life.

And even though I am not currently traveling in another country I am going to be sending these out. Let me know if you are not interested.

A living room recording studio put together by David the Buddha Driver and a badgirl Mitzi Dasheya Cowell awaited me on my return. Then 3 different house guests, one the delightful Heidi Wilson who played her Saxophone and laid her hands on. Now our beloved Jaese is on a month long journey and the roofers showed up today for a week’s worth of new roofing. RICH.

my home in the Nederlands

I have a special affection for the Nederlands. This is my 8th visit with this group of amazing Dutch artists. I think my first visit was in 1996 with my dear Peter Wrona. we arrived by train and his long time friend Pieter Staple picked us up and said “Well you have arrived with your nose in the butter”and then took us to a party with so much fun. in Dutch this nose in the butter means lucky. That trip we landed at Rijart Bus’s house and art garden. it was the Birthday of his daughter Fluer, she is 3 years out of school now. All of the kids are grown up and i watched. Now mostly i stay at Villa Zomerlust where my friends Selma and Philippe make me welcome and give me a room in a house built in 1870. it rests on the sand.  Across the street there are apple trees as far as i can see, and we eat cherrys from the neighbors. There is music always and just now i am learning a song in Dutch. The first place i stayed was La Divina. this a very old church which my friends Pieter and Hilda have brought back from ruin and turned it into a performance and sleeping place. it sleeps 19 and has a wonderful big space in what was the old church. In the times i have been there we have hosted, Gypsy bands, africans from Mozambique, Clown schools , Taiko drummers. One summer i performed with a bunch of peoples from all over Europe and spent 3 months helping cook for all of the other groups that came and stayed. This is also the place where my daughter Bianca spent a year, working  and loving, being loved by all of the people here. this villa i stay in was all repainted by her. i can feel her riding her bike on the dyke in the sun and the rain.  this is a home for me. i hope to always be able to come back and be here now.

Chanteling, a short history

Back in 1995 I traveled to Europe for the first time.

I found myself in Crete, Greece in a small village called Vizari, in the Amari Valley. I was helping some new friends harvest olives from ancient trees and caretaking their newborn. One day on a walk I came upon a small hillside chapel. I went inside and sat down and started to sing. The song was sweet and touching. Later when I was home I couldn’t quite bring it to mind.

A year and a half later I was back in the same village and went looking for the chapel. When I went inside, the song came to me immediately. I thought, well maybe this is the song of this place. As I traveled Europe that year I was able to find the songs of many acoustically charged places. I found that I was channeling the chant. Hence the word Chanteling.

Meanwhile back home, one of my oldest friends hearing this story said I want you to chantel me.

Many years later I am still Chanteling. I have sung for ceremony and deaths. I have been asked to sing the song for performances of dance and creations.

I believe that everything I have studied, all of the experiences of my life so far have led me to this place of grace. In this place I am honored to be able to step aside and sing for the moment, the place and the person.

In Gratitude

Cantrell


House concerts

An idea for house concerts.

 
 

A person decides to host a small intimate gathering of friends, where I will play music for an hour or so, this includes my chants.

I have figured out how to do all the harmonies with my loop machine.

This person does the inviting so that the people present are familiar and welcome.

Small is the idea, 7 to 10 or whatever the space will allow. I will put out a donation vessel and have my CDs for sale.

I will also talk about and offer my Chanteling. There is a further explanation on my new website. www.cantrellmaryott.com

I am sending this out to everyone and was wondering if  you may be interested in hosting one.

looks like this 
http://www.youtube.com/user/cantrella3
 

Hope to speak to you soon

Love

Cantrell

Two thousand and nine

 

An amazing year where LISTENING became paramount.

 

Family…

My dad passed on this year. He came to me in a dream and I was able to speak to him just hours before he had a massive heart attack. I can find no words for my grief.

David and I made 2 trips to his folks, one while they were spending time in Fayetteville and the next to assist their move from Wyoming to Loveland Colorado. I assisted with my sister’s move and have spent many LOVE hours working at the Maryott house in Tucson.

Our own extended local Ashland family was in flux this year as we hosted Martique when  she came back into Ashland for several  months of rejuvenation and finding of her spirit and joy amidst her friends here in the valley. We got a new housemate Jaese, a talented musician and dancer. Both have become like adopted children in our ever expanding house of love.

 

Music…

Starting in March I went to Chartres Cathedral in France to receive chantelings from Our Lady of Chartres, a Black Madonna. Along with sentences from a book that my dear friend Sharon Mehdi channeled, I created a new CD of 7 chants. I was invited back for the Summer Solstice to lead 20 women who gathered in Chartres to do a workshop led by Sharon, in the singing of the chants. I am now offering personal chanteling and doing small house concerts.

Visual art…

I had three showings in Portland, First a solo show at CUBE on Hawthorne. 3 months at Zilla, Allison Lowes Saki place on Alberta, and as part of Marion Spadone’s installation at Mile post 5. In Ashland I created a Dia de Los Muertos ceremonial vessel for a Bohemia gallery show in November. I have created and successfully taught 3 classes this last year called the Nuts and Bolts of Assemblage.

 

Husband… My love, David Driver continues to sooth my soul and tickle my fancy. After 11 years we are still giggling.

 

I continue my work in the Estate Sale/organizing field. I feel it is my tithing to mother Earth and her children who are caught up in the fear and consumerism of these times.

I feel great changes on the horizon and look forward to singing for all of you in the coming year.

Sing me free

We continue to listen and the light continues to sing out.

A week after I returned from France I was contacted by a friend who had been reading the blogs. She said she was so inspired by the ongoing story and was wondering if I would be willing to chantel her, sing her free from a feeling of being stuck.

WOW! My answer was yes! This is something I have thought about for years. I spent the 24 hours before she arrived setting my intention. It is important for me to stay out of the way of this sound that comes. I feel like a lens, definitely an assistant for whoever I am working with.

I ended up singing for 40 minutes while she lay on my massage table. In all that time there were no familiar melodies or words for me until near the end when I started singing one of the melodies that came to me in France.

Afterwards as we spoke about the experience she told me a story about the day before. She had heard her wind chimes play a melody over and over again and was so intrigued that she went upstairs and played it on her keyboard to remember it better. While doing so she thought she would hear it when we worked. I asked her “and did you? Which part?” And she answered it was the melody towards the end when I was singing “an echo of you”, only I knew this was the melody I heard at Chartres.

I have been singing and arranging some of the music I brought home from Chartres. I am going into the recording studio this week to create a taste of this work, this light that was so graciously given to me to share with all of you. I will have it ready for Sharon’s one woman storytelling evening on April 29th.

Meanwhile I am offering my Chanteling for anyone who feels drawn to this experience. Call me and we can speak about how this can happen for you.

541-326-2272

PEACE

This post was published to Cantrella’s Blog at 12:02:30 PM 3/29/2009

listening

 

 

The day before I left on my pilgrimage to Chartres in France I spent some time with Sharon and Nancy. We sat on the pews in the kitchen and spoke of miracles. Sharon then shared with me another writing she had heard while in Chartres the town. It is all about the cathedral being a vessel of light. I lent them the CD Jenwah had just sent me from Hans Christian, playing his cello in the cathedral, they are currently residing in Wisconsin and met last year in Chartres. The music was beautiful yet moody, somehow sad and it made me realize that I would be listening for something more uplifting.

I left the new Medford airport on the 6am flight to Seattle. Past security, in the boarding area is one of my favorite Ashland artist’s sculptures an angel by Kevin Christman. There is a plaque on the pedestal explaining that her angel wings have been torn many times and sewn back together, it speaks about listening, light and healing from within.

I had a 6 hour layover before my direct Seattle to Paris flight; lucky for me I have a dear friend not far from the airport. Deb Bodett and I went out for breakfast, then we went downtown Tacoma for a swing through the Chihuly glass museum. It was closed but the modern museum was open so we ducked in there and the main exhibit was all about David Macaulay and his books, one of the most famous being ‘The Cathedral”. And there was wall after wall of drawings of the building of a cathedral.

This will be my 4th solo trip to Europe and while I am not all that good at speaking to people I don’t know I am leaving myself open to random conversations. I leave my  book in the bag and stand around watching the crowd arrive. There is a large group of young people, they must have 3 guitars among them and they are all playing different songs. One of the girls starts speaking to me and tells me they are from Kenai, Alaska and are on their way to Rome where they will sing in the Cathedral there.

From the airport there is a bus into Paris to Gare Montparnasse and a train from there to Chartres. I love the ease of public transportation in Europe, it is so civilized. I am sitting on the left side of the train so I can see the cathedral in the distance as I arrive in Chartres a little after noon. I have a cell booked at the Maison St Yves. I say cell because this is a building which used to house the monastery. I get the very last room at the very top far end and it is the best room there. I can see the Cathedral spires from my bed. There is a window seat where I end up spending hours writing and listening over the course of my 6 days there. Oh yes and it is sunny!

My days find a rhythm. I breakfast at the Maison, I sing in the Maison chapel which has a brilliant loud resonance, I visit the Cathedral. It is cold inside so I find myself wandering the narrow village streets of the old town to warm up, down to the river Eure and along its history. I drink a coffee in the sunny square with the beautiful people and look for some lunch. I walk as many circuits inside the church as outside. I am doing sing prayer. I was walking clockwise into the future and counterclockwise to work out past issues. A teacher of mine once said “prayer is doing the work” and when I combine that with my idea of God as being a verb, well walking circuits and singing softly within a structure where people have been opening their hearts for century’s filled me with a clear calm.

I am here to listen for the music and it is everywhere. I visit other area churches and sing in them. The melodies never stop, I am full of them.

One day I take the walk up to the top of the north bell tower. The steps are worn stone and the spiral is steep and narrow. The views are breathtaking. Another day I go down in the crypt for a tour from a very typical brusque French man. It is the oldest part of all of this collection of stone and feels it.

On Friday morning I am awakened by a disturbed cat. At first I thought it was a daemon, but as I started to wake up I realized it was a cat in heat, and the first day of spring. It was days after I made my reservations for this trip that I saw I would be there on the Friday of the spring equinox. And as it turns out Friday is the only day they uncover the famous labyrinth. It dates from sometime around 1200 it is 261.5 meters to the center and is made of flagstone and black marble. There are many people taking their shoes off to do this walk, I am too cold for that and have never much agreed with the idea of suffering as a path to anything. So I walk into the center. There is a chant I hear and sing which I later record. The idea is the labyrinth allows a person to make a symbolic pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I befriended a woman who is doing the pilgrimage from her home in Dortmund, Germany. She walks on her holidays once a year. It has taken her two trips to get here. We have dinner together 2 nights and we take a short history tour of some of the windows from a man who when I asked if he spoke English, he laughed and said” like a Spanish Cow!”

On Saturday the small town was filled with families going to the farmers market and all that needs be done. The Maison started filling up with guests from America and Germany and it was much too busy about for any contemplation so I walked a good distance to the far hills of the cemetery. I was trying to have a conversation with the long passed, the standing mausoleums were very beautiful and the view back toward old town and the cathedral on the hill were glorious. I only got one loud harrumph in response to my queries. I was thinking it is that I was not speaking French. Somehow I was under the impression that spirit soul speak was beyond language. That evening back in “Our Lady of Chartres” I was honored to listen to the Madison, Wisconsin University sing for an hour, late when the church is usually closed. There were bats flying and dancing around the lofty ceilings. What a treat.

Sunday I decided to go to Mass. The altar boys were swinging the incense burner and I was taken back into another time.  My maternal grandmother Louise Pifer was Roman Catholic and as children she would sometimes bring us with her to mass in the small town of Globe, Arizona. I have always made a point of attending the services of the local churches while I travel. And since it is in languages I don’t speak it becomes mystical and theatrical. I can assign my own meanings to their rituals. And so I did again. Later that day when I went back for some more sing prayer I was surprised by the hundreds of children that filled up the church. Turns out it was the French children pilgrimage day all over France. I walked out into the day and into another direction.

Monday morning was my last day before returning to Paris. I had met a German musician who was responsible for all of the Germans at Maison. He was doing some kind of retreat which included a private time before the church opened on Monday morning. I asked if I could join and he said yes. So at 8am I am standing with a crowd of 30 people who see me but don’t speak to me. Herlich arrives and we are let into the dark cathedral. Everyone wanders silently about until we hear a flute playing. The silence inside at this hour combined with the darkness is a blessing to witness. The flute coming from everywhere at once is humbling.  After he plays on 2 different instruments I hear 3 chimes and notice everyone is heading towards the front of the cathedral. We form a circle and start singing. I join in quietly and smile and sing the vowels or hum along. We do ceremony, kind of like Chi gong. I am blessed and leave the church skipping.

Another fun part of the timing of this trip is that 2 dear friends of mine do a tour of France once a year and they are now here. We agree to meet in Chartres and when I check out of my cell and walk towards the church there is Elin Babcock coming toward me. Inside are the rest of the group with Michael Gibson, both are artists I have been members with in Ashland at Ashland Art works.

We are standing at the front of the church waiting to go down into the crypt when Elin asks if I will sing. It is frowned upon to make noise without an invitation but I figure I am leaving anyway so I find a place to focus, the ceiling above the main alter and start singing. I am not sure how long I sing when the ceiling lights up just where I am looking and takes my breath away. I turn to Elin who is in tears and ask Did you see that? She did not see anything and tells me that they were shushing me at first and then stopped. Before we leave Elin asks me again to sing. I suggest the back of the place, further away from the attendants. I turn on my small recorder and start to sing the sweetest song yet. Somehow it completely empties me. When I stop there are people all around standing still and silent. When I check my recorder it has turned itself off. There is no song recorded. Later, over a French beer, I am telling Michael this and pondering whither “Our Lady of Chartres” decided she wanted this song for herself, to be kept in the cathedral,when  the lights in the pub we were in started to blink off and on for a least 30 seconds.

I found a hotel a block away from Elin and company called the Peace hotel and included myself in a 2 dinners with the group. Spent the day with another friend from Ashland, Karina Scott and anxiously awaited my flight back to Ashland.

I am home now and the music is still all the time in my head and I am up at all hours, editing and arranging and getting ready to record.

And yes I am still listening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

view from my bed

view from my bed