T. Namaya, Vermont My Home: A Celebration | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

T. Namaya, Vermont My Home: A Celebration 

Album Review

cd-vt-celebration.jpg

(Namaya Production, CD)

Vermont’s picturesque beauty and the serenity found by those who live among its splendor (at least before Irene) have provided no shortage of inspiration for artistic endeavors. But rarely have those expressions taken a form quite like that of Vermont My Home: A Celebration, the new album from local jazz poet, songwriter, multimedia artist, playwright and storyteller T. Namaya. Equal parts open love letter and beatnik word jam, the record documents one man’s search for peace in a world gone mad. Not to play spoiler, but much as Dorothy needed only to click her heels together and wish to find her way back to Kansas, Namaya’s quest for tranquility ultimately ends where it began: home. But it’s quite the journey all the same.

Namaya is a world-traveling performance artist who has plied his trade in nearly every corner of the globe. He’s penned a number of plays that have run in New York City, Boston and beyond, and has a new work called Four Prophets — which answers the question of what might happen should Jesus, Satan, Muhammad and Moses meet in a public restroom — that is set to run this year. But for all his travels and experiences, Namaya has rustically fashioned himself as the Bard of Blue Heron Pond. And it is there his latest trek begins.

“Blue Heron” opens with a flutter of birdsong against a dawning swell of strings, evoking daybreak over the pond. Jon Simpson wrote and produced Namaya’s accompaniment here and throughout the record, and ably matches the bard’s new-age by-way-of-Walden-Pond aesthetic. Namaya proves a capable latter-day Thoreau as he greets the listener in a rich baritone, speaking the opening lines, “Blue Heron Pond / Love song for the earth / Welcome.”

A jaded observer might bristle at the Bard’s earnest musings. But there is artfulness here, too, albeit oft cloaked in middling new-age pseudo-philosophy — as on the second track, “Gaia,” for example. But as Namaya allows his mind to wander, cliché musings about natural beauty give way to more worldly observations. On “Fire Inspires Memory,” you can almost picture Namaya brooding over a campfire — though that may have something to do with the crackling-fire sound effect over which he performs the piece. Nevertheless, his ruminations here are sharp and poignant, as they are in numerous instances later in the album. In particular, “Midnight on the Pond,” “Peak Colors” and “Narcissus Unbound” strike a balance between impassioned enthusiasm and tactful storytelling. And “Ice Skating with Li Pon” — a poem about skating with monks set to a bizarro Vince Guaraldi-like score — is a pure joy.

T. Namaya’s Vermont My Home: A Celebration is available at vermontpoet.com.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

About The Author

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles

Bio:
Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor and also edits What's Good, the annual city guide to Burlington. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his coverage of the arts, music, sports and culture. He loves dogs, dark beer and the Boston Red Sox... more

Comments


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Album Review

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2020 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation