Erika Lundahl performs "Aim for the Center" and "Brambles"

Seattle-based songwriter and activist Erika Lundahl delivered a captivating performance of her original songs for Half Wild on June 19. Backed by her bandmate and traveling partner, Doug Indrick, Erika performed "Aim for the Center," "Brambles" and other powerful compositions to a spellbound audience at Oakland Oasis House. Thank you, Erika, and may you continue to ground and inspire us with your songwriting. 

[Scroll to the bottom to hear the full concert]

 

Brambles by Erika Lundahl

Brambles was written after a storytelling pilgrimage I took in 2015 along the Trans Mountain Oil Pipeline, which runs from the tar sands of Northern Alberta to Anacortes, Washington. The fight to resist this pipeline expansion in Canada and the Pacific Northwest is ongoing. This song is a musical remembrance of the people we met along the pipeline route —pipeline workers, native activists and elders, teachers, parents, scientists and farmers. Everyone has a stake in the land they live on, and just as the pipeline runs from Canada to the United States, so to does water, air and earth connect us all. If a spill happens on one place, all of us will experience the impacts and thus we are all tied together by our shared home. We are wedded to the work of overcoming differences to find deeper stories of interdependence, shared sense of place and resiliency in the face of climate change.                  - Erika Lundahl

Rain barrels full, the gardens wild with brambles
Kettles on, the stories we tell ramble on and on 

On your feet there’s so much to unravel
On your feet, there's so much to unravel 

Salted streets and skin heads with their bibles
Water’s rising, and the houses and rivers are rivals 

January come and gone
Up north our neighbors are burying their stillborns
The air is dirty and the land is torn
But we’re still breathing so we’re stitching up a love song
Stiching up a love song 

Help me to believe that we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for
Smoky skies bring me to my knees
The orchards filled with apple trees 

Go down to the river, thank you please
I’m scared I don’t know what this means
What this means 

I've been asleep but morning is breaking into dawn
No time to weep, all of us broken still belong 

Grave Digger, Oil tanker
Law Maker, heart breaker
Aren’t you tired of selling this as dignity? 
Aren't you tired of selling this as dignity? 

Air is dirty and the land is torn
But we’re still breathing so we’re stitching up a love song 

Air is dirty and the land is torn
But we’re still breathing so we’re stitching up a love song 

Rain barrels full, the gardens wild with brambles
Kettles on, the stories we tell ramble on and on
and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on


Aim for the Center by Erika Lundahl

"Aim for the Center was inspired by a cross-country tour I did just weeks before the 2016 election. It was a potent moment; the historic Standing Rock resistance to colonization and climate disaster was activating public consciousness while national politics looked ever-more foreboding and full of despair. As I drove through Wyoming and Colorado, past fracking fields and stunning mountain vistas, I was overcome with the natural beauty that prevails in the face of extraction. Somewhere amidst the clamor of this chaotic and destructive culture, we must find those threads that return us to consciousness and an intentional relationship with the land that supports all life on this planet. We choose every day what kind of people we are going to be on this planet." - Erika Lundahl

Follow me follow, into the hollow
huntress, hero of the underground
you carry in your collarbone
a wisdom i will never know

so go, go go, go with the caribou
wade into, into the ocean
follow the cry of the lonesome canary
on down the mine shaft, flare of the car crash
read of the epitaph, read of the end

aim for the center again
aim for the center again
aim for the center again

There are worse places to be, 
than stuck in a traffic jam, driving through mountains
sky blue and gold rush, radio reports on secret prisons
white helmets and unsung saviors, valve turner
and corporate favors

I'm wondering where I can put my trust in, 
in a world so broken and busted, oh turn it off
you said just enjoy the scenery, when else will we be here, 
we might as well be here, come back to me friend

aim for the center again
aim for the center again
aim for the center again

Our car passed over the 45th parallel, 
drew a line between Equator and the North Pole, 
it's raining hard now, raining hard
the weather man says, please try to stay in, 
please try to stay home

well we're trying, we're trying, we're trying to get there
we're trying, we're trying, we're trying to get there
we're trying, we're trying to get there

but this storm's got me worried
for my friends and my family
father he tested the generator says it works fine
call me later now, when you arrive, 

oh, oh, oh
so go, go go, go with the caribou
wade into, into the ocean
follow the cry of the lonesome canary
on down the mineshaft, flare of the car crash
read of the epitaph, read of the end

aim for the center again
aim for the center again
aim for the center again

The oil trains pass, black snakes on the sunset
the cows eating grass they got pipelines on under them
river beds, truck beds, oil and grain
what it takes to feed this growing machine
will be buy, barter, steal or lend
will aim for the center again, 
aim for the center again.


Full Concert:  Erika Lundahl and bandmate Doug Indrick (backing vocals and percussion) perform at Half Wild on June 19.

"Mother Sorsone" by Heather Normandale

"Mother Sorsorne was inspired by a beautiful balafon melody from a West Guinean song called sörsörnë - from the Baga People's tradition. We worked it into an original song titled Mother about our human dependence on the earth. We cannot survive without this vast and beautiful planet. The original lyrics to the traditional Sörsörnë song are sung in the Baga language and sing about about daughters thanking their mothers for giving them the tools for life." - Heather Normandale Band

Mother Sorsorne by Heather Normandale

The caterpillar inches through the grass
Finds her niche, never questioning this path
Moving open from the ground into the sky
Find your place, find your place, find your place, find your place
Find your place, find your place, find your place, find your place ahh

The breath upon your mothers lips makes the rivers run makes the mountains lift
The love that moves you to exist begins with a thunder a moan and a hiss

Sometimes i feel like a baby
Clung to the worlds aching breast
I feel her hands softly guide me
Mother i try to do my best
Mother i try to do my best

Standing in front of the brilliant sun even with your eyes you can feel it run
From the top of your face it melts into the eyes
And the world with a grin she takes off her disguise

Sometimes i feel like a baby
Clung to the world's aching breast
I feel her hands softly guide me
Mother i try to do my best
Mother i try to do my best
Mother i try to do my best

(Mother Sorsone has been released as a single here.)

"The Good Ship Star Finder" by Clan Dyken

Bear and Mark Dyken introduce and perform their song, "The Good Ship Star Finder" at Half Wild in January.

The Good Ship Star Finder by Clan Dyken

We sailed out of the Golden Gate
On the good ship Star Finder
She was a thirty-six foot cutter rigged sloop
A hundred miles offshore, full moon
Night watch

I stood up at the bow just to take in the view
It was right there I saw the ancient
Ever becoming new
Some call her water, but she’s older than all names
Many many things have come and gone on this earth
But water remains

Behold the beauty of the water
The mother of all life
The vast expanse of liquid
Undulating in the moonlight

Behold the great, great, great power of the water
Alive she breathes her motion flowing
The elegant intelligence of the water
Whose face cannot be known

She is our tears she is our blood
She is the rain that animates the mud
She is river she is the lakes
She is the cloud and the ocean great
She is the ice she is the snow
She is the ebb she is the flow
From all life comes to where it goes

Water
The beauty of the water
Water
The deepness of the water
Water

She is inside guiding us
To that far distant shore
That we been heading to all along
She is older
She is wiser
She sees the big picture
The mother of all life
Water

"Stardust" by Emma Hill

A beautiful performance by Emma Hill of "Stardust" with bandmate Bryan Daste on pedal steel & backing vocals. This was performed for the Half Wild community in Oakland on October 10, 2017.

"I started writing this song in Munich, Germany and finished it as I rode the train up to Utrecht in the Netherlands. The song is supposed to make you feel like you're standing on a mountain, far away from light pollution staring up at the cosmos. It is about the shift of perspective that can happen when you think about your relationship with the cosmos. I used to get terrified by how small it made me feel, so insignificant. I realized that I could shift how it made me feel by thinking about it a different way. I started to consider the idea that by being small, it leaves room for all the other beautiful things that make up the universe, and while the human condition is a lonely one, it's also one that we are sharing with billions of people simultaneously. And that made me feel a little less small. The song is also supposed to highlight the sacred beauty of the science behind how humanity has evolved. We are all stardust, both tiny and larger than life."  -- Emma Hill

 

Stardust by Emma Hill

They say ignorance is bliss
And I think they're right
Cos everything else is just constant denial
Distraction is crucial but only their kind
Well it doesn't kill you just tempts you to life

Baby you're stardust
Just a speck in the eye
A left over spark from explosions gone by

My soul sits simultaneously in my stomach and my eyes
There are more cells in my body than stars in the sky
We all came from the sea
Only some learned to fly
Our body shares salinity
We can taste it when we cry

Baby you're stardust
Just a speck in the eye
A left over spark from explosions gone by

Might think it's beautiful
Might make you cry
It's your place in evolution that grants you asking why
It's your place in evolution that grants you asking why

"I Go Walking" by Heather Normandale

Heather Normandale performs "I Go Walking" with Maisha Lani singing backing vocals. This live performance is from October 2017.

"This song was inspired when I was living up near the Yuba River, spending time away from the city after a 6 month bike tour with the Pleasant Revolution. My intention was to sink in to the task of recording my last album, Trembling Water. This song was originally going to go on that CD but I had to simplify and so I've saved it for this upcoming next album. While up near the Yuba, I wanted to absorb the messages and lessons that nature had for me, I wanted to understand how to feel more connected with the idea that humans come from nature even though we create a world that builds over it, destroys it, and endangers it ...and then spend thousands on therapy and wonder why we suffer. This song was meant to be a call and response to pull in the emotions of listeners so they might feel that preciousness that I was feeling when the songs were written. I have really tried to imprint my songs with this appreciation for the depths that the natural world has for us."  -- Heather Normandale

 

I Go Walking By Heather Normandale

I go walking spreading my toes
Brown earth is rising and through my blood it flows

I want the earth to hold me
Strong as I reach the day
In my time my roots may help all your sand not slip away

I want the earth to hold me
Strong as I reach the day
In my time my roots may help all your sand not slip away

Walk this earth with feet so clean
Bounding through her love supreme
To tendrils of these roots we cling
Cradling me in your shelter now its to you I sing

Take our hands
We will lead you
Through the doom
And the dividing light
Water is our medicine
Through the spectrum into white

Here we hold intention
Together with this sound
With our voices
With our voices
We will love and heal this ground

Here we hold intention
Together with this sound
With our voices
With our voices
We will love and heal this ground

Walk this earth with feet so clean
Bounding through her love supreme
To tendrils of these roots we cling
Cradling me in your shelter now its to you I sing

"For the Last Time" by Ed Masuga

Ed Masuga performs "For the Last Time" at our back yard pre-launch party under the Berkeley night sky...

For The Last Time by Ed Masuga

Under the moonlight
I will lay my head upon the stone
And all through the night
I will never feel alone

The old trees will comfort me
And offer peace of mind
I will not fear
I will not weep or whine

When I go to sleep
When I go to sleep
For the last time

I went for a long stroll
And found a forest graveyard
A warmth washed over my soul
Like the tree limbs were holding my heart

I know I'll be in good company
While the stars they gleam and shine
As the dream begins
I'll be with the pines

When I go to sleep
When I go to sleep
When I go to sleep
For the last time

"Galaxies" by Maisha Lani

Maisha Lani performed "Galaxies" at the pre-launch party for Half Wild in September 2017. Thank you, Maisha!

“I had been traveling for the last three years between the US, Australia and New Zealand…and over the course of that time I met so many people along the way that struck something deep within me…folks that I felt I had known for years, and often I would only spend a few days with them before our paths took us in different directions. The ultimate feeling that kept creeping into my mind and heart was that I have known all of these people, friends and lovers and mothers from another time. Some type of karmic dance if you will... what a magnificent life. To find those parts of yourself in others' eyes & songs….” - Maisha Lani

Galaxies, by Maisha Lani

Feet, dirt, dust & dreams
Destiny she leads

You knew and no one knew
You knew and no one knew

As roads became our home
trust held strong like stone  

I let my heart go
A hunger in me rose 

For you, for you, for you, 
Have known me from another time 

And we, we, we
Share memories in each others eyes 

Earth turns & shakes
Parts of us awake 

An ancient deepening
From realms far, between

In your travelled soul
lives a bond so old 

Ripples start to grow
A hunger in me rose

For you, you, you
Have loved me from another time 

And we, we, we
Share memories in each others eyes

How did the earth come to be
Bursting from stars & g a l a x i e s 

How did you find me
Across the stars & g a l a x i e s