MID-WINTER MIRACLES Show in MA this December 1st at The Burren Backrooom

I originally found it in a big red book I’d had since I was a child. In it, a dead cherry tree springs to green life in midwinter and produces miraculous cherries, a precious gift for the king indeed. But when an old knight tries to deliver them, there’s a knave at every doorway in the castle.

Turns out THE WINTER CHERRIES is among my listeners’ favorites. Softer-hearted folk cry at the end. I don’t blame them, really. Sometimes I do, too.

I’ll be telling THE WINTER CHERRIES along with other Holiday tales only once in Massachusetts this December as part of MID-WINTER MIRACLES.

 

The show is 3 pm on Dec. 1 at The Burren Backroom in Somerville, MA. Tickets are on sale now. Get yours for this fun family performance.

THEY FLEW FROM VIRGINIA TO HEAR GHOST STORIES IN NH

After my Heartpounders II Halloween Horror for Adults show at the Warner Town Hall in NH last Friday, two women in their late twenties came up to me.

“We flew up from Arlington Virginia for this,” one said.

Sometimes people travel distances to attend my shows, but that’s pretty far, I thought. “For this show?” I asked, wondering if I’d heard correctly.

“Yup. Two rental cars and an airplane,” said the other. “This is such a pretty area.”

I was still wondering if they were visiting local family or something and had heard about the show. “You’re saying you flew up from Virginia just to attend this performance. That’s it.”

“When we were kids, you came to a Zainy Brainy store in Arlington and did a show,” said the first. “Our moms bought your recordings. We grew up listening to them.”

Zainy Brainy was an upscale toy store chain back in the age of cassettes. I’d visited a few, but completely forgotten about it.

“We loved the story about the man chased by the thunderstorms.”

The Storm Breeder. Wow, well, I’m moved,” I replied, wishing I’d told it that night. “Thanks for coming all this way. What are your names?” They introduced themselves and we shook hands and talked a little bit more.

“Do you live near here?” asked one.

“Next town over, in Bradford.”

“It’s really beautiful up here,” said one. “Well, thanks for the show. It was amazing.”

And after a few more words exchanged, they left.

Days later, I’m still impressed.

I have one more Halloween Horror Show for adults this season, a different one, coming up this Friday the 25th at 7:30 pm. at the Sweet Beet, 11 West Main Street in Bradford, NH. Hopefully you won’t need to come as far to see it. I’ll be telling The Storm Breeder, oddly enough.

It’s outdoors, so bundle up and bring chairs. BYOB. Hot chili, hot cider, donuts and apple crisp will be on sale before, during and after the show, all made by the wonder chefs at the Sweet Beet.

The show features horror tales from colonial America, old Russia, Confucian China and a new mystery story yet to be performed at any of my Heartpounders shows. Music on 12-string guitars, alto recorder and Celtic harp. They are not suitable for young children.

TICKETS ARE $20.

This is the third annual Halloween storytelling at the Sweet Beet. Hope to see you there!

 

TONIGHT! ADULT HORROR TALES AT THE WARNER NH TOWN HALL

Come support the New Hampshire Telephone Museum tonight, Oct. 18, 2019 at 7 pm and prepare yourself for Odds Bodkin’s collection of terrifying tales for Halloween. Music on multiple instruments. Sound effects. Character voices. Stunning stories of the supernatural.

TICKETS $10 MEMBERS, $15 NON-MEMBERS

Not suitable for children under 14.

A DEEPLY FRIGHTENING MYTH OF SURVIVAL

In the sparse life of the ancient Eskimos, a daughter who will not marry is a death sentence.

Sedna is just such a girl. No suitor quite suits her, not even when a mysterious stranger pulls up his kayak onto the pebbly beach and brags of his staggering wealth.

Sedna’s angry, aging father insists she go with the man to become his wife. With no choice in the matter, she slides down into his kayak.

As events unfold, both father and daughter end up in a situation that is beyond horror, beyond betrayal.

A dark, elemental tale from the traditional Inuit of the Arctic Circle, Sedna the Ocean Mother is possibly the scariest, most unsettling story Odds Bodkin tells. Especially for women. It is not cultural appropriation. It is cultural reverence.

This tale is performed with 12-string guitar and a few character voices, plus vocal effects of sea birds, gales and frantic paddling.

To benefit the New Hampshire Telephone Museum, which is a must-see on its own, Odds Bodkin’s Heartpounders II tales are for an adult audience only. Please do not bring children. Original acoustic music–much of it created live, on Celtic harp, 6-string guitar, and 12-string guitars–accompanies the stories.

Friday Oct. 18, 2019 at 7 pm/Warner Town Hall, Warner NH

TICKETS $10 MEMBERS, $15 NON-MEMBERS

A WEEK FROM TODAY, A NEW WORK IS BORN: Danika the Rose

A WOMAN’S CREATIVE IDEA

As a noted opera and chamber music singer, Jazimina MacNeil already had Dvorak’s Moravian Duets for women’s voices. Born of 19th Century Europe, the duets sang of landlords, vineyards, lost love and agrarian life, all accompanied by piano, and all sung in Czech, Dvorak’s native language. What MacNeil didn’t have was a vehicle, a way to feature the duets more often in concert performances.

She realized she needed a story and a storyteller.

A TWO-YEAR COLLABORATION

Odds Bodkin was performing in Concord, MA when MacNeil introduced herself and her idea. It struck him as a good one, so she sent him a recording of 23 Moravian Duets with printed lyrics in Czech and English. After a listen, he got back to her, “I think there’s a story in here, but to create it, I’ll have to change the established order of the duets,” he said, wondering if this might be a sacred cow in the soprano business. “Go ahead,” she said. Delighted with the reply, he entered the smithy of my soul, as James Joyce called the writing process, and started hammering away at a new adult fairy tale.

Two years later, the result is the premiere of Danika the Rose, a tale that feels ancient, but with a very modern edge. On the surface, it’s the story of a young peasant girl and a duke who is obsessed with her beauty. But Danika also delves into hidden communications with animals, the fraught relationship between loving them and eating them, and how ecological systems, once out of balance, can cascade into disaster.

That, and how even in a world of magic, a love triangle can explode into jealous darkness.

A NEW WORK FOR THE CLASSICAL CANON

Sung by MacNeil and Sarah Shafer, those Moravian Duets, now in their new order in a fresh score crafted by MacNeil, comment upon and emotionally deepen the tale. Even so, on their own, the songs are lively, sonorous and beautiful–the power of a great symphonic melodist, condensed into brief pieces.

Have the singer and the storyteller created a new classic?

Come answer that question for yourself on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 at 4 pm in Bass Hall, Peterborough, NH. An ElectricEarthConcerts presentation.

Called “a consummate storyteller” by The New York Times, Bodkin will narrate and create characters and sounds during the performance, while Jazimina MacNeil and Sarah Shafer sing Dvorak’s glorious songs in Czech. Emely Phelps accompanies on piano.

TICKETS $30

 

ESCAPE FROM THE TOWER: Danika the Rose

A NEW SPOKEN-WORD STORY

In Danika the Rose, Danika’s tower rises two hundred feet in the air, and once she’s imprisoned there, her single window with its view of the meadows, forest and river is all that she has. It’s a sheer drop to the hard earth far below, and so when the Cuckoos swoop into her window to warn her that the Duke is coming up the stairs with murder in his heart, Danika fears for her life. There is no escape.

“Throw a blanket out your window!” the Cuckoos cry in their strange, slow tongue. The Duke and his men are outside the door. She hears his angry voice as the key enters the lock. Wondering what good a blanket can do, she hurls one out the window anyway.

“The Duke yells, “Open it!” and the lock turns.

Just when he bursts in, Danika sees a marvel appear in the air beyond her window.

 

A PREMIERE EVENT

Danika the Rose, a new performance work that combines Dvorak’s Moravian Duets for women’s voices with Odds Bodkin’s adult fairy tale told live, premieres Sunday Oct. 6th at 4 pm at Bass Hall, Peterborough, New Hampshire.

The songs are sung by Jazimina MacNeil and Sarah Shafer, while Emely Phelps accompanies on piano and Odds Bodkin narrates and creates character voices and sounds.

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

BEWARE THE POACHING LAWS: Feudal Rules in Danika the Rose

AN ANCIENT TIME

When Danika first speaks to Dano the gamekeeper, he steps from the forest with a deer slung over his shoulders. Every day he supplies the Duke’s castle with venison.

In turn, she learns, Dano can hunt whatever he wishes in the Duke’s forest without falling afoul of the poaching laws. In the entire duchy, only Dano owns this privilege, which impresses her greatly. She has yet to fall in love with him, for it takes a summer’s conversations for her to do so, but once she does, her faithfulness to him drives the story of Danika the Rose.

That faithfulness is especially important during her three years in the Duke’s castle, when Dano has been sent away, and she goes from a pampered, privileged guest to a lonely prisoner in the tower.

PREMIERE OF A NEW PERFORMANCE WORK

As sopranos Jazimina MacNeil and Sarah Shafer interweave Dvorak’s Moravian Duets throughout, Odds Bodkin tells this original adult fairy tale with character voices and sound effects. Emely Phelps accompanies on grand piano. The story is told in English, the Duets are sung in Czech.

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

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

STELLAR REVIEWS for ODDS BODKIN’S EPIC DRIVE STORY COLLECTION

Norman Chiang writes: “This is one of the best (if not the best purchases/investments) I’ve made all year. I’m excited to share it with my family. At $99, this is really quite a steal … given The Odyssey alone is worth as much. (Not to mention, other such amazing series in this collection – Hercules, The Hidden Grail, etc…)

Odds’ storytelling – including sound effects, voice, music, pacing, wit and style – is both versatile and relevant. It is a talent that needs witnessing and preservation.

All the stories I’ve so far listened to have been precise and polished, a cut above anything else I’ve seen from others at live shows and readings. Odds is a true artist, who understands the weight of virtue and fiction. A true role model for the ages.”

Amilolomy writes: “This is the version that made me absolutely fall in love with the Beowulf story, and really understand why it has become such a classic piece of literature. There is such life and emotion in the way Bodkin tells it, that you just can’t get from reading it alone. He takes it from being a dry, unsentimental piece of curriculum and spins it into a deeply moving journey, I always find myself crying by the end of it.”

 

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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.