We’re working on a Rabbit Island mixtape for our Kickstarter supporters this afternoon and found a nice tune by a band that takes its name from a country road on the mainland a bit north of the island. It is raining in New York today and this sounds about right. The band is called Gratiot Lake Road. Their first album is called Seasons. It can be downloaded for free on Bandcamp.
Gratiot Lake Road itself connects the main highway of the peninsula, US 41, to a small inland lake about halfway up the Keweenaw as it stretches north and then east to Copper Harbor. Past Calumet the land starts to really show its color and it is about here where ‘god’s country’ is said to start.
The mixtape is coming together nicely and will include music that exemplifies the spirit of the Michigan north woods and the simplicity of island life. Stay tuned.
Igor Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite - 7. Vivo
Pulcinella was an important turning point in Stravinsky’s career as it led him into the so-called “neo-classical” style which was to dominate his output for the next several decades. This accompanied a concomitant movement in American ballet that stands unrivaled even today in it’s simplicity and elegance. Perhaps this example will prove an inspiration for something spare and lasting in the Keweenaw woods. Perhaps the best classical music is akin to a functional ecosystem and cannot be improved upon, only enjoyed.
The entire composition is found here.
California Stars – Billy Bragg & Wilco
This piece is the introduction to the Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky. It brings to mind arrival of the spring in the Upper Peninsula which is tentative and at times confused, coming in fits and spurts, though ultimately received with joy by the weary after a long season of darkness, cold and snow. The music’s innovative complex rhythmic structures, timbres and use of dissonance have made it a seminal 20th century composition. Conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein said of one of the passages, “That page is sixty years old, but it’s never been topped for sophisticated handling of primitive rhythms…” In a sense that is what we are going for out on Rabbit Island… primitive ideas arranged interestingly.
Half Moon Rising – Yonder Mountain String Band
Don’t Remember Where by Steppin' In It
The Upper Peninsula by Sufjan Stevens