Holly Tannen sings traditional folk songs of England, Scotland, and the Appalachians, her own satirical songs about Mendocino life, and settings of her translations of the poetry of 19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud.
Holly holds a Master's degree in folklore from the University of California at Berkeley, where she studied under Alan Dundes. She wrote her master's thesis on traditional ballads told as stories among Scotland's Travelling People.
From the liner notes:
Seven Years with the Spirit of Arthur Rimbaud.
* Listen *
fifty-one I was living on the northern California coast. One foggy
August day in a fit of boredom, I rented a movie: Total Eclipse,
starring Leonardo di Caprio as Rimbaud. I hated it so much I watched it
twice, and stormed around the house cursing at it. The next day I drove
into Mendocino to return it. Walking down Ukiah street, suddenly
Rimbaud was right there. It wasn't possession trance - I was still
there. But it wasn't imagination either. I took down my yellowed copies
of Illuminations and A Season In Hell.
you will set yourself to this work...Your memory and your senses will
be nothing but the nourishment of your creative impulse. As for the
world, when you emerge, what shall it have become? In any case, nothing
that it appears to be now.
These aren't poems, they're spells!
Was Rimbaud, as he claimed, a musician who has invented something like the key of love? Was he, as I have come to suspect, the heir to a long-suppressed European shamanic tradition?"
The past seven years Holly has devoted herself to Rimbaud's infamous, inept, obstinate, mysterious work of creating a poetic language accessible to all the senses. Crazy Laughter includes songs from Holly's one-woman, one-entity show Practical Alchemy: An Exquisitely Perverse Grace, Holly's settings of Rimbaud's poems, and a couple of Holly's satirical songs about life in Mendocino.
language will be of the soul and for the soul, encompassing everything:
sound, scent, color, thought catching thought and pulling... -
A. Rimbaud, 1871
The musicians: Shira Kammen,
Danny Carnahan, Sylvia Herold, Maureen Brennan, Francy Vidal and Edmond
Badoux, Marcia Sloane, Michael Hubbert, Charlie Hancock, Adam Miller,
and Manose. Produced by Holly Tannen and Danny Carnahan
The spin about Holly Tannen
Tannen sings to centuries-old melodies, and then all of a sudden you
notice she's singing about the Internet or Beavis and Butthead or
northern California marijuana growers. Tannen sings these songs as if
the ancient ballads were always about things like that (and in a
sense, they were). Tannen also knows just when and how to aim for the
heart with something a bit more serious.
Dr. Demento, Demento Society Newsletter
Tannen has blossomed into an ecumenical iconoclast with a sparkling
instrumental sound and a blowtorch aimed at every sacred cow in the
spiritual strip mall.
Mitch Ritter, Dirty Linen
Holly is one of the best and funniest songwriters I know. -
Faith Petric, Sing Out!
* Listen *
Traditional and modern songs
about the intersection of our world and the world of spirit.
Between the Worlds was one of three recordings I chose to take on a research trip to Antarctica.
It was cool! Her music helped me keep my perspective in an awesome place.
- Jim Oakden, marine biologist
* Listen *
Practical Alchemy: An Exquisitely Perverse Grace
Holly's one-woman, one-entity show
In song and story, Holly recounts the history of her love affair
with 19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud.
and Holly's other CDs $18 each
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