Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas and Thank You, Thank You Very Much

Its that time of year - time for the Annual Nattie Concepts Family Portrait!  This years inspiration in the spirit of peace and harmony, was a simple one - The King himself!

Nattie Concepts 2013 Annual Family Portrai

I have a lot to be thankful for this year.  What with all my nattie concepts, it is a delicate balancing act, managing all projects and trying to give each of them proper attention.  Somehow, completely clueless as to how, I did manage to manage and produce a fair amount of work.

 The lumen prints hung on in photo exhibits and in my 2013 self-published catalogue "Crescent City Illumenations"

Published February 2013

I triumphantly visited the lands of Himalaya, Bohemia and  Quebec.

Quebec, Louisiana  June 2013
Betty the Bullhorn continued her shout outs for love and peace on Facebook and in her Etsy store.

Betty the Bullhorn & the Power of Love

I participated in PhotoNOLA this year with exhibits at Buffas Bar & Restaurant and Hey Cafe

Imagine There's No Country from "Things I See" exhibit at Buffas

Fly Me to the Stars  from exhibit at Hey Cafe

Within all of that, I played a lot of music and released my first ever CD, "An Accidental EP"

I also appeared on Buffas "Live from the Back Room" CD compilation.

The older I get the more my artistic motivation is just to share share share.  If you've come to my shows, seen or heard my work or read this blog, I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart. I create work that means something to me, and mostly what that means is I create work that cracks me up.  hahaha.  
If I can be of benefit to someone by singing about white bread or printing termites in the sun, all the better.  So thanks for reading/viewing/listening, thank you, thank you very much.

And Merry Christmas!!!

- Natasha, Rhoda, Betty the Bullhorn, Miss Delta Blue, & Miss Purple Lele

Thursday, December 19, 2013

An Accidental EP

I didnt mean to record an EP this past summer, much less release it in the fall, but alas, 'tis what I did.  An Accidental EP is an odd collection of songs recorded accidentally last July.  A fancy demo, if you will.

Accidental:  happening by chance; unintentionally or unexpectedly.  

As it turns out, Accidental also means this:  

Accidental:  (in music) a sign denoting a momentary departure from the key signature by raising or lowering a note.  (sharps & flats)

I didn't know accidental was a music term, what with my limited musical prowess, until after I pressed the CD. So the naming of the EP was truly... an accident. HAHA

How this whole accidental journey got started was this :   Concrete Tables & Honest Conversation.

Concrete Camellia
Lumen Print 2013

Concrete Tables and Honest Conversation is my attempt at capturing a dream I recently had. Sitting in a church courtyard, somewhere out west as the sun went down, talking music, art, photography with a friend I hadn't seen in years. It felt so real, so true.  It's rare that I write about something as abstract as a dream. Wait, that's not true. My ditty "Pretty Little Rat"  is based on dreams I was having about rats.  But I Digress - back to the Concrete Tables.
This dream, though, was different. The vibe of the dream was the essence. The vibe was what was so real, so .. concrete.  It made me wonder what life would be like if we all just walked around having honest conversations with ourselves, with others.  World Peace/Global Harmony anyone?  A seemingly simple solution to ...anything, me thinks.  Anyway,  I did something I had never done before -  after spending a weekend holed up in my apartment writing and re-writing the verses, I brought the song with its 5 verses and 3 lil chords to the uber talented Gardenia Moon,
whose piano, coupled with her background vocals, magically merged the dreamstate with the real world, capturing exactly the sentiment I so strongly felt in that dream. That sentiment of truth is something I strive for in real life.  Well. Strive for or long for.  One of those.

Gardenia Moon at Blue Velvet Studios

Blue Velvet Studios

What does this have to do with other songs on the EP about White Bread and Miller High Lifes?  A lot.  Kinda.
We actually recorded Concrete on two separate days.  We have many versions of it, some more polished than others. I ultimately went with what I think was Take 2 on Day 2.  It was a little rougher, an element that I liked, mixing in the concrete truth with the dreamyness of Gardenias vocals and piano.

On Day Two we also recorded Zen Lizards, another recent song, about my many encounters with Lizards and how Buddhist-like they seem. Another song wishing for peace. Through lizards.. Gardenia contributed piano as well and we consider the tune to be "spunky".  Just like all dem chill lizards.

Zen Lizard
In between tunes with the Moon, I recorded a few ditties on my own. Wasn't sure why, just to see how they sound, or maybe use for an upcoming (who knows when) "box set" of Nattie's Witty Ditties & Story Tunes.  One of those tunes is called My Big Head

Accidental Omnipotent Selfie

My Big Head was a literal inspiration.  In 2011,  I was sitting in the hair/makeup chair getting fitted for a wig for a photo double role. The hairdressers were none too happy that my head was too big for the wig, the actress' head was smaller. As they were griping about the size of my head behind my back, I was writing this song in my head. And the irony was not lost.
This song, though, is largely a social commentary - it would be nice to live in a world where size does matter, the size of our hearts, our intellect, our mental capacity to think, care, and love.  Not our dress size.

Searching for a Tall Boy (The Miller High Life Song) 

Handtinted Tall Boy

Okay, well, this one's just a ditty.  In nearly every song I write I can tell you the deeper meaning behind it. But not this one.  Its just funny wordplay.  Searching for a Tall Boy tells the tale of my quest for a Miller High Life Tall Boy one hot summer night. And it discloses my desire to be the Miller High Life girl sitting in the moon.

And that brings us to...White Bread.  

White Bread with Crumbs

 Like Searching for a Tall Boy, White Bread is seemingly just a ditty.  Or is it?  (Yes. It is.) haha.  Its a tale of of shock, disappointment, and ultimately, acceptance - about bread. hahahaha. But I closed the EP out with this ditty because it seemed to match Zen Lizards - choosing whether or not to solve or accept a problem. Okay, so in this song its kind of forced acceptance that I'm not happy about but hey - thats Life!  And its funny, so there.  We gotta live it, might as well laugh and love it.  :)

This EP may have been 'an accident', but the constant quest for a concrete table and an honest conversation is intentional.   To that effect - Thanks to all who helped me make this accidental journey a deliberate EP - Gardenia Moon, Monica Byrne, Chris Loomis, and of course Tom Stern at Blue Velvet Studios in New Orleans, whom I recommend to Everyone.  :)

I'd also like to send a shout out and thanks to some peeps who accidentally played an integral part in this deliberation:

A conversation I had with one of my favorite songwriters, my amazingly talented uncle,  Paul Sanchez,  about the release of his first solo CD prompted the notion in my head "I could do this" and I soon got to work on releasing the EP.

A misunderstood conversation with another fave songwriter, my friend Richard Bates, led to the title being called an "An Accidental EP" instead of "An Eclectic EP"

And many conversations on the nuts and bolts of self-producing with yes, another favorite songwriter, Ruby Ross, kept me on track with the production of this EP.

Apparently I hang out with a lot of songwriters.  Check 'em out.

The EP is available on my Bandcamp site as a digital download, or you can order the real-live EP and I'll ship it out to you.


Its also available online or in store at Louisiana Music Factory

And of course, will be available at any of my gigs, provided I remember to bring them.
Tonight 12/19/2013 I will be at the Neutralground Coffeeshouse 8-9pm

Hope you enjoy! And thats the honest truth :)
- Natasha

Fun Fact:  A live recording of Zen Lizards also appears on Buffas Bar & Restaurant's new CD "Live from the Back Room" also available at Louisiana Music Factory.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Imagine There's No Country....

John Lennon was right – it isn’t hard to do…

Balconies - Turkey & NOLA
 Planet Earth

Traveling to Turkey (the Republic of Turkey, not Turkey (Creek), Louisiana), last December, I had the opportunity to expand my World Tour and visit many more ancient and historical sites.  

While perusing the ruins of Pergamon, once a Greek kingdom situated on a steep hilltop in Western Turkey,

Kingdom of Pergamon, Turkey

 my mind drifted 6,000 miles away to the ruins of – Poverty Point in Northeastern Louisiana.

Mound A - Poverty Point, Louisiana
Walking among the remnants of Pergamon in 2012 was not unlike walking among the mounds of Poverty Point in 2011. Despite the contrasts between the landscapes - breathtaking Roman architecture on a hilltop overlooking the city of Bergama versus the  impressive manmade earthworks on a bluff with the highest elevation at 72 feet, I didn’t see much difference – I was in awe of both places, because they are part of our past as mankind, part of the history of our planet. (Fun Fact:  Poverty Point predates the former Greek kingdom of Pergamon.)

Poverty Point, Louisiana
Pergamon, Turkey

Another excitement of my Turkey the Country trip was visiting Troy, thought to be the site of the famous Trojan Wars.  As luck would have it, I also got the opportunity to visit Troy, Louisiana (now part of Waterproof) last summer on my way back from Quebec.  I came across a tree that reminded me of a shot I had taken in Troy, Turkey.

Troy, Turkey
Troy, Louisiana

It wasn’t just the ancient sites that impressed me or reminded me of how small our planet actually is, it was also traveling through the countryside.  Most of my shots come from the bus.  I got pretty good at shooting through bus windows at fast speeds. 

A flooded field in Turkey brought to mind our flooded rice fields turned crawfish ponds in China, Louisiana.
Flooded Field, Turkey

Flooded Field, China (Louisiana)

The little house in a field in Turkey evoked this image of a little house in a cotton field near Bermuda, Louisiana.

Little House, Turkey

Little House, Bermuda (Louisiana)

And speaking of cottonfields…..

Cotton Field, Turkey

Cotton Field,  near Bagdad (Louisiana)

The Library of Celsus in the truly amazing Greco Roman city of Ephesus was amongst the highlights of the trip.  And while the architecture does not compare, it is important to note that I did find the library in Turkey (Creek), Louisiana impressive enough to photograph when I passed through in the Summer of 2012.  

Library of Celsus, Ephesus

Evangeline Parish Library, Turkey Creek, Louisiana

Our physical and cultural landscapes may differ all over the world, but at the end of the day - we connect in so many ways.

Bosphorus Bridge & Minaret
Istanbul, Turkey
Planet Earth

Crescent City Connection & Lamppost
New Orleans, Louisiana  USA
Planet Earth

We all have our mountains to climb.  They just look different is all.  

Roadview: Somewhere in Turkey

Roadview: Somewhere in Louisiana
Clouds that look like Mountains

More pics of Turkey coming soon-ish.  
I think.
Thats a mighty fluffy cloud I gotta climb first though.

All content (c) Natasha Sanchez 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

All in a Days Drive: Balmoral, Barcelona & Quebec - Louisiana

Mission Accomplished.  I've been trying to get to Quebec, Louisiana for a year now, and finally, after many twists and turns, I made it.  A triumphant moment indeed. 

Quebec was significant because it is near the site of one my very first World Tour road trips, Delhi &  Transylvania, back in Summer 2011.   At the time, though, I was unaware of its existence and unwittingly left the region, not to return for nearly two more years.   By last June, however, I was enlightened & ready to visit Quebec. Yet I kept getting sidetracked by other enchanting destinations like China, BermudaAlexandria & Turkey – both the Creek (in Louisiana) and the Country (in Asia Minor).  Earlier this year, though, the World Tour was back on with visits to Himalaya and Bohemia.  Since then, it seems as if every possible glitch that could have happened, happened.  The Quebec trip got postponed for health issues, work issues, car issues, weather issues, etc.  But finally at the end of May – it was on. 

Quebec is located in Madison Parish just north of 1-20 near Tallulah (and Delhi…and Transylvania).  One notable feature of this area is that the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge, home to largest population in the state of the Louisiana Black Bear, is located on Quebec Road.

 But as usual, my main objective was to look for a sign.  Ask and ye shall receive..

As joyous as it was to discover not one but three signs all within the Mile That Was Quebec, the finding was short-lived and questionable:

Really...? Am I missing something?  I could get  philosophical here, but I won't go there.  Instead, I'll leave it to the reader to ponder while I show you a picture of another discovery:  a mattress in a ditch.  There for the pondering?  I don't know...moving on..

Sign or no (missing) sign, I was jubilant and inquisitive as I headed South on Hwy 65 towards my next destination:  Barcelona

If Quebec was everything I thought it would be with its sign/missing signs, the drive towards Barcelona was not.  For example, I think I found Zonkers' wheat patch along the way.  (Last sentence reserved for Doonesbury enthusiasts)  :)

And the fun didn't stop there.  A little further down the road,  I unexpectedly reached - Balmoral. No, not the Queen's Scottish residence, but the Balmoral Mounds, constructed by members of the Coles Creek culture around 1000 A.D.   (wikipedia  Coles Creek)

Northeast Louisiana is especially rich in mound sites of early settlers.  The World Tour has allowed me to visit and/or view the Balmoral Mounds, the Transylvania Mounds, the Filhiol Mounds, also part of the Coles Creek culture, and Poverty Point.  'Tis but a small dent in Louisiana's Ancient Mound Trail. I'm looking forward to visiting more. 

Finally, it was time to turn off Hwy 65 and  in search of Barcelona.  I was correct in assuming it might be hard to find.  It's one of those towns that exists on a map, and that's about it.  Still, exploring is always the best part. 

No World Tour blog would be complete without a photo of a church, and the road to Barcelona did not disappoint.  

Choctaw Baptist Church, organized 1873

While not expecting much when I arrived in Barcelona, a populated place located in Tensas Parish, it did  surprise me .. (there was even a picture of the same site on Google Maps to prove I was in fact at my intended destination..haaa..)

Barcelona, Louisiana

I have to admit - this four month hiatus of World Touring has been the longest since I started the tour two years ago and I wasn't happy about it.  I felt so driven to reach Quebec, that I wasn't sure how this journey would go.  Maybe the sign that I was missing was just that  I had forgotten the tour was more about ideals than physical locations.  After all, the whole point of the World Tour is that the World is only as Large or as Small as you want it to be.  When I embarked on this latest excursion, I saw more of the World than I ever could have imagined - all in just a days drive. 

Merci for reading...Au revior.. til next time,


(c) Natasha Sanchez 2013

 Limited Edition (...only edition actually, one of a kind..)  Silver Gelatin Liquid Emulsion prints of the World Tour are available on my Etsy Site for your perusal or purchase.  
 Each purchase does help the World Tour a little further down the road, though..