Insider’s view of dinner at Songwriter’s Café

An earlier post on Songwriter’s Café shared a glimpse of this live-streamed music venue in Birmingham, England. As the first guest blogger on A Dash of Culture, Robin Valk of Radio To Go imparts his intimate view of the flow that brings together musicians and wordsmiths over dinner each season with host Paul Murphy at Songwriter’s Café. It starts on Wednesday, when Paul and Valeria work out some numbers. How many musicians? How many helpers? What sort of margin for error? How’s the salad patch looking? Then it’s off for eggplants and supplies for Thursday night’s communal supper. Are we … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, History, Music | Tagged Aubergine, Birmingham, Culture, Eggplant Parmesan, Music, Paul Murphy, Robin Valk, Songwriter's | 3 Comments

Food for the Soul: Music and Aubergines at the Songwriter’s Café

It always amazes me how the simple act of preparing and sharing a meal brings people together in so many creative ways, especially when the experience includes live music and poetry.  These moments are even more special when the artists are the dinner guests.  This is how the Songwriter’s Café is run over in Birmingham, England.  Host Paul Murphy is singer and songwriter in the Birmingham band, The Destroyers, a 15-member ensemble of very energetic musicians. What started in 1996 at a local tavern as an open venue for musicians and poets to come together has morphed into a small, … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Music | Tagged a dash of culture, Aubergine, Birmingham, Culture, Eggplant Parmesan, England, Music, Paul Murphy, Robin Valk, Songwriter’s Café | Leave a comment

Food in Music: It’s not very far, Sugar…

My vision for this blog is to relate food and culture, and this post certainly leans more toward the culture end of it – most specifically, how my favorite musician and songwriter, Elvis Costello, works food into his lyrics.  This topic came to me because I recently attended the final concert of The Revolver Tour in the US.  By far, it was the most amazing concert experience for me…ever!  Not only was Elvis Costello on point and supremely energetic as always, The Imposters were just fabulous.  And the most amazing part: I was chosen to spin the Spectacular Spinning Songbook … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Literature, Music | Tagged Culture, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, lyrics, metaphor, Music, Song | Leave a comment

Reclaiming Civilization: The Anniversary of Gandhi’s Salt March

From the earliest times, humans have harvested and traded resources.  Salt is one of the oldest harvested commodities, with salt extraction sites appearing in archeological records as far back as the late Neolithic period, right around the time civilizations were moving from the Stone Age into agrarian societies.  In fact, salt extraction is considered a process indicating the step toward organized society.  It certainly required coordinated efforts to mine rock salt or collect salt crystals from water sources.  Salt extraction also required more advanced technology than simple stone tools, and early pottery helped to advance salt processing.  Briquetage was a … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, History | Tagged archeology, briquetage, Culture, food preservation, Gandhi, salt, salt-curing | 3 Comments

Waters of March and April (food) Fools

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb…Once upon a time, this was how March came to me on the cusp of cold winter air, with hints of spring through patches of white and crystal icicle drips on top of leaves from last autumn.  But that was up north.  Here in the southeast, there is no real winter to speak of, and since moving to North Carolina, each year spring has come earlier than I ever imagined it could.  Early spring flowers bloomed at the end of January.  A second wave of native flower buds have already popped, with Bellwort … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Culture, History, Music, Restaurants | Tagged Águas de Março, Antonio Jobim, April Fool, bossa nova, Elis Regina, garden, Maple View Farm, native plants, Rio de Janeiro, spring | Leave a comment