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DANIKA THE ROSE: A TALE SPOKEN AND SUNG with Odds Bodkin, Jazimina MacNeil and Sarah Shafer

DEER AND THORNS

In young Danika’s river valley, her friends the deer have always kept the meadows clear of the dangerous brambles. If allowed to grow, these brambles produce long black thorns, like upright knives. But when, to impress Danika, the Duke launches a mass deer hunt and brings back more dead ones than the castle’s denizens can ever eat, all the animals who have survived the hunt escape across the Danube.

The Duke’s forest is now empty.

And the thorns begin to spread. The Duke comes to regret that.

 

A NEW PERFORMANCE WORK

Come listen to Odds Bodkin tell his original adult fairy tale with character voices and sound effects while sopranos Jazimina MacNeil and Sarah Shafer interweave Dvorak’s Moravian Duets throughout.

And hear an astonishing new Bodkin character voice—a bird who speaks in understandable chirps.

This new work of classical music and storytelling premieres October 6, 2019 at 4 p.m. in Bass Hall in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

Tickets are $30. Seating is limited. Grab your tickets today at ElectricEarthConcerts.

UPCOMING PREMIERE: DANIKA THE ROSE

Classical Singers

Author and Storyteller Odds Bodkin’s Danika the Rose is an adult fairy tale, over an hour in length. Each episode introduces a sublime Moravian Duet sung by Jazimina MacNeil and Sarah Shafer, with piano accompaniments by Emely Phelps. Dvorak’s melodies are joyous in places, in others, haunting. It premieres in Peterborough, New Hampshire on Sunday, October 6th.

A Consummate Storyteller

The New York Times calls Odds Bodkin “a consummate storyteller.” Danika the Rose is his original tale.

A Compelling Story

Here’s part of the exciting new story he will tell:

In the shadow of a spoiled Duke’s castle, Danika, a peasant girl, thinks of the Duke’s gamekeeper as “Dano the Arrow,” because quiet, lithe and handsome Dano never misses when he draws his bow. He is a good man of the forest, but when Danika falls in love with him, her parents recoil.

“A cuckoo will sing at Christmas before you marry this lowly, woodsy man!” her father scoffs, because both he and her mother think that once Duke Maximilian sees Danika––she is preternaturally beautiful––he’ll want her for his duchess. Cuckoos in the Danube valley, of course, fly south in winter. They never sing at Christmas.

Soon enough Duke Maximilian sees her, and just as quickly he develops an obsession for her. He sends Dano away to war, and on a promise that he won’t touch her until she decides that she loves him, Danika reluctantly moves into the Duke’s castle.

He is cruel. Not to her, but to her animal friends, the deer and birds. Cluelessly, he abuses them to impress her and his efforts have the opposite effect. She cannot find a way to love him. Thorns grow over her heart, even as real thorns, giant ones, begin to choke the meadows.

Premiere on October 6th

Danika the Rose premieres Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 4 p.m. in Bass Hall in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Tickets are $30. Seating is limited. Grab your tickets today at ElectricEarthConcerts.

COMING IN OCTOBER: A STORY HIDDEN IN ANTONIN DVORAK’S SONG LYRICS

THE MORAVIAN DUETS

Antonin Dvorak, the great 19th Century Czech composer, wrote sophisticated folk songs he named the Moravian Duets, after Moravia, a land along the Danube River. In translation, the lyrics tell of young lovers torn apart by parents and war, of farm life among meadows and forests owned by powerful landlords, and other details of agrarian life in those times. Songbirds figure in many of the songs.

A NEW WORK

However, these works aren’t particularly well-known to the public. Commissioned by singer Jazimina MacNeil and guided by these snippets of story, Odds Bodkin took on the task of crafting them together into a cohesive fiction. The result is Danika the Rose–over an hour of richly textured storytelling and music.

As with most fairy tales, there are innocents and a villain, but this story also digs deep into environmental awareness and ecosystems pushed out of balance, along with exploring human beings’ complex relationships with game animals.

 

PREMIERES IN OCTOBER

If you attend the adult premiere on Sunday Oct. 6th, 4 pm at Bass Hall in Peterborough, New Hampshire, expect a compelling story told in English interspersed with songs sung in Czech. Unless you know the Czech language, you’ll simply be absorbed by the sheer beauty of two renowned young sopranos singing Dvorak’s music, together with an accompanist.

 

Odds Bodkin’s Danika the Rose

With Jazimina MacNeil and Sarah Shafer

Emely Phelps at the piano

 

October 6, 2019 at 4 p.m. in Bass Hall in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

Tickets are $30. Seating is limited. Grab your tickets today at ElectricEarthConcerts.

There’s Something About Danika

There’s something about Danika––how she communicates with animals––that sets her apart from the other peasant girls. Deep into the story, after the furious and jealous Duke has locked her in the tower for striking him and calling him a liar to his face, a starling lands on her windowsill. In secret she teaches him human speech. But he is just one of the animals who help her. The pale Cuckoos do, too, guiding her in a dream to her true love, Dano, whom the Duke has sent to a far away war. And in the end, when a hundred stags lower their antlers and charge the Duke’s pack of killer dogs, the stags do so at Danika’s command.

Come listen to Odds Bodkin tell his original tale as mezzo soprano Jazimina MacNeil and soprano Sarah Shafer sing the glorious Moravian Duets of Antonin Dvorak, giving this story an interwoven musical life like no other.

Jazimina MacNeil                                      Sarah Shafer

 

If as a child you loved Peter and the Wolf, you’ll love Danika the Rose.

This new work of classical music and powerful storytelling premieres October 6, 2019 at 4 p.m. in Bass Hall in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

 

Tickets are $30. Seating is limited. Grab your tickets today at ElectricEarthConcerts.

THE ODYSSEY this Saturday Night/Odds Bodkin

THE ODYSSEY: A Storytelling Evening with Odds Bodkin. Show starts at 8 pm at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH. Older kids and teens welcome. Enjoy an immersion into Greek mythology you’ll never forget!

TICKETS are $13 in advance, $15 at the door.

THE WORLD’S FIRST WEATHER MACHINE

Aeolus is the King of the Winds and lives in luxury on Aeolia, his island in the middle of the Mediterranean. One day twelve Greek triremes sail into his harbor, crewed by thirsty, starving men. It turns out they’re lost soldiers from the war at Troy, led by a fellow named Odysseus. Utterly entertained by this warrior captain’s tales, Aeolus hosts the hungry Greeks for a month. They rest, grow strong again, and he lavishly provisions their fleet for the journey home.

Before they leave, Aeolus secretly hands Odysseus a leather bag tied with a silver wire. “In this bag,” he says, “are all the storm winds of the sea. Keep the bag closed, and you’ll have good winds at your stern all the way to Ithaca.”

Sadly, it turns out, as they approach Ithaca, jealous sailors open the bag, thinking there’s gold inside, and release the winds. Sudden storms blow the fleet all the way back to Aeolia, where this time the king curses them.

Hapless again, the fleet next comes upon an island swarming with giant cannibals.

——–

I’ll be telling this episode, and many others, this Saturday night at 8 pm at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH, when I perform The Odyssey: An Epic Telling.

Music on 12-string guitar and Celtic harp. Vivid character voices. Sounds of winds and sea.

Grab some friends and enjoy a different kind of night on the town.

 

Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the door.

A WEEK FROM TODAY: Odds Bodkin performs The Odyssey in NH

Grab your tickets today to see Odds Bodkin perform his epic version of Homer’s THE ODYSSEY next Saturday night, July 27th, in Nashua, NH. The show starts at 8 pm at the Riverwalk Music Bar. Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the door.

TICKETS

MAGIC IN THE BACK SEAT

It’s not too often that parents in the front seat listen to their kids’ media in the back.

So if it’s “raining tacos” in your car and that’s driving you crazy, consider The Little Proto Trilogy, three feature-length dinosaur stories by Odds Bodkin. Good for ages four and up. They’re audios, but so full of sound and action they feel like movies. Great adventures. Solid life lessons. Lots of laughs. Even songs to sing.

 

Download your Little Proto Trilogy today!

 

ON DEVOURING PEOPLE AND OTHER IMAGINARY ACTS

Polyphemus is a Cyclops, a one-eyed giant, and as with many giants, he enjoys devouring people. He’s not very bright, but stands as tall as thirteen men on one another’s shoulders and so has a long reach when he grabs at something. His voice is low, like word thunder, and he’s quick to anger. And so when Odysseus and his 24 men appear unexpectedly in the Cyclops’ cave after a long day tending his flocks, Polyphemus roars his fury, shoves a giant boulder into the exit and snatches up two men, popping off their heads and eating them.

Horrible as it sounds, of all the characters I enact when I perform The Odyssey, Polyphemus is probably the most fun. My right eye shuts, leaving only the left one open, and I’ve been told my face contorts into something truly ugly once he shows up in the story.

Along with the 12-string guitar score that races along during these grisly scenes, his voice and actions make for a crazy combination of stimuli. Intense enough, I hope, to become cinematic for listeners.

I’ll be performing large sections of The Odyssey Saturday night, July 27, 2019 at 8 pm at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH. It’s a great venue with excellent sound and intimate seating, not to mention delicious food.

Just try to be done eating by the time Polyphemus snacks on the humans!

————

 

Odds Bodkin’s The Odyssey

July 27th at 8 pm

The Riverwalk Music Bar, Nashua, NH

$13 in advance, $15 at the door

 

TICKETS

A NEW FUSION OF STORYTELLING AND CLASSICAL MUSIC: Danika the Rose

I was onstage at the Thoreau School in Concord, MA, warming up my harp for a show when a young woman entered the empty auditorium and walked up to the stage. “Odds, my name is Jazimina MacNeil,” she said. “I’m a singer, and I have a proposition for you.”

Never having met her, I kept on playing. “Do tell,” I replied, intrigued. “What’s your name again?”

“Jazimina. I’m a mezzo-soprano.”

Interesting name, I thought. “Classical music?”

“Yes.” She and a colleague, a soprano, Sarah Shafer, Jazimina explained, specialize in singing Antonin Dvorak’s Moravian Duets, a little-known set of songs with lyrics in Czech, the preponderance of them for two women’s voices.

I’ve loved Dvorak’s music all my life, especially his New World Symphony. “So why are we talking?” I asked.

“I want you to write a fairy tale based on the duets,” she said. “One that you can tell, while Sarah and I sing the songs in between.”

I immediately thought of Serge Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, a favorite of mine as a child. A combination of storytelling and classical music. This project could be similar, but new.

“Not many people know about these duets, but with a story,” she added, “they might love them as much as we do.”

Long story short, two years later we’re preparing summer rehearsals with pianist Emely Phelps for the premiere of Danika the Rose in October. It will take place in Peterborough, New Hampshire at Bass Hall, with the help of The Harris Center and Electric Earth Concerts.

 

Tickets are on sale.

 

THE OLD MAN SPEAKS: A Story for the AMC Trail Crew

Here’s a quick preview of this new commissioned work, to be debuted in August 2019.

Why Bar Hop When You Can Island Hop?

It’s Saturday night in New Hampshire and instead of bar hopping, why not island hop with Odysseus of Ithaca in 1300 B.C.? Unlike him, you can settle in comfortably and order drinks and a dinner as I regale you with his namesake story, the Odyssey. The Island of the Lotus Eaters is where fentanyl-like flowers grow; Odysseus and his men are lucky to escape alive, which can’t be said for their visit to the Island of the Cyclops. Other islands come: the Island of the Cannibals where most of his fleet is destroyed; Aeolia, the Island of the King of the Winds who puts all the storms into an ill-fated bag which, of course, doesn’t stay closed; on and on. Island after island. Adventure after adventure.

I’ve been telling this tale with 12-string guitar and harp for decades and will be doing a fairly long version of it (not the complete 4 hours, though) at the Riverwalk Music Bar on July 27, 2019 at 8 pm.

This is a full evening’s entertainment.

Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the door. It’s appropriate for kids over the age of nine, too.

I hope to see you there!

 

The Odyssey with Odds Bodkin

Saturday July 27th 2019 at 8 pm

The Riverwalk Music Bar, Nashua NH