12-String Guitar and Celtic Harp Fourth of July Concert this Saturday in Bradford NH

Odds Bodkin Free Music on June 30th in NH

I first started playing 12-string guitar in the stairwell of my dorm at Duke University. This was some time ago, and over the years I’ve scored all sorts of tales, from epics to short ones, with 12-strings in various tunings. Often folks come up after shows and say something like, “Wow, I could just listen to the music without the story and still be entertained.”

I’ve heard this a lot.

And so, for folks who like to listen to 12-string instrumental music, as well as Celtic harp music (all original stuff), I’ll be doing a 2-hour concert on the sunny porch of the Sweet Beet Market in Bradford, NH this coming Saturday morning at 10:00.

This is part of Bradford’s renowned Fourth of July celebration which takes place this year on June 30th. There’s a full day of fun events all over town.

The event is free and you can grab a chair and fresh breakfast food while you listen. It’s very informal.

Hope to see you there!

 

PS: I’ll have Epic Drives and Master Drives for sale at the event.

NEW MUSIC BY ODDS BODKIN AND GAVIN BODKIN/The Faery Hop

NEW MUSIC BY ODDS BODKIN AND GAVIN BODKIN/The Faery Hop

One night recently Gavin, my middle son, and I sat down in the living room to play guitars as we often do when he visits. It’s one of our great joys, extemporizing together. He had the Taylor 6-string and I pulled out my Ron Ho 12-string. Since it was his turn to come up with the idea and my turn to follow wherever he went, I sipped my scotch and listened to his music, a bouncy notion in major to start, almost immediately followed by a very different, percussive slap in minor.

“Okay,” I thought, “here we go.”

As almost everybody experiences at one point or another, sometimes you’re just on. In basketball, it’s when you can’t miss those three pointers, one after another. In our case, it was this three-minute blast of acoustic music. Totally spontaneous and joyous, especially when the shape of the idea fully emerged. It felt like telepathy, as if we were reading each other’s minds.

So I’ve taken that piece and named it The Faery Hop: Musical Telepathy for Duo Guitars and published it at my download shop. It’s unedited from start to finish, and you’ll hear my recliner cushion creaking each time I lean in, but it’s fun to listen to, especially when you know how it was created.

There’s a sample of the beginning to listen to at the shop page.

–Odds Bodkin

THE MASTER DRIVE: A World of Fantasy and Legends for the Mind’s Eye

 

THE MASTER DRIVE: A World of Fantasy and Legends for the Mind’s Eye

The Collected Works of Odds Bodkin on a flash drive. 25 hours of audio storytelling and music, plus a 555-page epic poem for adult readers, with glossary.

A $269.95 value for $175.95.

SUMMER DRIVES WITH THE FAMILY: An Intelligent Solution

SUMMER DRIVES WITH THE FAMILY: An Intelligent Solution

“After sending the email, I wished I had written more. My daughter and I still listen to Little Proto 8 years later ( she’s 18 and I am 61!). We are both thrilled to have more works to surprise and inspire us cross-country…I have tried listening to other books on tape and find my mind wandering after 5 minutes. On the other hand, I am mesmerized by every word and sound on your recordings. I think seeing you perform in person helped fuel our admiration.”

—An Odds Bodkin Listener

Become your own Master of Family Stories! One Master Drive allows you to load any of Odds Bodkin’s storytelling albums onto your children’s media players, or into your car system. All age-coded for appropriate listening, ages four to adult. Includes great tales for teens!

National award-winning storytelling. Learn more here.

SUMMER IS COMING/Intelligent Learning for Well-Adjusted Children

SUMMER IS COMING/Intelligent Learning for Well-Adjusted Children

Here’s a song I wrote and sang long ago with my friend, Steve Schuch. It’s based on my childhood memories of watching The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland.

Take a listen. It’s free.

Happy Summer.

Odds Bodkin

 

To discover other songs, music and stories, visit here.

SUPER-FAN CHARLOTTE PEZZO PLANS A CROSS-COUNTRY ROAD TRIP WITH HER MASTER DRIVE

SUPER-FAN CHARLOTTE PEZZO PLANS A CROSS-COUNTRY ROAD TRIP WITH HER MASTER DRIVE

A True Story

At Odds Bodkin HQ we received an order for a Master Drive, but then, very quickly, a follow-up email from the customer wondering why she couldn’t download her purchase. We wrote back explaining what a Master Drive was (a heavily loaded flash drive of Odds Bodkin’s collected works) and offered her a refund, but she wrote back:

Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I want all of his works so I will wait for the flash drive. DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING!

I need it by May 15 at the VERY latest for a long road trip. I will pay more for expedited shipping to ensure it arrives on time if it is necessary. Please advise!!

Thank you and please relay the message about how excited we are to have his entertainment on our road trip. The Odyssey and Proto made our last road trip so much more enjoyable.

It will be so nice to have his whole collection. Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you!!

Smiles,

Charlotte Pezzo

 

As you can imagine, when Odds saw this email he was delighted, and so he wrote to Charlotte personally to ask whether he could share her letter to let others know about the Master Drive. Charlotte wrote back.

 

Dear Mr. Bodkin,

I was so pleased to receive this email and find out that they did indeed share my excitement with you.

Yes- it is completely fine to quote me and to use my name. After sending the email, I wished I had written more. My daughter and I still listen to Little Proto 8 years later ( she’s 18 and I am 61!). We are both thrilled to have more works to surprise and inspire us cross-country.

I have tried listening to other books on tape and find my mind wandering after 5 minutes. On the other hand, I am mesmerized by every word and sound on your tapes. I think seeing you perform in person helped fuel our admiration.

Anyway, I now have a year old granddaughter that I can’t wait to share your stories with too.

Thanks again from a lifelong fan!! 🙂

Smiles,

Charlotte Pezzo

 

So if you’ve got a long road trip coming this summer—no matter what your age–grab yourself a Master Drive!

Over 2 gigs of road-worthy storytelling.

HARPING FOR BEOWULF

HARPING FOR BEOWULF/Video

I sat in my living room beneath my old tin ceiling this morning and recorded this quick extemporization on my Celtic harp. It’s a lovely instrument that creates an atmospheric music, which fits well while describing how in 1563, the year before Shakespeare’s birth, a scholar named Lawrence Nowell discovered the dusty manuscript of Beowulf in his master’s library. No one had seen it in five hundred years.

I’ll be returning to Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square this Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. to talk about that and then perform BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE, probably my favorite story to tell these days. The score is on 12-string guitar, with leitmotifs for various characters. It’s a rather bloody and elemental story, and so children aren’t invited to experience it. But adults are.

Details and tickets are here.

Grendel’s Mother is Definitely Not Angelina Jolie in BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE

(a video of “Beowulf’s Theme” played by Odds Bodkin)

In Robert Zemeckis’s animated movie version of Beowulf, Angelina Jolie plays Grendel the monster’s mother. She is gold-skinned and womanly, a tip of the hat to Hollywood’s worship of the female form. Not only that, the she-demon’s voice is soft and seductive as she bewitches the men around her.

None of these scenes appear in the 1,000 A.D. Viking story, originally set down in Old English.

In the version of Beowulf I’ll be telling this coming Sunday on Harvard Square, like the monster Grendel himself, his mother is immense, wolf-like and anything but seductive. In fact, she’s terrifying. Creating a voice for her drags me to an extremity of dramatic expression I seldom visit in my right mind. Grendel the wolf-demon isn’t easy to voice either, roaring and slavering as he does; he has no language and speaks exclusively in aggressive animal tones. I just disappear and let him growl.

Both characters give me the willies, but this brand of storytelling—enacting characters—means I can’t legitimately leave them out of this wondrous old story. The human voices––Beowulf, Hrothgar and others––are much easier to embody.

In the past my storytelling style has been characterized as “over the top.” In the case of this tale, I’m afraid there’s no escaping it.

Beowulf: The Only One, a feature-length imagination entertainment for adults. Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. at Grendel’s Den, Cambridge MA.

An adult performance. Not recommended for children.

Tickets are here.

12-STRING GUITAR VIDEO: Wars Along the Baltic/A Theme from Beowulf

BeowulfWarsAlongTheBaltic

Hi from Odds Bodkin.

Click the green link to watch a video of some 12-string guitar music. This clip is of Wars Along the Baltic, a theme from BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE. At the story’s beginning, I set the scene by describing how the Geats, the Franks, the Swedes and the Wylfings, among other Viking tribes, fought each other constantly over sea routes and standing feuds.

This music is played as I tell the tale.

To hear this music live, and a monster of a story to go with it, join the crowd at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA this coming Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Fun show. An adult evening of imagination entertainment.

Tickets are available here.

“One of the great voices in American storytelling”–Wired Magazine

Let’s say you want to give the gift of story audios from an artist who Wired calls “one of the great voices in American storytelling” and Billboard calls “a modern-day Orpheus.”

We, the dedicated gnomes at Odds Bodkin’s Shop, want you to know about Magic Coins.

Just like the enchanted bag that creates gold, our Magic Coins give you a little extra enchanted buying power.

 

$9.99 becomes $11.00!

$19.99 becomes $23.00!

$49.99 becomes $60.00!

$99.99 becomes $125.00!

 

It’s magic!

And we never forget how much remains in your loved one’s bag of Magic Coins if they haven’t spent them all. So if they download The Odyssey and like it and you’ve bought $49.99 worth of Magic Coins for them, they’ve still got $10 to spend on story collections or Odds Bodkin’s original music!

Just let us know what you’d like us to say. Along with your Magic Coins, we’ll add a personal message from you.

Happy Holidays from the Gnomes at Odds Bodkin’s Shop!

 

 

 

If You Know Any Librarians in New England…

In my storytelling shows for kids, I always end with a “showstopper” story. That’s one with a song I teach them to sing. Simple phrases. Melodies that stick in kids’ minds so well that for days afterwards, teachers tell me, students sing them in the halls. Rhythms, too, and I mean clap-along or even stomp-on-the-floor beats. This is some of my best material for K-5th graders.

 

So if you know any librarians in New England, pass along the word to them that for this summer I’m offering a special show of nothing but showstopper stories. Three of them in a row, something I’ve never offered before. It’s called AN EXTRAVAGANZA OF FAMILY TALES WITH FUNNY SONGS IN EVERY ONE.

 

Since it’s for libraries, I’m making it extra affordable. Anyone can inquire about it at my web site here.

 

WHEN A GUITAR SOUNDS SYMPHONIC

I’ve been playing 12-string guitars to accompany stories for a long time. Nowadays I play a Taylor 12 and a custom-built Ron Ho made in Port Townsend, Washington, both great instruments. This coming Sunday night I’ll be using the Taylor to score The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast, tuned to a modified open E, a unique tuning that allows the guitar to sound, well, symphonic. Or at least that’s the goal.

 

The music is like a second voice, adding drama to the spoken words, much the way a movie score works. Leitmotif is a cool word coined by Richard Wagner denoting themes for characters and emotions, and The Odyssey is filled with many of them. One is a soothing, broad oceanic theme meant to relax my listeners. Another is a haunting, melancholy theme of longing that signifies Odysseus himself, wishing he were home even as he’s facing terrifying dangers. Polyphemus the Cyclops has his own music, too, bursting atonalities played in double-stops on the bass strings. Musicians tend to enjoy the accompaniment as much as the tale itself.

 

The show is at 8 pm on Sunday, April 2 at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA. If you know anyone in New England who might enjoy this performance, please pass it on.

 
Tickets are $20 here.