Browsing articles from "March, 2011"

Lalena; The Girl

By Robbi  //  Love, The girl  //  12 Comments

The Girl

I would so love to call the girl Lalena after the Donovan song that Deep Purple covered.  But it seems no matter how you sing this beautiful name it has Donovan all over it.  So for now she is a nameless mystery.  But in my secret place she is called Lalena.

I think the album begins with a song about her and touches on elements of her world.  It is a full moon night – she is going through a Luna retreat alone on the sacred hills a little way from her village.  The villagers are of course partying with songs, exotic dancers, wines and sweet wines that foam! She alone, in the sacred hills, enters deeply into the mystery of the Moon Magik, under the guidance of the High Priestess of her Clan.

The song describes the mythical qualities that surround her life and how she feels about them.  In the video you see I have only a small guitar part to begin with as I start to write the lyrics.  By the end of it the song has developed really nicely with a solemn chant and an exhilarating penny whistle piece.  This penny whistle – is a first for me!


Breathing of time is scented for her now / Floating on the blossoming sky / blowing through the days of flutes and anklets /fanning the poets lit fire / and the beggars bowl is filled with a spring dance/ laughingly scented for all / these are the days of melody and welcome / upon the leaves of a song

On these sacred hills alone she wanders / Moonlight entangled in her hair / The jewels on her brow sparkle like dancers /  Silk, soft and fair / These are the ways she must reach for her wisdom / Healing for all to bear /  The truest of treasures, the softest of pleasures / Before the dawns gold aire…

Since this album is written in mythological style and manner with regards to channeling the lyrics (dream-speak) rather than intellectually carving them, the words are naturally rich with symbols. For example the moon in ancient wisdom represents the subconscious mind, memories, and psychological patterns; it also pertains to the emotions.   The hair on a person’s head symbolizes what that person’s thoughts are radiating -- their “mental aura” so to speak…so we have a lovely image in the lyrics

‘moonlight entangled in her hair’.

This simple phrase captures the idea of the contemplative Luna magical workings she is entangled or absorbed in.  The prize of this sort of spiritual practice leads to “the truest of treasures, the softest of pleasures”; there is nothing more subtle, or more blissful than consciousness awakening into super consciousness.

Those of you who have some experience with Tarot and alchemical symbolism will immediately recognize the formula for the making of the “gold” which is imbedded in the story of this album.  The secret to making gold lies in the alchemical wedding. Only atheists and fools really believe the alchemist gold is a solid material. Those who know -- know, that there is no such thing in the entire universe as a ‘solid particle with fixed properties.   These are some of the ideas hidden within the concept of this album

Please share your insights.




Venus in Moon: photo art by Kripa

Moon card lifted from:

Art card lifted from:




Love, the making of.

By Robbi  //  Love  //  27 Comments


This album will be my first  solo album.  Although I am the music director for  the band tribe after tribe the approach to this album is something altogether different. Firstly tribe after tribe is “african acid rock” based and considered to be one of the pioneers of world rock.  So in a sense when i write for tribe i keep these african rock parameters in mind so that there is some kind of continuity between albums. For this album the challenge will be to stay away from my africanisms.  As a musician i have always been interested in ethnic music of the world,  i have studied turkish music, Indian music, classical baroque , jazz and i play many different instruments from various cultures. My deepest relationship has been with the Saraswati Vina.  ( i am waiting to grow up so i can approach the Rudra Vina next)

Robbi with the vina

Also I am blessed to have had some wonderful music teachers in  my life from Mike Dickman to Mrs Moss (trinity college in south africa) from Alan Kwela to Alan Weinberg and many more.

So now with the making of the Love album i am venturing into three realms of music that i have not used in a rock context before namely -- celtic music and music of the vikings ;  then applying baroque fugal techniques for  the arrangements.   Unfortunetly there isn’t much viking music to draw on -- we do know that they used flutes made of bone and they had hand drums.

Viking flutes

Viking flutes

Modern commentators describe the melodies of the Vikings as “eerie,” because the harmony is one that is unfamiliar to modern ears. The strangeness of  the singing of the Vikings, has been compared to the howling of wolves or dogs. Though their melodies are beautiful,  the major third was regarded as a dissonant interval in the early Middle Ages in Europe because most European music at the time utilized Pythagorean tuning, which gives pure fifths, but very nasty thirds.

Here is a pic and score of one of the earliest Scandinavian pieces of music discovered.

Viking score

Viking score





The text reads:

“i dreamt a dream last night
of silk and fur.”

It is the oldest preserved piece of music known in Denmark.

Here is pic and score of an earlier piece of music that scholars believe sheds light on the music of the vikings.

De la borde

The hymn is written for a two-voices  in the Lydian mode and harmonized in parallel thirds. This is known as a parallel organum in thirds, one of the earliest polyphonic forms. In the northern parts of of Britain,  the people who inhabit these parts use a similar kind of singing in harmony  but with  only two distinct melodies and parts, one murmuring below, the other charming the ear above. Since the English do not generally use this manner of singing,  it is believed that the vikings, who often occupied these parts of the island brought this special manner of singing to the northerners.  So on this album you will hear this stylistic idea being used especially on the first song about the Boy who is from a Viking Ship.

De la borde

One source of viking musical evidence comes from  a book written by Jean-Baptise de la Borde, Essai sur la Musique Ancienne et Moderne. In his book, Borde included five tunes to Old Norse texts, which he said were “as they today are sung in Iceland.” Iceland being so remote maintained the language of the Vikings almost unchanged up to the present day, The melodies seem  to be similar to the hymn. The strange thing about these melodies is that they  circle around the major third and the tune only goes one note above and one below, so that the entire range is within a fifth.  Again this motive will appear often throughout this album

The music of the Girl and her clan is based more or less on Celtic ideas where i hope to get some intense Bodhran drumming in.

The Story of Love

The Love story is about two soul mates who have incarnated on parallel universes. He is from a Viking clan and she from a Gaul clan. The vikings have arrived at her island which causes much grief to the islanders. Meantime our lovers longing for each other will create a worm hole of sorts through which they will meet up for a few minutes.

The entire writing and recording of this album will be documented on video. Many times you will see me begin a song from scratch having no words or chords. Other times you will see me using my “dream-speak”  technique which involves me singing from a sub-conscious place and then writing down what i have sung afterwards. These are things i usually do in solitude and in the privacy of my studio  -- so now you have it.  I hope you enjoy witnessing this process.

Join tribe after tribe page on face book or  tribeaftertribemusic channel on youtube to get the latest releases of the video documentary and more.

shine on.