“Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.” Emily Kimbrough, author and broadcaster (1899-1989)
I am not familiar with Emily nor her work, but I sure like this quote and maybe you noticed she lived a really long life. Heads up to my introvert, extrovert and whatever-vert friends. Even during these “don’t touch me, don’t breathe on me” times, our pals, our friends, our tribes, the online faces in little Zoom boxes, we are throwing lifelines to each other.
We are “walking each other home.” (Ram Dass)
I’m one lucky lady because I am living the creative life. Got the music thing happening and like my daddy, I love to write. It’s a party in my brain when the two go matchy-matchy.
Three years ago, I was working with a couple ukulele students on gospel tunes. I love songs with thumping rhythm that rolls in my belly. But I’m not a “religious” person so for my daily dose of inspiration, I look to you, the beloved community*. Numberless hands and hearts, known and unknown, help me through each day, like invisible rings of warm.
And it hit me. Why don’t I try to write one of those rollicking hand-clapping songs but what will I talk about? Well of course, the beloved community. Just like that, the melody and words poured out. This rarely happens in my songwriting life, where the creative process is more like pro-wrestling than “a spell.” But with Brand New Day, the beloved community waved its magic wand.
I started playing the song at my gigs. Folks clapped and sang along on the easy-peasy chorus: “Oh hallelujah! Oh hallelujah! Oh hallelujah! It’s a brand new day.”
Then I did a ukulele arrangement for The CC Strummers. They loved it too and we performed the song at Fiesta La Ballona, which is Culver City’s equivalent to a county fair. Some people in the audience gave us a standing ovation and yelled “more…more…more.” As a songwriter, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
Flash forward to here and now.
“May you live in interesting times.” Apparently this is an English expression that is based on an old Chinese curse. We are painfully aware of all the awful that is happening in the world. How easy it is to miss the little flower growing through a crack in the sidewalk. Or through a seemingly impenetrable wall that separates us?
A friend once told me that life is a mystery to be lived, not solved. So I look to the beloved community to sustain me. We are going through this together, like sentries, quietly and not-so-quietly, witnessing our shared humanity. The joys, the sorrows. The whole mess of it.
My ukulele group, The CC Strummers, has morphed into a global ohana online. I am gobsmacked and filled with gratitude that we have the technology to support this kind of work and that we have each other. This is where I have landed—at the intersection of music, technology and all that “it takes a village” stuff.
The CC Strummers’ tech master, Michael Kohan, has taken on this project—to turn Brand New Day into a marvelous Zoom mosaic. A musical partnership. Several of our players made their own videos and sing along on that catchy chorus. I hope you will sing along too. Watch the bouncing ball!
CLICK HERE to watch Brand New Day!
Thank you Michael for your extraordinary work! And thank you to our ohana who appear and sing on this video: Ellen B, Carole E, Lyn G, Nancy H, Bobbie H, Marilyn H, Lorri K, Sherry K, Michael K (editor and bass), Ethan K, Tom K, Donna N, Joyce P, Nomi R, Robert R, Bob S, Bonnie S, Lin Van G and Mollie W.
If this song is new to you and you’d like to learn it and/or share it with your peeps, Brand New Day is available as sheet music.
I’m going to sound like one of those late night infomercials… “For $5, yes only $5, the sheet music is yours AND there’s more! I will throw in the ukulele arrangement too. Whoo-Hoo!” If you are interested please CLICK HERE for more information.
Thank you for showing up, for yourself and others. Thank you for fighting the good fight, whatever that is, and for helping to make this brand new day a place we all want to share.
If you would like to Zoom with The CC Strummers on Monday afternoons and Thursday mornings please CLICK HERE to check out my Zoom classes. Thank you!
*The Beloved Community is a term that was first coined in the early 20th Century by the philosopher Josiah Royce and later popularized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
CLICK HERE to watch The CC Strummers perform Brand New Day at Fiesta La Ballona.
Thank you for my big smile this morning!!! And grateful for wifi and my friends! And family! And birds!
I cannot think of any words which describes how grateful I am for the wonderful feeling and a happy time especially now. These classes have been fantastic. This video you and Michael and along with the CC Strummers is great. I do so appreciate you sharing your talent and knowledge. Oh and your encouragement. Thank you ever so much.
Thank you so much for your kind words and for being part of our grand musical journey!
This is a wonderful, heartfelt testimony to the community. It warms my heart . Thank you for writing it and organizing the video.
Thank YOU for walking me home this morning. Your song and your friends energy made me smile and that’s the point of it all!
Cali, your talent and magical way of connecting to ‘what’s going on’ is so, so inspired and appreciated. Your Daddy gave you a gift‼️ I ALWAYS enjoy your way with words. Someday, please publish your missives into a book for all to see‼️Love them, love you
That was so much fun! You and Michael and everyone did a great job on a great song. Love that picture of Michael!
I can’t decide which is your foremost talent: your music, your teaching, your creative writing, or just you. I look so forward to your blogs and your wacky world ideas and, believe it or not, I even look forward to your vocabulary. It’s no wonder you are building an international following.
Once again, I have been a fan ever since the workshop in the mountains about 8 years ago. That was my first workshop experience and nothing and no one else compares. Thanks for being you.
Cali Rose, I love your new song! You’re amazing, and talented in so many ways.
Thanks to both you, it’s a great reminder to “Keep on, Keeping on. ”
Ahh! What a bright spot! You bring so much joy into the world, Cali.
Thank you for that! J.
What a wonderful day! Loved the video you posted to Facebook today It is such a joy to watch you Cali and your exuberance is contagious. Kudos to Michael for the production and editing. Great job! Truly my honor to have been included. Thank you both.