Vermont College of Fine Arts asked me to participate in a Fund raising event called ‘Art and Connection’, to present my Walt Whitman Songbook in May 2021. Originally I was going to premiere my 30 minute video of ‘A Song of the Rolling Earth’, then decided that no one wants to watch a 30 minute music video for the event, and felt the event would be better served by featuring some on the vocalists and musicians who participated. Since I did make a point of asking only VCFA Music Composition graduates to sing on the album, it only seem right to allow the students and musicians to speak. So I ended up creating this 72 minute video based on Zoom interviews I conducted with any of the participants that expressed interest.
Full 72 minute video of the VCFA Walt Whitman Presentation. Walt Whitman Songbook – Zoom Discussions with Musicians Updated participants list.
All participants are being asked 4 questions.
1.) Please introduce yourself. 2.) Were you familiar with Whitman before the project? 3.) Can you discuss some of your process (interpretation, technique, technical etc..) used to record your part? 4.) Your main takeaways from contributing to the project?
Special Guests (non-VCFA) Steve Bartek(Film Composer/Guitarist) , David Crigger(Drums/Percussion) and Leon Gaer(Bass) .
VCFA Graduates Dawn Clement (MC ’15), Jessica Muñiz-Collado (MC ’14), Marjorie Halloran (MC ’15), Mario Inchausti (MC ’18), Philip W. Riegle (MC ’17), Peter Spencer (MC ’13), Michael Garrett Steele (MC ’16)
Structure-Program Quick Hello from Craig Who Ever You Are- Dawn Clement – David Crigger – Craig Pallett Who Ever You Are – Video Laws for Creations – Garrett Steele – Marjorie Halloran – Craig Pallett Laws for Creations – Video Premiere I Swear – Mario Inchausti – Leon Gaer – Steve Bartek – David Crigger – Craig Pallett I Swear – Video Amelioration – Philip Riegle – Craig Pallett Amelioration – Video On the Beach Alone at Night – Peter Spencer – Jessic Collado – Craig Pallett On the Beach at Night Alone – Video Premiere
During the Covid mess, I decided to write music based on meditations and reflections of imagery from Romio Shrestha’s book called Celestial Gallery.
Celestial Gallery is the largest book that we own, and was given to us maybe 15 years ago by alchemist author David Goddard, on one of his visits. It is so big, it demands ‘making space’ for it. I decided to pull it from the depths of our bookshelves, put it up in front of my keyboard, and starting writing a piece each day for 14 days based on my meditations and reflections of this work.
I have been practicing meditation now for over 35 years. I was one of the founders of the Boston Meditation Society and was a committed Buddhist monk for 4 years, so meditation can be a useful tool for me to access as a composer. But it is also tricky, since I am not intentionally writing music to meditate too. (That is not my thing). So this music is really my reflections on both the text and imagery from the book, after I contemplate, and mediate for perhaps 30 minutes.
So my routine was for 14 days. Read and Contemplate the accompanying text for one image. Meditate on the imagery. Then build out a full compositional track, and layer out the tracks while still absorbing the full image. I would do this from 3-4 hours each day for 14 days until I decided to stop this practice. I started on August 28th 2020 and ended on September 10th 2020.
In October 2020, then put on my producer hat, and listened to all 14 compositions. I decided to put together 8 of the 14 works, into the ‘Buddha’ project, and started mixing what I created for several weeks.
Another new video based on the Walt Whitman Songbook, from the new album by Craig Pallett.
From the Album ‘Walt Whitman Songbook’
Poem by Walt Whitman
Composed – Craig Pallett
Vocals – Peter Spencer
Percussion Performance and Arrangement – Jessica Collado
All Programming/Keyboards/Arrangement – Craig Pallett
Vocals recorded/engineered by Craig Pallett in August 2019 Montpelier, VT
Video Composite – Craig Pallett
Video Content – Pixabay, Peter Spencer, Craig Pallett
Copyright 2020 Affinity Systems (BMI)
Based on the 2019 Songbook of the same title available on Amazon.
Produced, Engineered, Mixed and Mastered – Craig Pallett
Created a new video for the Walt Whitman Presentation Details below.
Vocals – Marjorie Halloran & Michael Garrett Steele Percussion Performance and Arrangement – Craig Pallett Halloran vocals recorded/engineered by Craig Pallett in February 2020 Montpelier, VT Composed by Craig Pallett Text by Walt Whitman Copyright 2020 Affinity Systems (BMI) Based on the 2019 Songbook of the same title available on Amazon. Produced, Engineered, Mixed and Mastered – Craig Pallett
New Video – Walt Whitman Songbook – ‘Whoever You Are !’ (feat. Dawn Clement). I hope to complete the full ‘A Song of the Rolling Earth’ work, which will contain this and 5 other videos from the Songbook, in the next few weeks.
New Video – Walt Whitman Songbook – ‘Three Hundred and Sixty-Five’ (feat. Stephanie Meyers). I hope to complete the full ‘A Song of the Rolling Earth’ work, which will contain this and 6 other videos from the Songbook, in the next few weeks.
My Spiritual teacher/mentor/advisor and friend, for the last 20 years, Warren Kenton, died this Monday September 21st at the age of 87 in London. He is more widely known as ‘Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi’ and is the author of 14 or more books on Kabbalah. I am so fortunate to have had his guidance at this stage of my life. He was the real deal.
I met Warren for the first time at the Open Center in NYC, in 2001. Chris had known him for years and invited me to a talk. What I remember from the encounter is, I simply told him I was a Buddhist, and asked him if I could study Kabbalah with him. Before this meeting, I actually didn’t have a clue as to what Kabbalah is. This was the beginning of many adventures to London and the UK.
Chris and I would regularly attend his Kabbalistic Summer School, held yearly in the English countryside at Hawkwood College in the Cotswolds, and would normally visit him at his London home each time we were in the UK. We had just purchased a new Pro Sony video camera, and we started taping his talks, maybe one or two each summer, all the while attending these talks as participants. We also taped other talks, in Boston, Vermont and Mexico. In 2010 Warren gave us permission to tape the entire summer school. By that time we were using 2 cameras and a Zoom mic. Warren would normally give 15-16 lectures over a 5 day period. This ended up being a massive task, since we were also attending, and the end result was over 50 hours of recordings. This was edited by us in 2011 and I created an online subscription site to view this video content. It is still online at http://kabbalahsocietyvideo.com/ We also started interviewing Warren in his London house, and many of his students and other events until 2013. We are currently working on a documentary about him.
Until recently, for the last 14 years, I have been the webmaster and programmer for his organizations web site Kabbalah Society International . Chris and I also formatted and created all 15 of the Kindle editions of his work at Amazon . So between editing videos, formatting electronic versions of his book, and actually attending lectures, I probably know more about Kabbalah than I did 20 years ago.
I am going to miss Warren a lot on a physical level, but I’m sure he was ready for his next adventure. Much love to his wife Rebekah, and all his other students. I look forward to continuing to edit this new film about him, which will be a constant reminder of his teachings.
August 6th 2020 Released new Walt Whitman Songbook.
Walt Whitman Songbook – A Song of the Rolling Earth by Craig Pallett
The Earth’s Words (feat. Tiffany Pfeiffer) Amelioration (feat. Philip W. Riegle) Never Fail (feat. Kei Slaughter) Three Hundred and Sixty–Five (feat. Stephanie Meyers) Whoever You Are! (feat. Dawn Clement) I Swear (feat. Mario Inchausti) Tones of Souls (feat. Jo-Hannah Reynolds) Laws for Creations (feat. Marjorie Halloran & Michael Garrett Steele) On the Beach at Night Alone (feat. Peter Spencer) France, The 18th Year of these States. (feat. Sarah LeMieux)
Composed by Craig Pallett Text by Walt Whitman Copyright 2020 Affinity Systems (BMI) Based on the 2019 Songbook of the same title available on Amazon.
Produced, Engineered, Mixed and Mastered – Craig Pallett
Vocals – Tiffany Pfeiffer, Philip W. Riegle, Kei Slaughter, Stephanie Meyers, Dawn Clement, Mario Inchausti, Jo-Hannah Reynolds, Marjorie Halloran, Michael Garrett Steele, Peter Spencer and Sarah LeMieux
All Programming, Orchestrations, Arrangements, Digital Manipulation – Craig Pallett Percussion Arrangements and performances by David Crigger, Jessica Collado and Craig Pallett Additional performance by Steve Bartek and Leon Gaer on ‘I Swear’
June 24th 2020 40 minute video created for the May 15th 2020 – Mary Rowell ‘Meditations for Violin’ release party. Full high resolution version, used by TURNmusic for the online event. First 10 minutes is a placeholder which allows viewers time to logon and access.
Tracks Circle of Light – 17:38 Lisbon – 5:23 Blueberries – 10:26 Vermont Tornado – 12:46
Credits Violin – Mary Rowell Composer, Electronics, Programming, Keyboards – Craig Pallett Produced by – Craig Pallett and Mary Rowell Engineered and Mastered – Craig Pallett Recorded October 2019 – Affinity Studios Vermont Cover Design – Chris Demers
Circle of Light uses additional Midi data originally created by Steve Kaplan in 1987, re-programmed by Craig Pallett
Two Vermonters struggle to express the clear reality of the world we now appear to be living in. Sounds like a plot that can only thicken but I am not going to try. One of the worlds great violinist, stopped by the studio in October 2019 one day, and she recorded these four compositions I created for her. Just her violin and my Mac. Enjoy.